tion that requires action on their part. This “augmented cognition” is critical for those who operate in high-stress, high-information environments, but it may be even more important for those who are cognitively impaired—for example, Alzheimer’s patients, who with cognitive assistance and monitoring could live fuller, more independent lives.

Driving Advances in All Fields of Science and Engineering

The role of simulation, enabled by advances in high performance computing, in driving advances in all fields of science and engineering is well documented. Today though, we are seeing the emergence of a new form of computational science: one focused on the collection of massive amounts of data from sensors in the world around us and aided by advances in techniques for storing, retrieving, mining, visualizing, and discovering knowledge in those data. Sensors are everywhere—in the oceans, in scientific instruments ranging from telescopes to medical imaging systems, in our civilian infrastructure (buildings, roads, bridges). These sensors generate relentlessly increasing amounts of data. Discovery involves data analysis on a massive scale. Rapid advances in information technology are essential.


The impacts that can be anticipated from advances in IT during the coming decades as described above are but a few examples of the promise of information technology. Advances in IT have transformed our lives, powered our economy, and changed the conduct of science and engineering. Even so, the field remains in its relative infancy, and greater opportunities lie ahead.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement