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­.s. May Be Falling Behind in Researching Tech's Next Big Thing

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Some of the devices connected in the Internet of Things.

A University of Virginia professor suggests the U.S. is not spending enough on research and development of cyber-physical systems.

Credit: Computerworld

A paper from the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) published in 2008 said the U.S. National Science Foundation should be spending $75 million a year to fund research into cyber-physical systems (CPS), the hybrids of automation, sensors, and communication capabilities that will typify the Internet of Things. The paper said overall the federal government should be spending $375 million a year on CPS, and as much as $500 million when including private investment.

However, this year NSF spent just $40 million on CPS research, and only about $200 million in the last five years.

Although it is not easy to ascertain what government-wide spending on CPS research currently amounts to, University of Virginia professor John Stankovic, co-author of the CCC paper, says, "anecdotally, I would say they are not spending enough."

By contrast, the European Union is currently investing almost $350 million a year of public and private funds into developing CPS technologies.

The reduced level of spending comes during a period of weak increases in the federal research and development budget and the increasing likelihood the U.S. will be eclipsed by China in terms of government funding for basic research as early as 2022.

Stankovic says it is important to increase public investment in such research or the U.S. will lose out to other nations.

From Computerworld
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