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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium MEASURING AND SUSTAINING THE NEW ECONOMY DECONSTRUCTING THE COMPUTER Report of a Symposium DALE W. JORGENSON AND CHARLES W. WESSNER, EDITORS Committee on Deconstructing the Computer Committee on Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy Policy and Global Affairs NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. NASW-99037, Task Order 103, between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Contract/Grant No. OFED-13416 between the National Academy of Sciences and Sandia National Laboratories; Contract/Grant No. CMRC-50SBNB9C1080 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Commerce; Contract/Grant No. NSF-EIA-0119063 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation; and Contract/Grant No. DOE-DE-FG02-01ER30315 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Energy. Additional support was provided by Intel Corporation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09254-X Limited copies are available from the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, National Research Council, 500 5th Street, NW, W547, Washington, DC 20001; 202-334-2200. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium Committee on Deconstructing the Computer* Dale Jorgenson, Chair Samuel W. Morris University Professor Harvard University M. Kathy Behrens Managing Director of Medical Technology Robertson Stephens Investment Management Michael Borrus Managing Director The Petkevich Group, LLC Ellen Dulberger Director, AMS Strategy IBM Global Services Kenneth Flamm Dean Rusk Chair in International Affairs LBJ School of Public Affairs University of Texas at Austin William J. Spencer Chairman Emeritus, retired International SEMATECH Bronwyn Hall Professor of Economics University of California at Berkeley Mark B. Myers Visiting Executive Professor of Management The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania William J. Raduchel Stephen L. Squires Vice President and Chief Science Officer Hewlett-Packard Company * As of February 2003.
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium Committee on Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy* Dale Jorgenson, Chair Samuel W. Morris University Professor Harvard University M. Kathy Behrens Managing Director of Medical Technology Robertson Stephens Investment Management Kenneth Flamm Dean Rusk Chair in International Affairs LBJ School of Public Affairs University of Texas at Austin Bronwyn Hall Professor of Economics University of California at Berkeley James Heckman Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics University of Chicago Ralph Landau Consulting Professor of Economics Stanford University Richard Levin President Yale University William J. Spencer, Vice-Chair Chairman Emeritus, retired International SEMATECH David T. Morgenthaler Founding Partner Morgenthaler Ventures Mark B. Myers Visiting Executive Professor of Management The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania Roger Noll Morris M. Doyle Centennial Professor of Economics Stanford University Edward E. Penhoet Chief Program Officer Science and Higher Education Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation William J. Raduchel Alan Wm. Wolff Managing Partner Dewey Ballantine * As of February 2003.
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium Project Staff* Charles W. Wessner Study Director Sujai J. Shivakumar Program Officer Kenneth Jacobson Consultant David E. Dierksheide Program Associate Christopher S. Hayter Program Associate Tabitha M. Benney Program Associate McAlister T. Clabaugh Program Associate * As of February 2003.
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium For the National Research Council (NRC), this project was overseen by the Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy (STEP), a standing board of the NRC established by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine in 1991. The mandate of the STEP Board is to integrate understanding of scientific, technological, and economic elements in the formulation of national policies to promote the economic well-being of the United States. A distinctive characteristic of STEP’s approach is its frequent interactions with public- and private-sector decision makers. STEP bridges the disciplines of business management, engineering, economics, and the social sciences to bring diverse expertise to bear on pressing public policy questions. The members of the STEP Board* and the NRC staff are listed below. Dale Jorgenson, Chair Samuel W. Morris University Professor Harvard University M. Kathy Behrens Managing Director of Medical Technology Robertson Stephens Investment Management Bronwyn Hall Professor of Economics University of California at Berkeley James Heckman Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics University of Chicago Ralph Landau Consulting Professor of Economics Stanford University Richard Levin President Yale University William J. Spencer, Vice-Chair Chairman Emeritus, retired International SEMATECH David T. Morgenthaler Founding Partner Morgenthaler Mark B. Myers Visiting Executive Professor of Management The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania Roger Noll Morris M. Doyle Centennial Professor of Economics Stanford University Edward E. Penhoet Chief Program Officer Science and Higher Education Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation William J. Raduchel Alan Wm. Wolff Managing Partner Dewey Ballantine * As of February 2003.
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium STEP Staff* Stephen A. Merrill Executive Director Russell Moy Senior Program Officer Craig M. Schultz Research Associate Christopher S. Hayter Program Associate Sujai J. Shivakumar Program Officer Charles W. Wessner Program Director Tabitha M. Benney Program Associate David E. Dierksheide Program Associate McAlister T. Clabaugh Program Associate * As of February 2003.
