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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 35 | 1. Juni 2015
Priority Programme “Cyber-Physical Networking“ (SPP 1914)

A new Priority Programme entitled “Cyber-Physical Networking“ (CPN, SPP 1914) has been established by the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). The programme is planned to run for six years with two funding periods of three years each. In this present call, we invite proposal submissions for the first three-year funding period.

The increase of data rates of communication systems has been one of the main research objectives of the past decades leading to the modern information society of today. Recently, we see a rapid spread of cyber-physical applications such as telemedicine, smart production and infrastructure systems. In such systems feedback control loops are closed over the communication channel imposing real-time requirements on the communication system. Predictably low latency is generally a desirable property, however, it challenges concurring requirements for high reliability, spectral and energy efficiency of the communication system in particular in wireless communication. Classical approaches for the independent design of communication and control have clearly reached their limits.

The goal of the Priority Programme is to develop the theoretical basis for the paradigmatic change from throughput- to real-time-oriented communication for networked control systems. In order to meet the requirements of cyber-physical applications a tight (horizontal and vertical) integration of all communication, control and system components is needed to fully exploit their individual elasticity and mutual adjustment potential. Ultimately, this requires joint communication, control and systems design methodologies. The Priority Programme aims at developing system-wide concepts and theories of modelling, analysis, coordination, and optimisation of the communication system and its components for networked control systems and real-time sensitive applications. It requires a novel unified consideration of models and methods from communication networks and systems, control, and information theory.

The research within this Priority Programme is expected to cover the following areas:

1) Understanding the fundamental trade-offs between communication and control system

  • fundamental limits for communication latency, reliability, efficiency, and control performance including the role of feedback/side information
  • joint analysis methods for communication, control, and operating systems and corresponding joint optimisation metrics defining the interfaces between those systems
  • mathematical models and analysis of interacting communication and control system dynamics considering resource constraints

2) Design methods for horizontal/vertical coordination and control, surpassing the limitations of todays abstraction

  • co-design and adaptive feedback mechanisms for control and protocols over unreliable communication channels such as wireless
  • distributed control and communication in large-scale systems: architectures and adaptive reconfiguration
  • latency-aware horizontal/vertical coordination: interfaces, integration of network, operating system and applications

The Priority Programme focusses on innovative and multi-disciplinary approaches. Accordingly, we specifically invite proposals that offer a holistic approach to cyber-physical networking and methodologies to tightly couple multiple components. Not within the scope of the Priority Programme are projects solely focussing on single aspects, including classical cross-layer optimisation approaches, classical approaches to networked control with a high level of abstraction of communication properties, optimisation of individual communication, control, or software components, proprietary solutions for particular applications/domains such as homogeneous network domains, ubiquitous/pervasive computing, organic/autonomic computing, and sensor-actor networks.

To enable the required breakthrough for networking in cyber-physical systems, the combination of multidisciplinary competences is required. Hence, CPN aims at bringing together experts from different disciplines including communication networks and systems, control, and information theory. Paired cooperation projects between researchers from these fields are particularly encouraged. A coordinating project will be implemented to stimulate the synergies and the networking between the projects, organise joint workshops and dissemination activities, facilitate international exchange, promote young researchers and deal with gender issues.

Further information concerning the research orientation of the programme can be found at the programme’s website. The proposals for the initial three-year phase are invited with the deadline 2 November 2015. They have to be submitted via the DFG’s portal elan. Those applicants who do not yet have an account on elan (from earlier proposal submissions or from review tasks accomplished for DFG) need to register. The registration of a new account needs to be confirmed manually by DFG and should thus be requested no later than two weeks before the deadline. The proposals must be marked by “SPP 1914”, should indicate how they fit into this programme as a whole, have to be submitted in English, and need to be prepared using the respective forms and guidelines in English language.

General information on proposals in the framework of a Priority Programme (in particular concerning eligibility and admissible funding requests) can be found in guideline 50.05 (part B). See also guideline 54.01 for instructions how to prepare a proposal. The specific proposal has to be structured according to form 54.012. However, it is admissible to prepare the proposal as a pdf-file, e.g., using LaTeX, instead of using the rtf-file which is available online.

Please note the rules for publication lists that have been modified: Beside the general bibliography every proposal should include a list of up to ten publications that relate directly to the project. Furthermore, the number of publications that may be listed in any academic CV has been increased to ten as well. These publications need to be classified as a) refereed publications (published articles and monographs; accepted articles with note of acceptance by the journal) or b) other publications (e.g. preprints on arXiv).

Further information

The DFG’s electronic proposal processing system elan with proposal instructions and guidelines can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in DFG forms 54.01en and 50.05en, which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

For scientific enquiries concerning the scope of the programme, please contact the Priority Programme’s coordinators:

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sandra Hirche,
    Technische Universität München,
    Professur für Informationstechnische Regelung,
    Fakultät Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik,
    Arcisstr. 21,
    80333 München,
    phone: +49 89 289-25723,
    Link auf E-Mailhirche@tum.de
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Wehrle,
    RWTH Aachen University,
    Lehrstuhl für Kommunikation und verteilte Systeme (COMSYS),
    phone: +49 241 80-21401,
    Link auf E-Mailwehrle@comsys.rwth-aachen.de

For administrative enquiries please contact at the DFG: