NC4: Center for Networked Configurable Command, Control and Communications for Rapid Situational Awareness


What is NC4?

NC4 is one of only nine Department of Defense (DoD) Centers of Excellence in the country, focused on large-scale networked systems for next-gen computing and communications. Two primary challenges with command, control, communications, and networking are interoperability and resilience.  The goal of the NC4 center is to integrate computing, communications and control across units that run independently but have a common overarching objective, leading to more accurate and timely situational awareness.

In a scenario where data across a networked system needs to be integrated to make decisions, appropriate machine learning models, hardened against adversarial attacks, need to be deployed to determine resource requirements for all the systems and subsystems, and guide decisions on future resource requirements and allocations.  An integrated system that offers each entity real-time situational awareness and communication will help personnel and companies respond more quickly and effectively to immediate needs. These are fundamental research challenges that require an integrated vision for communications, networking, machine learning, cybersecurity, and system optimization.

Another key focus of NC4 is to develop a diverse pipeline of STEM engineers.  To this end, the center has the following goals:

  • Enhance research programs and capabilities in scientific and engineering disciplines 
  • Increase the number of graduates, including people from underrepresented communities, in STEM fields important to the center's mission
  • Develop a colloquium series on topics of interest to the center
  • Provide internship opportunities to undergraduate students
  • Develop a mentorship program for undergraduate students to pursue graduate studies
  • Provide Ph.D. students with research opportunities on cutting-edge and societally relevant research problems that contribute to the workforce of tomorrow