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Designing Accountable Software Systems (DASS)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See NSF 22-512 for the latest version.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


Society is becoming highly dependent on software applications, systems, and platforms, as functionality in all aspects of business, government, and everyday life is increasingly implemented through software. At the same time, there has been an increase in the laws and regulations whose implementation and effectiveness depend on software. Whereas organizations and individuals throughout our history have been expected to comply with laws and regulations, now software systems also must be accountable and comply with them. Software systems need to be designed with legal and regulatory compliance in mind, and should be adaptable to changing laws and regulations, which themselves evolve with changing citizen expectations and social norms.

The Designing Accountable Software Systems (DASS) program solicits foundational research aimed towards a deeper understanding and formalization of the bi-directional relationship between software systems and the complex social and legal contexts within which software systems must be designed and operate. The DASS program aims to bring researchers in computer and information science and engineering together with researchers in law and social, behavioral, and economic sciences to jointly develop rigorous and reproducible methodologies for understanding the drivers of social goals for software and for designing, implementing, and validating accountable software systems. DASS will support well-conceived collaborations between these two groups of researchers. The first group consists of researchers in software design, which, for the purposes of this solicitation, is broadly defined as formal methods, programming languages, software engineering, requirements engineering and human-centered computing. The second group consists of researchers in law and the social, behavioral, and economic sciences, who study social systems and networks, culture, social norms and beliefs, rules, canons, precedents, legal code, and routine procedures that govern the conduct of people, organizations, and countries.

Proposals for this program must create general advances in both (1) understanding the social, behavioral, economic and/or legal context of software design; and (2) improving the methodology for designing accountable software beyond specific use cases. Each proposal must have at least one Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI with expertise in software design and at least one PI with expertise in law or a social, behavioral, or economic science. All proposals must contain a detailed collaboration plan that leverages the complementary expertise of the PIs/co-PIs in the designated areas and describes the mechanisms for continuous bi-directional collaboration. Projects are limited to $750,000 in total budget, with durations of up to three years.

Program contacts

Nina Amla
Program Director, CISE/CCF
dass@nsf.gov (703) 292-7991 CISE/OAD
Anindya Banerjee
Program Director, CISE/CCF
dass@nsf.gov (703) 292-7885 CISE/CCF
Daniel R. Cosley
Program Director, CISE/IIS
dass@nsf.gov (703) 292-8832 CISE/IIS
Jeremy J. Epstein
Program Director, CISE/CNS
dass@nsf.gov (703) 292-8338 CISE/CNS
Darleen L. Fisher
Program Director, CISE/CNS
dass@nsf.gov (703) 292-8950 CISE/CNS
Sol J. Greenspan
Program Director, CISE/CCF
dass@nsf.gov (703) 292-8910 CISE/CCF
Sara Kiesler
Program Director, SBE/SES
dass@nsf.gov (703) 292-8643 SBE/SES
Reggie S. Sheehan
Program Director, SBE/SES
dass@nsf.gov (703) 292-5389 SBE/SES

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