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Cyber-Human Systems  (CHS)


See program guidelines for contact information.


In a world abundant with computers and blanketed by networks, computing plays a central role in how humans work, learn and live, and provides new modes of communication that transcend traditional geographical and cultural boundaries. As a result, computing technologies and human lives and societies constantly co-evolve, transforming each other in the process. Cyber-Human Systems (CHS) research explores potentially transformative and disruptive ideas, novel theories and technological innovations in computer and information science that accelerate both the creation and our understanding of the complex and increasingly coupled relationships between humans and computing with the broad goal of advancing human capabilities: perceptual and cognitive, physical and virtual, social and societal.

Advancement can take many forms. CHS research addresses diverse computing platforms, including traditional computers, handheld and mobile devices, robots and wearables, and potentially even person-embedded sensors and computers. It develops systems that interact with users through varied and possibly multiple modalities such as innovative computer displays, haptic, audio and brain-machine interfaces, and new interaction techniques that until implemented could only be imagined as science fiction. Proposed projects may work at scales ranging from an individual device with a single user, to networked information systems supporting collaborating groups, to socially intelligent computing, to large, evolving, heterogeneous socio-technical systems supported by pervasive networking, and to systems that merge physical and virtual for both places and people.

CHS research applies knowledge of computing and communications together with theoretical and practical understanding of behavioral, social and design sciences to better develop diverse kinds of systems, such as:

  • systems that amplify individual human capabilities through a device or environment that empowers them to improve their performance, achieve their goals, improve well-being and enhance creative expression while assuring that the computer is no longer a distraction or an obstacle.
  • systems that enrich the abilities, lives and self-sufficiency of people with disabilities, including people with temporary or situational disabilities.
  • systems that enhance virtual collaborations, to enable and improve scientific, engineering and education production and innovation.
  • systems that augment people and computers' ability to work together, to distribute and assimilate information and knowledge as required, to solve previously intractable problems, to do things collectively that neither could do separately.
  • systems that use computing to advance society's cohesiveness, innovativeness, security and sustainability.

In addition, CHS research seeks to improve our fundamental understanding of human-computer symbiosis and computer-mediated human communication, collaboration and competition. It explores how computing leads to new ways of perceiving the self, groups, communities and society, and how humans, in various roles and domains, perceive computing artifacts as they design and use them. It extends the reach of computing to new communities and extends understanding of the newly-created communities made possible by computing. It considers individual and organizational impacts and the wider social implications of ubiquitous computing and communication: not only the value of advances but also critiques of it.

Through partnerships and engagements across diverse and emerging disciplines, CHS research brings novel technology, new perspectives and new models of inquiry, practice and scholarship to computing research and education. While diverse in approach, cyber-human systems research is grounded in theory and rooted in empirical methods to produce broadly applicable and transferable results that advance the knowledge and practice of human-centered computing.

More information on topics of interest to the CHS program is available at:


Cyber-Human Systems (CHS) Staff

Funding Opportunities for the Cyber-Human Systems (CHS) Program:

Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS):  Core Programs.   NSF 15-574


Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS): Core Programs


Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS): Core Programs