And to meet these challenges, a new breed of researchers is needed with a holistic approach to Systems Engineering, capable of addressing outstanding theoretical and practical issues that stand at the crossroads of information processing, decision making, controls and robotics, systems optimization, networking, and human-computer interaction. It is against this backdrop of ideas that the present PhD program advances a multidisciplinary roadmap that will effectively afford students the methods and tools required to tackle challenging problems that emerge out of compelling real-life problems.
Central to the proposed program is the convergence of computation, sensing, decision making, and control capabilities in small nodes with networking capabilities, acquiring and sharing data, and acting on the environment by controlling the operation of local robotic devices or interacting with human beings. This class of systems, usually known as Cyber Physical Systems, must have the capability to reach consensus on well-defined objectives or to cooperatively solve complex problems that benefit from the vast spatial diversity of the nodes. This circle of ideas, along with the desire to bring on equal footing the interaction between computers and humans, motivated the program title Networked Interactive Cyber Physical Systems.