2005 MURI Proposal

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Title TBD

Richard Murray (PI), Mani Chandy, John Doyle, Eric Klavins, Pablo Parrilo

Proposal Overview
  • Topic: High Confidence Design for Distributed, Embedded Systems
  • White paper deadline: 9 Aug 05 (Tue), 4 pm EDT
  • Full proposal deadline: 3 Nov 05 (Thu), 4 pm EDT
Quick Links

Meetings and Telecons

Working Documents

Background Reading

  • S. Prajna, A. Papachristodoulou, P. Seiler, P.A. Parrilo, SOSTOOLS and its Control applications, In Positive polynomials in Control, Lecture Notes in Control and Information Sciences, Vol. 312, pp. 273--292, Springer, 2005.

Topic Description

High Confidence Design For Distributed, Embedded Systems

Background: Prescribed safety and security is a significant challenge for current flight management systems. Requirements, design, and test coverage and their quantification all significantly impact overall system quality, but extensive software test coverage is especially significant to development costs. For certain current systems, verification and validation (V&V) comprise over 50% of total development costs. This percentage will be even higher using current V&V strategies on emerging autonomous systems. Although traditional certification practices have historically produced sufficiently safe and reliable systems, they will not be cost effective for next-generation autonomous systems due to inherent size and complexity increases from added functionality. New methods in high confidence software combined with advances in systems engineering and the use of closed- loop feedback for active management of uncertainty provide new possibilities for fundamental research aimed at addressing these issues. These methods move beyond formal methods in computer science to incorporate dynamics and feedback as part of the system specification.

Objective: Develop new approaches to designing/developing distributed embedded systems to inherently promote high confidence, as opposed to design-then-test approaches as prescribed by the current V&V process. Proposing teams should focus on developing new design methods, analysis techniques, specification and integrated software development/test environments that will radically lower V&V costs for future mixed critical systems. The multidisciplinary team should include the necessary expertise in mathematics, software architectures, security, modeling and simulation, fault tolerant systems, and dynamics and control.

Research Concentration Areas: Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  1. formal reasoning about distributed, dynamic, feedback systems, including the application of temporal logic and other tools from computer science and mathematics to reason about real-time software. This applies to both cooperative and adversarial systems in distributed computational environments;
  2. development of relationships between system properties and test coverage to reduce the required testing and provide improved efficiency, including a mixture of automated testing and model-based reasoning to improve efficiency;
  3. development and analysis of architectures that provide behavior guarantees of online V&V. Extend current methods for built-in-test (BIT) to higher levels of abstraction, including the use of safety "wrappers" to insure that high performance code is replaced by safe code when online monitors are triggered;
  4. V&V aware architectures- techniques that are designed to generate software and systems that are easier to verify and validate. Manage V&V complexity instead of managing system functionality;
  5. multi-threaded control: new tools for reasoning about asynchronous, distributed processing common in multi-threaded computational environments; and
  6. approximate V&V-development of model-based approaches to V&V that make use of simplifying approximations to improve V&V efficiency. Develop relations of system analysis to the test vector generation to reduce/eliminate required testing.

Impact: Next-generation Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned space vehicles will require advanced mixed critical system attributes to enable safe autonomous operations. These emerging attributes will manifest themselves in all aspects of the system including requirements, system architectures, software algorithms, and hardware components. Development of new theory and algorithms for V&V will provide reduced development time and cost, improved system functionality, and increased robustness to uncertainty for new systems.

Research Topic Chief: Lt Col Sharon Heise, sharon.heise@afosr.af.mil, 703-696-7796


Proposal Format

Full Proposal Format : Volume 1 - Technical Proposal and Volume 2 - Cost Proposal


  • Paper Size – 8.5 x 11 inch paper
  • Margins – 1 inch
  • Spacing – single
  • Font – Times New Roman, 12 point
  • Number of Pages – Volume 1 is limited to no more than twenty (20) single-sided pages. The cover, table of contents, list of references, letters of support, and curriculum vitae are excluded from the page limitations. Full proposals exceeding the page limit may not be evaluated. Volume 2 has no page limitation.
  • Copies – one (1) original and five (5) copies

