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FROM OUR DIRECTOR

Janos SztipanovitsProgress in science and engineering is increasingly driven by advances and applications of information technology (It). When ISIS was founded in 1998, It was on a seemingly unstoppable winning streak stemming from the profound transformation of society by the Internet Revolution. It became clear over time, however, that this first wave of It revolutions was just one element of a much broader and deeper paradigm shift fueled by the pervasive and multidisciplinary application of It in science, technology, and society.

The multidisciplinary research and development activities stemming from the second wave of the It revolution have proceeded in multiple synergistic directions, with the following profound effects:

The most exciting developments occur at the wavefront, that is, at the intersection of It with physical, biological, and engineering sciences. There are many examples for science and technology fields and industrial sectors, such as cyber-physical systems, health care, cyber-security, and manufacturing automation, where this intersection has yielded disruptive technologies that create new industries and rearrange the status quo in entire economic sectors.

It has become so pervasive that the established structure of computer science and engineering research has changed significantly. For example, the tight integration of physical and information processes in cyber-physical systems has inspired the development of a new systems science, which is simultaneously computational and physical.

The fusion of information with physical and social sciences creates convergence across disciplines. The deep integration of computational, physical, and human aspects of engineered systems has spurred the development of crossdisciplinary approaches that are yielding new methods and curricula in science and engineering design and education.

Since its inception, ISIS has been at the forefront of these IT revolutions. Our name—Institute for Soft-ware Integrated Systems—captures the essential driver of the ongoing changes: the integrative role of IT in modern software-reliant system development and application. Our research focuses on the foundations and technologies that place rigorously defined models and frameworks, their analysis, optimization, and transformation at the center of software-reliant systems development and assurance methods.

In addition to being actively involved in all aspects of the academic research enterprise via scholarly publications and teaching, the impact of ISIS is amplified by making our results accessible to both peers and practitioners. ISIS's unique strengths thus stem from our ability to produce not only solid theories and foundations, but also methods and high-quality, open-source tools and toolkits that allow academia and industry to access and apply our research results. For example, our Model Integrated Computing toolsuite—together with a rich set of software for analysis, distributed real-time and embedded middleware frameworks, and design patterns/artifacts—have been adopted by researchers worldwide and have transitioned to many production projects and systems.

The multifaceted strengths of ISIS are appreciated by our many sponsors, who need to demonstrate high return on their R&D investments in a highly competitive funding environment. In recent years ISIS has become a national hub for cyber-physical systems. We also lead and/or are major partners in an NSF S&T Center on cyber-security; Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives (MURIs) in autonomous systems; national centers in health IT addressing security and privacy; major projects focusing on mobile computing, common operating platform environments, and fractionated spacecraft; along with other high-impact areas. Our vision is to continue extending our track record of success as an internationally recognized center of excellence and innovation in the exciting, ongoing transformation of science and engineering by advanced IT research and transition.