The National Science Foundation (NSF) is not inclined to wait for next-generation (NextG) networks. And who can blame it? NextG promises faster cellular, Wi-Fi, and satellite networks, all of which can be used to enhance data streaming, wireless communications, analytics, and automation.\nFor the NSF, this translates into improved national defense, education, public health and safety, transportation, and digital infrastructure. For enterprises, NextG means greater efficiency, flexibility, business insights, and more opportunities to replace human workers with robots. (I\u2019m just sayin\u2019.)\n\nImagine offering your dwindling number of human employees connectivity speeds of 1 Gbps or more, along with latencies as low as 1 millisecond or less for massive numbers of devices and services. This would enable applications such as augmented reality\/virtual reality (AR\/VR) and video analytics. NextG networks will leverage software-defined networking (SDN), programmable accelerators, network function virtualization (NFV), cloud-computing platforms, dynamic orchestration, and mobile edge computing (MEC).\nOnce fully deployed, NextG network systems will provide connectivity for billions of internet-of-things devices and billions of people around the world. NextG will enable machines to communicate with each other and will make compute and storage resources available on-demand at the edge and from the cloud.\n\u201cThe economy,\u201d NSF says, \u201cwill become ever more dependent on the high availability, security and reliability of such network systems.\u201d\nSounds great! Well, except for the \u201cdependent\u201d part. Also, NSF, this part is a bit of a buzzkill: \u201cAny failure, tampering or degradation in network service can have highly disruptive, if not potentially catastrophic, effects.\u201d\nIn a bid to head off this foreboding fate, the agency is coordinating efforts to unleash the immense power of innovative and cash rewards to ensure \u201cNextG network systems have high degrees of resiliency at-scale (regardless of complexity), reliability, and availability.\u201d\nThe NSF is partnering with other federal agencies and private industry to form the Resilient and Intelligent Next-Generation Systems program (RINGS) to \u201cadvance the underlying technologies to guarantee worldwide availability, security and reliability of NextG systems.\u201d\n\u201cThe RINGS program seeks innovations to enhance both resiliency as well as performance across the various aspects of NextG communications, networking and computing systems,\u201d NSF says. \u201cFor the purposes of this solicitation, resiliency is the ability to survive, gracefully adapt to, and rapidly recover from malicious attacks, component failures, and natural and human-induced disruptions.\u201d\nMore specifically, RINGS hopes to boost resiliency \u201cacross all layers of the networking protocol and computation stacks as well as in throughput, latency, and connection density.\u201d Submitted proposals must address one or more research areas listed under two broad categories: 1) resilient network systems, and 2) enabling technologies.\nAcceptable research areas under resilient network systems include full-stack security, network intelligence\/adaptability, and network autonomy. Under enabling technologies, RINGS is looking for research into [radio-frequency] and mixed-signal circuits, antennas, and components, novel spectrum management technologies, scalable device-to-edge-to-cloud continuum, and merging digital, physical, and virtual worlds.\nThe program has allocated $40 million with which it plans to make 40 awards of up to $1 million each and three years in duration. NSF said it is the agency\u2019s largest effort yet to coordinate a public-private research program. Other participants include the Department of Defense\u2019s Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Apple, Ericsson, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies, and VMware.\nYou can check out the program requirements here. Now go out there and make NextG safe for the rest of us.