Full Proposal Content

VOLUME 1: Technical Proposal

  • Cover: A completed cover (consisting of the two single-sided pages provided in Section IX) MUST be used as the first two pages of the proposal. There should be no other page before this cover.
  • Table of Contents: List proposal sections and corresponding page numbers.
  • Executive Summary: Provide a summary of the research problem, technical approaches, anticipated outcome of the research, if successful, and impact on DoD capabilities.
  • Statement of Work: A Statement of Work (SOW) should clearly detail the scope and objectives of the effort and the specific research to be performed under the grant if the proposal is selected for funding. It is anticipated that the proposed SOW will be incorporated as an attachment to any resultant award instrument. To this end, proposals must include a severable self-standing SOW, without any proprietary restrictions, which can be attached to a grant award.
  • Technical Approach: Describe in detail the basic science and/or engineering research to be undertaken. State the objective and approach, including how data will be analyzed and interpreted. Discuss the relationship of the proposed research to the state-of-the-art knowledge in the field and to related efforts in progress elsewhere. Include appropriate literature citations/references. Discuss the nature of expected results. Discuss potential applications to defense missions and requirements. Describe plans for the research training of students. Include the number of full time equivalent graduate students and undergraduates, if any, to be supported each year. Discuss the involvement of other students, if any.
  • Project Schedule, Milestones and Deliverables: A summary of the schedule of events, milestones, and a detailed description of the results and products to be delivered.
  • Assertion of Data Rights: A summary of any proprietary rights to pre-existing results, prototypes, or systems supporting and/or necessary for the use of the research, results, and/or prototype. Any data rights asserted in other parts of the proposal that would impact the rights in this section must be cross-referenced. If there are proprietary rights, the proposer must explain how these affect its ability to deliver research data, subsystems and toolkits for integration. Additionally, proposers must explain how the program goals are achievable in light of these proprietary limitations. If there are no claims of proprietary rights in pre-existing data, this section shall consist of a statement to that effect.
  • Management Approach: A discussion of the overall approach to the management of this effort, including brief discussions of: required facilities; relationships with any subawardees and with other organizations; availability of personnel; and planning, scheduling and control procedures.
    • (a) Describe the facilities available for the accomplishment of the proposed research and related education objectives. Describe any capital equipment planned for acquisition under this program and its application to the proposed research. If possible, budget for capital equipment should be allocated to the first budget period of the grant. Include a description of any government furnished equipment/hardware/software/information, by version and/or configuration, that is required for the proposed effort.
    • (b) Describe in detail proposed subawards to other eligible universities or relevant collaborations (planned or in place) with government organizations, industry, or other appropriate institutions. Particularly describe how collaborations are expected to facilitate the transition of research results to applications. Descriptions of industrial collaborations should explain how the proposed research will impact the company's research and/or product development activities. If subawards to other universities are proposed, make clear the division of research activities, to be supported by detailed budgets for the proposed subawards.
    • (c) Designate one individual as the Principal Investigator for the award, for the purpose of technical responsibility and to serve as the primary point-of-contact with an agency's technical program manager. Briefly summarize the qualifications of the Principal Investigator and other key investigators to conduct the proposed research.
    • (d) List the amount of funding and describe the research activities of the Principal Investigator and co-investigators in on-going and pending research projects, whether or not acting as Principal Investigator in these other projects, the time charged to each of these projects, and their relationship to the proposed effort.
    • (e) Describe plans to manage the interactions among members of the proposed research team.
    • (f) Identify other parties to whom the proposal has been, or will be sent, including agency contact information.
  • List of References: List publications cited in above sections.
  • Letters of Support: Up to 3 Letters of Support from various DoD agencies, may be included.
  • Curriculum Vitae: Include curriculum vitae of the Principal Investigator and key co-investigators.

White Paper

White Paper Format


  • Paper Size – 8.5 x 11 inch paper
  • Margins – 1 inch
  • Spacing – single
  • Font – Times New Roman, 12 point
  • Number of Pages – no more than four (4) single-sided pages (excluding cover letter, cover, and curriculum vitae). White papers exceeding the page limit may not be evaluated.
  • Copies – one (1) original and two (2) copies (applies only to hard copy submission)

White Paper Content

  • A one page cover letter (optional)
  • Cover Page – The cover page shall be labeled “PROPOSAL WHITE PAPER” and shall include the BAA number 05-017, proposed title, and proposer’s technical point of contact, with telephone number, facsimile number, and email address
  • Identification of the research and issues
  • Proposed technical approaches
  • Potential impact on DoD capabilities
  • Potential team and management plan
  • Summary of estimated costs
  • Curriculum vitae of key investigators

White papers should be sent to the attention of the responsible Research Topic Chief at the agency specified for the topic using the address provided in Section IV. 5. The white paper should provide sufficient information on the research being proposed (e.g. hypothesis, theories, concepts, approaches, data measurements and analysis, etc.) to allow for an assessment by a technical expert. It is not necessary for white papers to carry official institutional signatures.