Free, public event features Vinton G. Cerf, widely known as "father of the Internet," and national experts on cybersecurity, cyber-physical systems, smart cities, smart health and autonomous systems.

The University of Virginia School of Engineering will host internationally renowned speaker Vinton G. Cerf, a “father of the Internet” who co-designed the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet, as part of a National Academy of Engineering regional meeting and symposium on Wednesday, May 1.

The symposium is free and open to the public, with lunch included. Seating is limited, and registration is required at

The day-long meeting, entitled “Cyber-Physical Systems: The Defining Technologies of the 21st Century,” features distinguished speakers with expertise in cybersecurity, cyber-physical systems, smart cities, smart health and autonomous systems – all areas of focus for UVA Engineering’s new Link Lab for cyber-physical systems.

The lineup includes a panel discussion on “Securing the Cyber-Physical Universe,” moderated by Jack Davidson, UVA professor of computer science, director of the Computer Science Cybersecurity Program and co-organizer of the UVA Cyber Innovation & Society Initiative, with:

  • Andrew Bochman, senior grid strategist for Idaho National Laboratory’s National and Homeland Security program
  • Stephanie Forrest, director of the Biodesign Center for Biocomputation, Security and Society, and professor in the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Sciences Engineering at Arizona State University
  • S. Shankar Sastry, faculty director of the Blum Center for Developing Economies, NEC Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and former dean of Berkeley Engineering

David Maidment, Hussein M. Alharthy Centennial Chair in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and National Academy of Engineering member, will talk about smart cities for flooding.

Veena Misra, distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering at N.C. State University and director of the Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST), a National Science Foundation-Sponsored Nanosystems Engineering Research Center, will address smart health.

George J. Pappas, the Joseph Moore Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing & Perception (GRASP) Laboratory and the Penn Research In Embedded Computing and Integrated Systems Engineering (PRECISE) Center, will give a talk on autonomous systems.

UVA Engineering Link Lab faculty members will offer demonstrations in robotic surgery, driverless cars and drones.

“Everything in our future – in the world in which we work and spend our lives – is going to be connected through the internet,” said UVA Engineering Dean Craig H. Benson, an internationally renowned geoenvironmental engineer and member of the National Academy of Engineering. “Cyber-physical systems are the links between computers, data, decision-making and the physical world, and cyber-physical systems let us do things in a much faster, more efficient and effective way.”

UVA Engineering has been on the forefront of establishing the field of cyber-physical systems, opening the Link Lab in 2018 for multidisciplinary research in smart health, smart cities and autonomous systems, and outlining best practices for educating future engineering leaders to push the field forward. John A. Stankovic, UVA’s BP America Professor of Computer Science and Link Lab director, was co-author of a 2016 National Academy of Sciences report entitled, “A 21st Century Cyber-Physical Systems Education,” and recently earned a prestigious National Science Foundation Research Traineeship grant to create a national model for training graduate students to make discoveries associated with cyber and the Internet of Things, then translate that knowledge into new technologies, products and services.

“If you think about all of this from the perspective of sustainability and improving human quality of life, cyber-physical systems will help us to manage our lives and our environments with an exceptional degree of precision,” Benson said. “It will be a whole new world, and the distinguished panel of experts that we are bringing to Charlottesville, in partnership with the National Academy of Engineering, will help us better understand the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

“Cyber-physical systems reside at, even define the leading edge of our nation’s advancements and critical needs in the early part of this century,” said C. D. Mote Jr., president of the National Academy of Engineering. “I thank Dean Benson, his colleagues at UVA and the assembled distinguished speakers from across the country for educating us on our current standing.”

UVA: Leading the Way in Cyber-Physical Systems

The University of Virginia School of Engineering & Applied Science's Link Lab is catalyzing a new cyber age.