Smart Computing, Building a Secure Sustainable Society

(A Strategic Plan for the Department of Computer Science at Missouri S&T)


Smart Computing: the Big Vision: Imagine a world where humans move seamlessly through a sustainable society in which the environment anticipates and adapts to usage, to changes, and to unexpected events.  Such Smart Environments (e.g., smart homes, offices, schools, cities, energy, and transportation) are becoming a reality due to the rapid advancements in many technologies.  The combination of embedded sensors and smart devices, wireless communications and networking, cyber-physical-social systems, mobile and pervasive computing, data mining and computational intelligence, automation and decision control, security and privacy, software agents and middleware services enable a smart environment [1].  This smart environment is able to autonomously acquire and apply knowledge about inhabitants and their interactions with the environment, and adapt to improve users’ life experience without explicit awareness.

However, these multi-disciplinary systems present many challenges in bringing all the various technologies together in an integrated knowledge system.  These challenges are not only technical, but require consideration of human behavior and social aspects.  Architectural integrity at the system level will be required to prevent failure as the environment changes rapidly to meet the most fundamental needs of a sustainable society: to be healthy, secure, safe, productive, and humane.  Indeed, the World Health Organization [2] projects that “the number of people living in cities will almost double for the next few decades and that urban centers need to provide more sustainable solutions for smart living.  A variety of inter-related systems will be required to implement our vision of Sustainable Living through Smart Computing, These systems include infrastructures that are holistically designed to be human centered and adapt to our needs, habits, and preferences; utility and transportation networks that adapt to dynamic usage, traffic conditions or user behavior with minimum carbon footprint; clean and locally sourced (renewable) energy grid that actuates smart lighting; pervasive monitoring and surveillance that proactively detects and prevents potential security threats; smart living that senses behavioral and health risks and provides timely intervention; and situation-aware responses to emergencies, natural or man-made disasters. All these systems contribute to our vision that is beyond the known concepts of smart homes or smart cities.  Although stand-alone smart environments are being built as an engineering exercise, there is a need to advance the underlying science, which we call Smart Computing, [3] that will holistically integrate cyber-physical-social environments to help realize Smart Living, the next frontier toward a secure, sustainable society with healthy life experience.

As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, our strategy for the Computer Science department is to use this vision to form our areas of technical focus deep in software and computing algorithms, and the overall capabilities required to engineer such complex multi-disciplined knowledge systems.

The Mission

To create and convey knowledge in computer science through innovative research and education, and solve technological and societal problems through computing to improve the living experience of citizens in Missouri and beyond.

As we move towards 2020, the challenges become more than just technological. Computer Science contributes to the campus mission of problem solving through the unifying aspects of smart computing.

The Vision

To be in the top 50 Computer Science Departments in the nation, nationally and internationally recognized for transformative research and education in computer science.

We will produce a highly qualified, talented and entrepreneurial workforce possessing leadership in computer systems; create a dynamic learning environment for innovative research and educational programs in computer science and software engineering, leading to smart computing technology products, services and ideas to solve the great challenges of our time.

Our Values

Computer Science reflects the campus values in a computing-centric way.  Above all, we strive for impact on society through smart computing.

  • Impact
    • We provide socially relevant computing solutions to enhance the population's life experience through innovation, investment, and economic development.
  • Lifelong Learning and Success
    • We provide a broad educational background that helps foster interdisciplinary connections and a solid foundation for life-long success.
  • Creativity and Critical Thinking
    • We create innovative knowledge and make original contributions with documented impact and clear objectives grounded in strong problem solving skills.
  • Integrity and Ethics
    • We hold an awareness and understanding of the professional, societal, and ethical issues of the rapidly evolving computing industry and the judgment to apply this understanding.
  • Sustainability
    • We provide a contribution to the greater good, professionally and in the community, via mentoring, disseminating, writing, speaking, and professional involvement.  Our computing solutions will be sustainable by their governance through society’s worldview.
  • Partnerships
    • We are great partners. We focus on adding value and creating mutually beneficial partnerships. The solutions to today’s great challenges require agile collaboration, teamwork and engagement with our stakeholders, both on campus and in the greater business, civic, alumni, government, national and international communities.
  • Inclusion
    • We are an inclusive, welcoming community. We seek to build a creative learning environment marked by openness, diversity, understanding and valuing all disciplines, people and perspectives.

Our Strategy

We will provide by 2020 a top return on investment among Ph.D. granting Computer Science departments to our stakeholders through strategic hiring of top faculty and training outstanding students aligned with the Best-in-Class strategic areas leveraging our unique expertise in Smart Computing.

Our Governance and Leadership

The strategic plan will be led and administered by the Department Chair assisted by the Associate Chairs and overseen by the Executive Committee which also include coordinators of our six research focus areas.  External constituencies  provide input and monitoring through the Computer Science Academy and the Advisory Board.

 Organizational chart 2019

[1] D. J. Cook and S. K. Das, Smart Environments: Technology, Protocols and Applications, John Wiley, 2005.

[2] What Life Will Be Like in the Cities of the Future: Smart buildings, smarter schools, and a parking system that's actually driver-friendly By Dan Macsai @dmacsai,Read more:

[3] “Smart Computing” is also the slogan of the Computer Science Department at Missouri S&T.