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium Contents PREFACE xiii I. PROCEEDINGS Introductory Remarks Dale W. Jorgenson, Harvard University 3 Panel I: Performance Measurement and Current Trends Moderator: Steven Landefeld, Department of Commerce 8 Measures of Performance Used in Measuring Computers Jack E. Triplett, The Brookings Institution 8 Overview of the IBM Global Product Plan David F. McQueeney, International Business Machines 15 Panel II: Computer Hardware and Components Moderator: William J. Spencer, International SEMATECH, retired 27 Processor Evolution William T. Siegle, Advanced Micro Devices 28 Storage Robert Whitmore, Seagate 36
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium Panel III: Peripherals: Current Technology Trends Moderator: Kenneth Flamm, University of Texas at Austin 48 The Promise of Storage Systems Mark F. Bregman, Veritas Software Corporation 48 Graphics Chris A. Malachowsky, NVIDIA Corporation 54 Flat Panel Displays Dalen E. Keys, DuPont Displays 58 Panel IV: Peripherals: Current Technology Trends, continued Moderator: Michael Borrus, The Petkevich Group 71 CD/DVD: Readers and Writers Kenneth E. Walker 72 Laser and Ink-Jet Printers Howard Taub, Hewlett-Packard Labs 77 Panel V: What Have We Learned And What Does It Mean? Moderator: Carol A. Corrado, Federal Reserve Board of Governors David F. McQueeney, International Business Machines William J. Raduchel Marilyn E. Manser, Bureau of Labor Statistics Kenneth Flamm, University of Texas at Austin Jack E. Triplett, The Brookings Institution 87 Concluding Remarks Dale W. Jorgenson, Harvard University 94 II. RESEARCH PAPER Performance Measures for Computers Jack E. Triplett, The Brookings Institution 99 III. APPENDIXES A. Biographies of Speakers 143 B. Participants List 153 C. Bibliography 156
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium Preface This report of a workshop is the second in a series designed to improve our understanding of the technological and economic trends underlying the growth and productivity increases that have created what many refer to as the New Economy. The “New Economy” refers to a fundamental transformation in the U.S. economy as businesses and individuals capitalize on new technologies, new opportunities, and new national investments in computing, information, and communications technologies. Use of this term reflects a growing conviction that substantial change has occurred in the structure of the U.S. economy, and this change is permanent.1 The goal of this analytical effort, led by the National Research Council’s Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP), is to improve our understanding of the sources of gains in growth and productivity and our understanding of the policies required to sustain the benefits of this New Economy for the nation. Even the casual observer is aware of the ongoing revolution in communications, computing, and information management.2 In the mid-1990s, this technological revolution contributed to a distinct rise in the long-term growth trajectory 1 In the context of this analysis, the New Economy does not refer to the boom economy of the late 1990s. 2 This is especially so for the computer hardware sector and perhaps for the Internet as well, although there is insufficient empirical evidence on the degree to which the Internet may be responsible. For a discussion of the impact of the Internet on economic growth, see “A Thinker’s Guide,” The Economist, March 30, 2000. For a broad study of investment in technology-capital and its use in various sectors, see McKinsey Global Institute, U.S. Productivity Growth 1995–2000: Understanding the Contribution of Information Technology Relative to Other Factors, Washington, D.C.: McKinsey & Co., October 2001.
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium of the United States.3 The term New Economy captures this new reality and has now become widely accepted by leading economists as a long-term productivity shift of major significance.4 The concept of a New Economy gained currency in the mid-1990s when new data began to reveal an acceleration of growth accompanying a transformation of economic activity.5 This shift in the rate of growth had coincided with a sudden, substantial, and rapid decline in the prices of computers—from 15 to about 28 percent annually after 1995—hand-in-hand with significant increases in computing power and function.6 It also coincided with a shift in the rate of decline in price for memory and logic devices—from 40 percent per year until the mid-1990s to about 60 percent thereafter. What is less widely appreciated is that much of this progress is derived from the significant and sustained increases in semiconductor productivity, predicted over 30 years ago by Gordon Moore and known as Moore’s Law. In approaching a phenomenon as complex as the New Economy, it is important to understand—and sort out—diverse elements of technological innovation, structural change, and the impact of public policy as well as issues of measurement. Technological innovation—more accurately, the rapid rate of technological innovation in information technology (including semiconductors, computers, software, and telecommunications) and the rapid growth of the Internet—are seen 3 See Dale Jorgenson and Kevin Stiroh, “Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age,” in National Research Council, Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy, Dale W. Jorgenson and Charles W. Wessner, eds., Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2002. 