There are several emerging areas (e.g. sensor networks, healthcare, distributed control systems, the Internet of Things, cyber physical systems) in which highly-constrained devices are interconnected, typically communicating wirelessly with one another, and working in concert to accomplish some task. Because the majority of current cryptographic algorithms were designed for desktop/server environments, many of these algorithms do not fit into constrained devices.
NIST has initiated a process to solicit, evaluate, and standardize lightweight cryptographic algorithms that are suitable for use in constrained environments where the performance of current NIST cryptographic standards is not acceptable. NIST has published a call for algorithms (test vector generation code) to be considered for lightweight cryptographic standards. The deadline for submitting algorithms has passed.
For more information regarding the Lightweight Cryptography, please visit the Computer Security Resource Center (CSRC).