[macs-faculty] New center funding opportunity: ideas requested asap

Mayank Varia varia at bu.edu
Thu Mar 2 08:46:24 EST 2017


Hello everyone,

I'm writing about a call for submissions
<https://www.src.org/compete/s201617/> about a vision for a long-term (8-12
year) center. Since NSF has already asked us about our future plans, we
think it is prudent to respond to calls such as these. Azer and I believe
we can extend some of the work already begun in MACS into a short paper,
and we can take the lead on writing it.

There is a time-crunch here: the initial submissions are due on Monday 3/6.
Luckily, this is just for an initial 6-page letter sent via email; if they
like it, they will invite us to submit a full proposal. So: there is no
need for any of you to commit to anything this week or to involve finance
admins/OSP/etc.

What we need from you are ideas! We have some initial thoughts, but right
now we're not even sure what the title of the proposal would be. Let me
share a few quotes from the call and then list our thoughts.

Selected quotes:

   - "Co-design to bridge the gap between architectures and algorithms for
   optimization, combinatorics, computational geometry, distributed systems,
   learning theory, online algorithms, cryptography, etc."
   - "Architecture advances required to implement novel computation,
   communication, and storage applications."
   - "Systems composed of on-chip and off-chip accelerators, computation in
   and/or near data, and non-traditional computing."

Based on these quotes, we think the theme should center around "co-design"
at all levels of the stack: hardware, OSes, crypto, networking, databases,
etc. We think there is a story here based upon MACS. Thematically, we can
explain our multi-disciplinary, multi-institution work so far on connecting
all of the various disciplines within security. In terms of personnel, we
can describe our immense success using postdocs as a 'glue' for MACS and
advocate for an even larger 'postdoc pool' to forge even more of these
connections going forward.

These are just preliminary thoughts, however. Please send Azer and me your
ideas on the following:

   - *Center organization*: A theme statement, organization into ~3-4
   thrusts, or desired objectives/results.
   - *Your interests*: what you want to pursue if we had this center.
   - *Additional people*: We can expand the focus of our current
   collaboration if you'd like; just send us names and why you think their
   addition would help.
   - Finally, if you would prefer not to be involved in this proposal, let
   me know that as well. (I'm posing this as an opt-out rather than opt-in due
   to the time crunch.)

We will keep you informed of our progress as we put together the short
paper.

Thanks in advance for your help. This is admittedly a 'hail mary' as I'm
sure these centers are quite competitive, but if it pays off then it could
be quite valuable.

Mayank
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