The SmartAmerica Challenge is a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow project with the goal to bring together research in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and to combine test-beds, projects and activities from different sectors, such as Smart Manufacturing, Healthcare, Smart Energy, Intelligent Transportation and Disaster Response, to show tangible and measurable benefits to the US economy and the daily lives of American citizens.

Cyber-Physical Systems is a name for the combination of the Internet of Things and System Control. So rather than just being able to “sense” where something is, CPS adds the capability to control the “thing” or allow it to interact with physical world around it.

In December of 2013 the SmartAmerica Challenge was launched by Geoff Mulligan and Sokwoo Rhee, two White House Presidential Innovation Fellows, to bring Industry, Academia and the Government to show how Cyber-Physical Systems can create jobs, new business opportunities and socio-economic benefits to America. Over 65 Companies, Government Agencies and Academic institutions came together on December 12, 2013 and launched 12 teams/projects. Since that time 12 new projects have been formed. These teams have been hard at work over the past months building systems, prototypes, pilots and products that demonstrate the capabilities of CPS, but more importantly as the goal of the SmartAmerica Challenge they will show how these technologies will deliver socio-economic benefits to America.

The Challenge will culminate with the SmartAmerica Expo on June 11 at the Washington DC Convention Center.


Geoff Mulligan

Geoff Mulligan is currently serving as a Presidential Innovation Fellow working on Cyber Physical Systems for the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the White House and the National Institute for Standards and Technology. In this role, Geoff is working to advance the development and promote the use and deployment of CPS technologies that will improve the efficiencies of Healthcare, Energy, Manufacturing and Safety across America.

Previously, Geoff helped create and deploy the Arpanet and IP technologies including the design of IPv6, the creation and standardization of 6lowpan, the formation and founding of the Zigbee Alliance and the IPSO Alliance and has been instrumental in many key aspects of the embedded Internet – in fact Vint Cerf called Geoff the “Father of the Embedded Internet”. After graduating from the Air Force Academy, he worked in the Air Force and for a few different companies including Digital Equipment, Sun Mircosystems, and Invensys. He helped found start-ups working on email security, next generation Internet technologies, wireless systems and protocol design. He holds over 15 patents, wrote a book on combatting SPAM and testified before Congress on Computer Security.


Dr. SokwoSokwoo Rheeo Rhee is a Presidential Innovation Fellow working on cyber-physical systems. He co-leads the SmartAmerica Challenge, which brings together and interconnects cyber-physical systems and “Internet of Things” technologies and testbeds across the nation to demonstrate how CPS/IoT can boost American competitiveness and provide concrete examples of the socio-economic benefits such as job creation, creating new business opportunities, improving the economy, improving/saving lives, by combining CPS technology created from significant investments made by both the government  and private sector.

He is an entrepreneur and executive whose expertise includes wireless networks, medical devices, energy management, sensors, and motion control in commercial, industrial, and military applications. His company, Millennial Net, Inc., was one of the first to successfully commercialize low-power wireless mesh/sensor network and Internet of Things technology from academia. Prior to the founding of Millennial Net, he worked on wireless medical sensors as a research associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work and achievements have been recognized through awards including MIT Technology Review’s Top Innovators under 35. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.