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Cyber-physical systems or “smart” systems are co-engineered interacting networks of physical and computational components. These systems are at the heart of the critical infrastructure and form the basis of future smart services.

Knowing that, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) set up a program to help advance the potential increased efficiency and interaction between computer networks and the physical world to improve the quality of life, including advances such as in personalized health care, emergency response, traffic flow management, and the electric power generation and delivery.

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NIST created a Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) program and it is moving forward on three fronts: the NIST CPS Public Working Group, the Global Cities Team Challenge, and the CPS Testbed Project.

The CPS Public Working Group (CPS PWG) ended up formed to bring together experts to help define and shape key aspects of CPS in order to accelerate its development and implementation within multiple sectors of our economy. The initial work of the group is occurring in five subgroups:
• Reference Architecture
• Use Cases
• Timing and Synchronization
• Cybersecurity and Privacy
• Data Interoperability

Cyber Security

The five subgroups have been holding regular virtual meetings and as of this month, the subgroups have prepared draft “Framework Elements” documents summarizing their work to date. These documents will combine and integrate into a CPS Framework in the coming months.

The Global Cities Team Challenge, an expansion of last year’s SmartAmerica Challenge, aims to foster the spread of “smart cities” that use Internet of Things (IoT) and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) technologies to better manage resources and improve citizens’ quality of life. The Challenge, which is open to all, encourages partnerships between cities and other communities, on the one hand, with our best and brightest innovators on the other hand.

NIST, in partnership with U.S. Ignite and a dozen other federal agencies and technology companies, expects that the year-long challenge will help communities around the world work together to address issues ranging from health care and advanced manufacturing to traffic management and emergency services coordination.

NIST is taking initial steps to plan and develop a CPS testbed at its laboratories in Gaithersburg, MD. The CPS testbed will integrate with the smart grid testbed currently under development. As part of the planning process for the CPS testbed, NIST staff have begun meeting with leaders from academia and industry to learn more about stakeholder needs and opportunities.

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