4 The introduction of advanced productivity-enhancing technologies obviously does not eliminate the business cycle. See Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Is There a New Economy? A First Report on the OECD Growth Project, Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, June 2000, p. 17. For an early discussion, see also M. N. Baily and R. Z. Lawrence, “Do We Have an E-conomy?” NBER Working Paper 8243, April 23, 2001, at <http://www.nber.org/papers/w8243>. 5 “Despite differences in methodology and data sources, a consensus is building that the remarkable behavior of IT prices provides the key to the surge in economic growth.” See Dale W. Jorgenson, “Information Technology and the U.S. Economy,” Presidential Address to the American Economic Association, New Orleans, LA, January 6, 2001. This consensus continues to expand. See The Economist, “The new ‘new economy’,” September 11, 2003. 6 Jorgenson and Stiroh describe this acceleration as a “point of inflection,” where the price decline abruptly rose from 15 percent annually to 28 percent. In response to this rapid price decline, investment in computer technology exploded, and its contribution to growth rose more than five-fold. In the latter half of the 1990s, Jorgenson and Stiroh find that computers contributed 0.46 percentage points per year to economic growth. Software and communications equipment contributed an additional 0.30 percentage points per year from 1995 to 1998. Preliminary estimates through 1999 revealed further increases for all three categories (computers, communications equipment, and software). Jorgenson’s and Stiroh’s analysis builds the case for “raising the speed limit,” that is, for revising upward the intermediate-term projections of growth for the U.S. economy and supports the notion that the economy is on a higher productivity path, similar to that experienced from the early 1950s through the early 1970s. See Dale W. Jorgenson and Kevin J. Stiroh, “Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age,” op. cit.
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium as the sources of the productivity gains that characterize the New Economy. These productivity gains derive first from the exponential growth in semiconductor performance at ever lower cost.7 In addition, the use of information technologies in the production of computers has greatly increased the productivity of this industry while having substantial positive effects (albeit with a lag) on the productivity of other important sectors of the economy such as banking, retail, and transportation.8 Many therefore believe that the productivity gains of the New Economy are closely linked to this unprecedented rate of technological innovation.9 Structural changes arise from a reconfiguration of knowledge networks and business patterns made possible by innovations in information technology. Phenomena, such as business-to-business e-commerce and Internet retailing, are altering how firms and individuals interact, enabling greater efficiency in purchases, production processes, and inventory management.10 These structural changes are still emerging as the use and applications of the Internet continue to evolve. Public policy plays a major role at several levels. This includes the government’s role in fostering rules of interaction within the Internet11 and its discretion in setting and enforcing the rules by which technology firms, among others, compete.12 More familiarly, public policy concerns particular fiscal and regulatory choices that can affect the rate and focus of investments in sectors such as telecommunications. The government also plays a critical role within the inno- 7 Price declines, for higher performance, have remained on the order of 17–20 percent per annum. See the presentation by Kenneth Flamm in this volume. 8 See, for example, Stephen Oliner and Daniel Sichel, “The Resurgence of Growth in the late 1990s: Is Information Technology the Story?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 14(4), Fall 2000. Oliner and Sichel estimate that improvements in the computer industry’s own productive processes account for about a quarter of the overall productivity increase. They also note that the use of information technology by all sorts of companies accounts for nearly half the rise in productivity. 9 See Alan Greenspan’s remarks before the White House Conference on the New Economy, Washington, D.C., April 5, 2000. <www.federalreserve.gov/BOARDDOCS/SPEECHES/2000/20000405.HTM>. For a historical perspective, see the Proceedings section of this volume. Ken Flamm compares favorably the economic impact of semiconductors today with the impact of railroads in the nineteenth century. 10 See, for example, Brookes Martin and Zaki Wahhaj, “The Shocking Economic Impact of B2B,” Global Economic Paper, 37, Goldman Sachs, February 3, 2000. 11 Dr. Vint Cerf notes that the ability of individuals to interact in potentially useful ways within the infrastructure of the still-expanding Internet rests on its basic rule architecture: “The reason it can function is that all the networks use the same set of protocols. An important point is these networks are run by different administrations, which must collaborate both technically and economically on a global scale.” See comments by Dr. Cerf in National Research Council, Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy, Dale W. Jorgenson and Charles W. Wessner, eds., Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2002. Also in the same volume, see the presentation by Dr. Shane Greenstein on the evolution of the Internet from academic and government-related applications to the commercial world. 12 The relevance of competition policy to the New Economy is manifested by the intensity of interest in the antitrust case, United States versus Microsoft, and associated policy issues.
