Visible to the public Workshop on 21st Century Cyber-Physical Systems Education: Defining Needs and Identifying Challenges

April 30, 2014 | National Academy of Sciences | Washington, D.C.


The Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) of the National Academies hosted a workshop on 21st Century Cyber-Physical Systems Education: Defining Needs and Identifying Challenges. The workshop was held in Washington, DC on April 30, 2014.

The organizing committee has been tasked to examine how to better educate a workforce that increasingly designs, develops, and maintains cyber-physical systems. That is, how do education and training programs respond to the shift in which an increasingly fraction of functionality and value of products and services comes from software, and in which software systems are increasingly embedded in physical contexts. The work is supported by the National Science Foundation and additional information on the project as well as the members of the study committee can be found here.

The workshop produced a report which can be found here.


0830 - 0845 Introduction and Welcome from Workshop Co-Chairs
Jack Stankovic (University of Virginia)
Jim Sturges (Lockheed Martin - retired)
0845 - 1000 The Importance of Cyber-Physical Systems
  • What are CPS, and how does it related to engineering, computer science, and other related disciplines?
  • What are some of the key applications of CPS? How do CPS help advance economically or societally important capabilities?
  • What sectors will depend most on CPS-enabled capabilities?
  • What role to CPS play in sustaining innovation and supporting U.S. competitiveness and economic growth?

David Corman (NSF)
Janos Sztipanovits (Vanderbilt University) [remotely]
Joe Salvo (GE Research)

Moderator: Jack Stankovic (University of Virginia)

1000 - 1015 Break
1015 - 1200 Current and Anticipated Workforce Needs
  • What sorts of jobs require CPS knowledge and skills? (E.g., engineering design, test and evaluation, operations)
  • Where does one find this talent today? How much of the needed knowledge and skills are covered in undergraduate degree
  • programs or graduate education? How much on-the-job training is required?
  • What are expectations for the future size of the CPS workforce, in total or as a share of total positions?
  • How important is it to have a workforce of sufficient capacity and capability?
Dick Bulterman (FXPAL)
Lucio Soibelman (University of Southern California)
Craig Stephens (Ford Research and Advanced Engineering)
Jon Williams (John Deere)

Moderator: Bill Milam, Ford
1200 - 1300 Lunch
1300 - 1430 Knowledge, Capabilities, and Skills Needed in a CPS Workforce
Each sector deploying cyber-physical systems has tended to work independently of others in developing the necessary science, engineering, workplace skills, and regulatory approach--reflecting in part the historically modest "cyber content" of most systems and organic efforts to solve the problems at hand. Today, there is growing interest in seeking advances with common application in science and engineering (including scientific and engineering principles, algorithms, models, and theories); tools (including programming languages and tools for reasoning about the properties of CPS); and building blocks (innovative hardware and software components, infrastructure, and platforms).
  • What knowledge and skills are common across sectors? What are sector-specific?
  • What are the core knowledge areas, capabilities, and skills that individuals working in CPS-intensive fields need? How do
  • they map onto traditional undergraduate degree programs and courses in engineering and computer science? What areas are
  • covered in graduate programs and courses?
  • Where are there gaps between what is taught and what employers need?
  • How do employees lacking needed knowledge or skills acquire them? How do employers provide these education and training
  • opportunities to their employers?
Dan Johnson (Honeywell) [remotely]
Kevin Massey (DARPA)
John Mills (SimuQuest)
Sanjai Rayadurgam (University of Minnesota)
Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli (UC Berkeley)

Moderator: Insup Lee, University of Pennsylvania
1430 - 1445 Break
1445 - 1600 Challenges and Opportunities in CPS Education
To make progress in the CPS education pipeline, it will be important to understand the nature of current barriers and to develop strategies to overcome them. One challenge is the multidisciplinary character of educational foundations for CPS literacy. Looking across computer science, electrical engineering, and other engineering disciplines will be critical. Moreover, the audience for education in CPS is not found only in a traditional academic context where disciplines and knowledge are relatively settled. The challenges also include re-educating today's faculty, devising new preparation paths for university computer science and engineering students, upgrading K-12 teachers and the K-12 pipeline, as well as the existing workforce. New modalities for lab-centric, team-taught, and online education are emerging, which merit investigation as potential tools for accelerating progress toward a more CPS-capable workforce and society.
  • Where are there gaps in courses, textbooks and other course materials, teaching tools, curricula, and degree programs?
  • What initiatives are underway to address perceived gaps? How can we assess their impact?
  • What are some of the obstables that need to be overcome? Can courses and programs be realigned as needed? Do we have the
  • faculty needed to teach CPS material?
  • Does our K-12 educational system provide the necessary foundation for later CPS education and work?
  • What are the barriers in the educational pipeline to developing needed CPS knowledge, skills, and capabilities?
  • What are some current programs/projects that are being developed to address these challenges?
Alex Bayen (UC Berkeley)
Ryan Izard (Clemson University)
George Pappas (UPenn)

Moderator: Sanjoy Mitter (MIT)
1600 - 1615 Break
1615 - 1730 Summary and Discussion

Chuck Farrar (Los Alamos Laboratories)
Himanshu Khurana (Honeywell International)
Paulo Tabuada (University of California, Los Angeles)

Moderators: Jim Sturges (Lockheed Martin - retired)
1730 Adjourn