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Distributed Systems

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived.

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.


To achieve efficient, flexible, and robust computing in parallel/multiprocessor/network execution environment, this program sponsors research and education projects on  methodologies and  designs of  system software and runtime support for distributed applications. The program focuses on novel concepts for the design of distributed systems to capture the dynamic and open nature of the underlying system platforms. Work that extends and integrates operating system, and network technologies is emphasized. The program encompasses subject areas ranging from  fundamental operating systems, cluster and grid computing, middleware, to emerging pervasive agent/mobile systems, and peer-to-peer and web-based computing. Experimental designs and formal methods and analytical/simulation tools for such systems are also encouraged.  In line with the NSF mission, proposals are expected to integrate research topics with educational activities.  Topics of interest are further described in each of the two program components: Distributed Systems and Operating Systems.

Distributed Systems:

  • System architectures for global-scale networked applications. Research topics include resource management and quality of service guarantees and adaptation, distributed object access and management protocols, design of scalable services and middleware, support for web-based and multimedia applications, and Peer-to-Peer distributed computing.
  • Programming paradigms for parallel and distributed systems. Research topics include system-level mechanisms, programming tools, and meta-computing environments for parallel programming in distributed systems and clusters of computers, support for heterogeneous grid computing, distributed algorithms and protocols for collaborative processing and load sharing, and techniques for fault-tolerance and security management of distributed applications.
  • Mobile system architectures for pervasive and ubiquitous computing. Special focus is placed on the integration of operating system support for mobility in a pervasive and ubiquitous computing environment based on mobile agent technologies. Research topics include system platforms for mobile computing, agent migration and run-time code mobility, autonomous navigation, inter-agent communication, service discovery protocols, content distribution and delivery, context-aware computation, and scalability and protection issues.

Operating Systems:
Special emphasis is placed on operating system support for middleware and distributed applications, and on creative system concepts brought forth from hardware innovations.

  • System architectures. Research topics include multi-threaded kernel design and kernel-level management functions for end-to-end QoS guarantee, extended client/server and object-oriented architectures for network-centric applications, adaptive layered structures and self-tuning systems, support for efficient inter-process communication and concurrency control across protection domains and networks, mechanisms for access control, high-confidence operating systems, and operating systems for large-address space architectures.
  • Run-time systems. Research topics include run-time support for dynamic compilation and optimization, support for reflective and adaptive middleware, facilities for enhancing web services and servers, and virtual machines for application and language-specific programming environments.
  • Hardware impacts. Research topics include open issues in resource management and new applications resulting from the advent of hardware and network technologies such as massively parallel systems, nano-scale architecture, high-performance I/O, large storage systems, and high-bandwidth communication facilities.

Program contacts

Dr. Helen Gill is Acting Program Director for Distributed Computing until further notice.

Brett D. Fleisch
Program Director
bfleisch@nsf.gov (703) 292-4541

Awards made through this program

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