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TSU Received $4.8M to Develop "Center for Research on Complex Networks"

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced, on September 1st 2011, an award of $4,887,004 over five years to Texas Southern University to support its proposed “Center for Research on Complex Networks,” a new NSF Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) .

The new Center’s multiple disciplinary team, led by Drs. Wei Wayne Li (PI), Lei Yu (Co-PI) and C. J. Tymczak (Co-PI), as well as Drs. Oscar Criner (Director of Education) and David Olowokere (Director of Technology Transfer), comprises a total of 14 world-class faculty scholars representing 6 different departments in the College of Science and Technology, including Departments of Computer Science, Transportation Studies, Physics, Engineering Technology, Mathematics, and Chemistry. The funded Center will have a great impact on students at TSU by financially supporting a minimum of 15 undergraduate and graduate students each year in the next five years, providing them the opportunity to work with faculty on the cutting-edge research and development.

The mission of this NSF Center is to conduct innovative and multidisciplinary research in the area of complex networks, which will provide a knowledge base for the understanding of complex networks, i.e. energy efficient wireless sensor networks, urban transportation environmental networks, and distributed computational networks, allowing for the development and implementation of policies for global environmental sustainability. The research will be integrated with the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs, particularly striving to expand the pool of minority and underrepresented students who pursue advanced graduate studies in STEM fields, to meet the critical workforce needs of the nation. The Center will promote and implement diversity in STEM disciplines, through educational outreach initiatives and extensive effort to recruit, retain and train members of underrepresented minority groups. The attempt is to prepare minority students for leadership positions in the fast-changing global, scientific, engineering, and government sectors.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense." With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY2010), NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. NSF’s CREST program was created to make resources available to enhance the research capabilities of minority-serving institutions through the establishment of centers that effectively integrate education and research. CREST promotes the development of new knowledge, enhancements of the research productivity of individual faculty, and an expanded presence of students historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines.


The Mission of the Center is to conduct innovative and multidisciplinary research of national significance in the area of complex networks and expand the pool of minority and underrepresented students to pursue advanced graduate studies to meet the future needs of the nation in critical principles and technologies of network research.


The Vision of the proposed CRCN is to become a nationally recognized center of excellence in multidisciplinary research developing and using advanced networking methodology, integrating research with education and profoundly impacting society via the advancement of technologies by enabling transformation in science and environmental diagnostics.


  1. To perform cutting-edge research and develop a technology platform through implementation of a cross-disciplinary and synergistic infrastructure at TSU and to establish TSU as an internationally renowned center of research in the areas of wireless, computational, and urban transportation environmental networks.
  2. To develop novel theoretical models and computer simulation algorithms for the study of complex networks in wireless, computational and urban networks and to use these algorithms in practical real world applications, to achieve the advancement of the knowledge of the complex networks; integration of knowledge from diverse scientific areas to focus on the understanding of complex networks, and targeted practical applications in real world complex networks.
  3. To positively impact underrepresented minority (URM) undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. students by improved and enriched Center related research and educational experiences. In this regard, the existing Ph.D. program in environmental toxicology will be enhanced and a new interdisciplinary Master's degree program in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) will be developed toward computational environmental toxicology and monitoring and modeling of environmental issues.
  4. To implement and promote diversity in STEM disciplines, through innovative and relevant educational outreach initiatives and to recruit, retain and train members of URM groups. This will create a nationwide workforce and prepare minority students for leadership positions in the fast-changing global, scientific, engineering, and government sectors.