Call for Students

Visible to the public 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Spring 2021
Combined with Summer Research Internship in Germany

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021 seminar and internships.
Please check back in Fall 2021 to apply for the Spring/Summer 2022 Opportunity

 R E S E A R C  T O P I 

Emerging industrial platforms such as the Internet of Things (IoT), the Industrial Internet (II) and advances in Artificial Intelligence have tremendously accelerated the development of new generations of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) that integrate humans, human organizations, and societal processes with physical and computation processes (H-CPS). The resulting societal-scale systems such as traffic networks, electric power grids, smart cities, and networks of autonomous systems (for example, self-driving cars, unmanned air vehicles) where control is dynamically shifted between humans and machines are motivated by societal needs, but must conform to social norms and respond to expectations. The debates about licensing and liability of self-driving cars on roads, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on aerial highways, the threats of litigation against self-driving features of automobiles like Tesla, and the controversies created by smart city and smart home technologies regarding privacy violations are all indications of the build-up of societal strains about the impact of these new technology trends. These tensions now extend to regulations, certification, insurance, and other societal constructs that are necessary for the widespread adoption of these new technologies into our societal-scale systems. If these systems evolve independently in the US and other countries, they will “hard-wire” the social context in which they are created, making interoperation hard or impossible, decreasing reusability of results, and narrowing markets for products and services. While impacts of new technology trends on social policies have received attention, the other side of the coin – to make systems adaptable to social policies - is nearly absent from engineering, computer science curricula, and design practice.

The project brings together a large, interdisciplinary group of researchers from Vanderbilt University, UC Berkeley, Technical University of Munich and University of Oldenburg working on integrated dynamics of humans, human organizations and networked CPS components, systems science foundations for resilient H-CPS, high-confidence design of H-CPS with learning enabled components, and social science. The goal of the project is to develop technologies that can be adapted to varying public policies. The international collaboration exposes students to H-CPS design that is strongly contextual and provides practical experience with the required scientific and technical foundations.

 R E S E A R C  A C T I V I T I E

Spring 2021

  1. Weekly group meetings with advisor professors. During the week students will prepare with reading and specific research assignments and participate in discussions. Students will have the option of registering the research activity as a 1 credit hour independent study.
  2. Biweekly, the group meetings will be webinars with the participation of collaborating student groups from UC Berkeley, Technical University of Munich and University of Oldenburg.

Summer 2021

  1. Five students will be selected for the eight week Summer Research Program in Germany at the Technical University of Munich or at the University of Oldenburg. The expected time period is early May to early July, but this period may be subject to adjustment. Please note that travel to Germany is contingent on the circumstances with the pandemic.
  2. Selected students will receive NSF funding covering their travel and subsistence expense. The estimated support includes:

    1. airfare,

    2. lodging in student dormitory (single rooms with kitchen and bathroom shared by 1-3 persons,

    3. allowance for meals (approximately 20 Euro/day),

    4. allowance for public transportation

    5. health insurance

The host Universities will provide access to all facilities and services at the University and at the affiliated Research Institutes (OFFIS and FORTIS) involved in the program.

  1. Students will have mentors/supervisors at the host laboratories and will work at state-of-the-art facilities.

  2. The summer research program will conclude with a project meeting for all participants either in the US or in Germany.

 E L I G I B I L I T Y 

Sophomores and Juniors from the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering or College of Arts and Sciences may apply. Preference is given to students with skills in areas such as embedded systems development, modeling and simulation, artificial intelligence and design, and/or to students with demonstrated interest in technology and societal aspects of technological progress.

 A P P L I C A T I O N 

Interested students should submit their CV, up to date transcripts, and a statement of interest of up to 300 words through

Application deadline is Friday, December 18, 2020 Sunday, January 3, 2021. All applicants need to indicate in their application if they would like to participate in the Summer Research Program. Decisions will be announced by Friday, January 8, 2021.