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium vation system.13 It supports national research capacities, providing incentives (or disincentives) to promote education and training in key disciplines, and funds most of the nation’s basic research.14 The government also plays a major role in stimulating innovation. It does this most broadly through the patent system.15 In addition, government procurement and innovation awards have played key roles in the development of new technologies to fulfill national missions in defense, agriculture, health, and the environment.16 Collectively, these public policies play a central role in the continued development of the New Economy. Sustaining the contributions of this New Economy to growth, productivity, and employment will require public policy to remain relevant to the rapid technological and structural changes that characterize it and responsive to new trends and policy challenges in the global marketplace. THE CONTEXT OF THIS REPORT STEP’s earlier analysis, U.S. Industry in 2000, assessed the determinants of competitive performance in a wide range of manufacturing and service industries, including those relating to information technology.17 The STEP Board also undertook a major study, chaired by Gordon Moore of Intel, on how government-industry partnerships can support growth-enhancing technologies.18 Reflecting a growing recognition of the importance of the surge in productivity since 1995, the Board launched a multifaceted assessment, exploring the sources of growth, measurement challenges, and the policy framework required to sustain the New Economy. The first exploratory volume was published in 2002.19 Subsequent workshops and ensuing reports in this series include Productivity and Cyclicality in the Semiconductor Industry and Deconstructing the Computer—the present 13 See Richard Nelson, ed., National Innovation Systems, New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. 14 National Research Council, Trends in Federal Support of Research in Graduate Education, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2001. 15 In addition to government-funded research, intellectual property protection plays an essential role in the continued development of the biotechnology industry. See Wesley M. Cohen and John Walsh, “Public Research, Patents and Implications for Industrial R&D in the Drug, Biotechnology, Semiconductor and Computer Industries,” in National Research Council, Capitalizing on New Needs and New Opportunities: Government-Industry Partnerships in Biotechnology and Information Technologies, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2002. 16 For example, government support played a critical role in the early development of computers. See Kenneth Flamm, Creating the Computer, Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1988. 17 National Research Council, U.S. Industry in 2000: Studies in Competitive Performance, David C. Mowery, ed., Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1999. 18 For a summary of this multivolume study, see National Research Council, Government-Industry Partnerships for the Development of New Technologies: Summary Report, Charles W. Wessner, ed., Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2003. 19 National Research Council, Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy, Report of a Workshop, op. cit.
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium report, which looks at the component industries of the computer. Future reports in the series will address the software sector, as well as the policies required to sustain the New Economy. SYMPOSIUM Believing that increased productivity in the semiconductor and computer component industries plays a key role in sustaining the New Economy, the Committee on Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy, under the auspices of the STEP Board, convened a symposium on Deconstructing the Computer on February 28, 2003, at the National Academies in Washington, D.C. The symposium focused on metrics currently used in measuring computer performance and the sources of productivity growth in computers, examining current trends in hardware, components, and peripherals. The symposium included presentations and remarks from leading academics and innovators in the information technology sector (Appendix B lists these individuals). These presentations highlighted the need to develop more appropriate quality-adjusted price measures and better data on the performance of computers and computer components. The “Proceedings” chapter of this volume contains summaries of their workshop presentations and discussions. The speakers have each approved the summary of their statements. Also included in this volume is a paper by Jack Triplett, “Performance Measures for Computers,” which was presented at the symposium. Given the quality and the number of presentations, summarizing the workshop proceedings has been a challenge. We have made every effort to capture the main points made during the presentations and the ensuing discussions. We apologize for any inadvertent errors or omissions in our summary of the proceedings. The lessons from this symposium and others in this series will contribute to the Committee’s final consensus report on Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS In order to better understand the technological drivers and appropriate regulatory framework for the New Economy, as well as obtain a better grasp of its operation, a number of agencies have played a role in the creation and development of the New Economy. We are grateful for the participation and the contributions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation, and Sandia National Laboratories. We are indebted to Ken Jacobson for his preparation of the meeting summary. Several members of the STEP staff, including Sujai Shivakumar, also deserve recognition for their contributions to the preparation of this report. We are also indebted to Tabitha Benney and Christopher Hayter, who prepared the con-
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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium ference and, with David Dierksheide and McAlister Clabaugh, helped prepare this report for publication. NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL REVIEW This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Ana Aizcorbe, Bureau of Economic Analysis; Robert Keyes, IBM Thomas Watson Research Center; William Knaus, University of Virginia; and Juri Matisoo, Semiconductor Industry Association. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft before its release. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. STRUCTURE This report has three parts: a summary of the proceedings of the February 28, 2003, symposium; a research paper by Dr. Jack Triplett; and finally, a bibliography that provides additional references. This report represents an important step in a major research effort by the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy to advance our understanding of the factors shaping the New Economy, the metrics necessary to understand it better, and the policies best suited to sustaining the greater productivity and prosperity that it promises. Dale W. Jorgenson Charles W. Wessner