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NSF/VMware Partnership on Software Defined Infrastructure as a Foundation for Clean-Slate Computing Security (SDI-CSCS)

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This document has been archived.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.


As the digital and physical worlds become increasingly intertwined, the real-world consequences of cyber-threats will become more pronounced. To mitigate foreseeable risks, fundamental advances in security are needed. This program will therefore explore the hypothesis that software defined infrastructure (SDI) enables realistic opportunities to revisit and improve the foundations of end-to-end computing security.

SDI is an architectural approach in which compute, storage, and networking resources are virtualized; that is, abstractions of physical capabilities are made available to applications or higher-level services in a way that is decoupled from the underlying physical infrastructure. To date, SDI has been realized most fully in the context of datacenters, but it can also be viewed as a foundation for related emerging contexts such as the Internet of Things (IoT). Novel security properties of SDI have been demonstrated, and meanwhile, compute, storage, and network virtualization techniques are rapidly maturing. An intriguing opportunity is to systematically explore and identify the full potential of SDI as a new foundation for clean-slate computing security (CSCS).

The goal of this joint solicitation between NSF and VMware is to foster novel, transformative, multidisciplinary research that spans systems, networking, and security with the aim of exploring and creating groundbreaking new approaches to security based on the concept of SDI. The program also aims to support a research community committed to advancing research and education at the confluence of SDI-CSCS technologies, and to transition research findings into practice. NSF and VMware will support multiple projects with funding of up to $3,000,000 each over three years, and it is intended that NSF and VMware will co-fund each project.

This NSF/VMware partnership combines CISE’s experience in developing and managing successful large, diverse research portfolios with VMware’s significant expertise in SDI, virtualization technology, distributed systems, cloud computing, and other aspects of large-scale software infrastructure and infrastructure management.

Program contacts

Darleen L. Fisher
Program Director, CISE/CNS
dlfisher@nsf.gov (703) 292-8950 CISE/CNS
Mimi McClure
Associate Program Director, CISE/CNS
mmcclure@nsf.gov (703) 292-8950 CISE/CNS
J. Christopher Ramming
chrisramming@vmware.com (650) 427-5000
Jack Brassil
Program Director, CISE/CNS
jbrassil@nsf.gov (703) 292-8950
Gurdip Singh
Program Director, CISE/CNS
gsingh@nsf.gov (703) 292-8950
Nina Amla
Program Director, CISE/CCF
namla@nsf.gov (703) 292-8910 CISE/OAD

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