NRT Program

The National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program at UVA is the first of its kind in the U.S. and is leading the way in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) education.

The National Science Foundation awarded UVA a five-year National Research Training (NRT) grant to build out a Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) education program. The program launches in Fall 2019. Though the CPS NRT Program, PhD and ME students will receive a degree in their respective degree program with a focus in CPS.

Students in this exciting new education program will take core and in-depth CPS courses focused on a deep understanding of the interfaces between the cyber and physical worlds - driving discovery, innovation and education forward in the areas of smart health, smart cities and autonomous systems.The curriculum is based on integrated and testbed-driven CPS education as well as CPS research activities and professional development.

Future plans include a Master’s degree and an undergraduate minor in CPS.

Interdisciplinary Representation

The CPS NRT Program includes students and faculty from six degree programs: Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Systems Engineering.


One of the advantages to our CPS NRT program is the ability to utilize the CPS expertise and participation from over 30 Link Lab faculty. In addition, the following faculty members are actively participating in the NRT program:

John Stankovic
Homa Alemzadeh
Brad Campbell
Cody Fleming
Jon Goodall
Dan Quinn
Lu Feng
Tolu Odumosu
Yuan Tian

Industry Involvement

The CPS NRT Program utilizes an Industry Advisory Board to help identify skills and knowledge needed in industry, provide feedback on curriculum, offer ideas, support and resources for testbeds, and identify possible internships or full time post-graduation employment for students. The CPS NRT Advisory Board includes: Northrop Grumman, IBM, Leidos, National Instruments, EY, Perrone Robotics, and Azbil.


While each degree program has different requirements, students in the CPS NRT Program will take a minimum of 3 “Core CPS Courses” and 3 “In-Depth CPS Courses”. PhD and ME students will work with faculty advisors to create an individual plan for course selection (and research options for PhD students). CPS courses listed below are also available for non-CPS NRT Program participants.

CPS Core Courses

  • Comm, Testbeds & Policy

    This is a core Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) class. This course is designed to develop cross-competency in the technical, analytical and professional capabilities necessary for the emerging field of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). It provides convergence learning activities that are based around developing CPS test-beds and exploring the ethical, social and policy dimensions of CPS work. The course also introduces and emphasizes the importance of communication as a necessary skill.

    Course Name: Special Topics in Cyber-Physical Systems - CPS1 Comm, Testbeds & Policy


    Course Numbers (this course is cross listed in four departments): SYS 6581-7 (20781), CS 6501-15 (20775), CE 6500-2 (20782) or ENGR 6559 (20512)

    Instructors: Tolu Odumosu and Brad Campbell

  • Embedded Systems

    This is a core Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) class. Embedded systems are special-purpose computers that are often tightly coupled with electronic and physical components and must operate within real-time performance, battery, and size constraints.

    Course Name: Special Topics in Cyber-Physical Systems - Advanced Embedded Systems


    Course Numbers: CS 6501-14 (20635) or ECE 6501-7 (16519)

    Instructor: Ron Williams



  • Signal Processing, Machine Learning and Control

    This is a core Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) class. This course provides basic graduate level material in signal processing, machine learning, and feedback control. Knowledge in these areas is central to understanding and building CPS. However, the material is not presented in a traditional manner and does not replace deep domain expertise in these topics. Rather, the principles and skills taught highlight the intersection of the cyber and the physical and how they impact each other.

    Course Name: Special Topics in Cyber-Physical Systems - CPS3 Signal Processing, Machine Learning and Control


    Course Number: CS 6501 (20439)

    Instructor: Jack Stankovic

  • Dynamical Systems

    This is a core Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) class. The course will focus on topics that are critical to CPS applications, e.g. pipe networks, lift/drag on vehicles, and relative reference frames in the context of autonomous vehicles and satellites, while avoiding topics that are specific only to advanced Mechanical Engineering, e.g. fluid instabilities and complex potential functions.

    Course Number: MAE 6501 - CPS4 Dynamical Systems
    Instructor: Dan Quinn

    Course Number: MAE 6592 (19448)
    Day/Time: Tuesday/Thursday 11am - 12:15pm
  • Formal Methods, Safety, and Security

    This is a core Cyber Physical Systems class. Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are smart systems that include co-engineered interacting networks of physical and computational components. Examples of CPS include medical devices, cars, and robots. Increasingly, such systems are everywhere. It becomes more and more important to assure the safety and security of CPS, since many CPS applications are safety-critical and life-critical. This course will give you the required skills to formally analyze the CPS that are all around us, so that when you contribute to the design of CPS, you are able to understand important safety-critical aspects and feel confident designing and analyzing CPS system models.

    Course Number: CS 6501 - CPS5 Formal Methods, Safety, and Security
    Instructor: Lu Feng

    Course Number: CS 6501 / SYS 6582 (19658)
    Day/Time: Tuesday/Thursday 5pm - 6:30pm

In-depth CPS courses

  • Spring 2020

    In-Depth CPS Courses (Spring 2020)
    CS 8501 - Cyber Physical Systems and the Internet of Things (18896) M/W 9:30am-10:45am (Stankovic)
    CS 6465 (ECE 6465, CS 6465, SYS 6465, SYS 4582) - Robots and Humans T/Th 9:30am – 10:45am (Dugan and Iqbal)
    SYS 6581 (CE 5500) - Human Considerations In Smart Infrastructure W 2pm-4:30pm 18667 (Heydarian)

    More courses will be listed soon!

    Core CPS Courses (Spring 2020)
    CPS 4 - MAE 6592: Special Topics – Dynamical Systems T/Th 11am – 12:15pm 19448 (Quinn)
    CPS5 - CS 6501 (SYS 6582): Special Topics – Formal Methods, Safety, and Security – T/Th 5pm – 6:30pm (Feng) 18658