FIGURE 4-1 Scales of health science research. SOURCE: Donald Burke. 2011. “Emerging Science and Technology in the Life Sciences.” Presentation to the committee at the Workshop on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Defense Industrial Base, Arlington, Va., August 1.


recruiting. He gave examples of four novel programs at his home institution: (1) simulation using agent-based models of pandemic spread through the United States, (2) data acquisition and analysis of historical disease patterns, (3) modeling of human health behaviors, and (4) measurement of population-level immunity. He discussed these four in detail, touching on the methodologies and the challenges in accessing and analyzing the data. One noteworthy example was the mining of the Department of Defense Serum Repository (Silver Spring, Maryland) of 50 million human serum specimens. In concluding his talk, Burke reiterated the theme of multiple scales, adding that at higher levels of sociobehavioral analysis we are seeing a “data tsunami.”

Anthony Tether, president of the Sequoia Group, discussed the topic of emerging S&T in the next 15 years from the perspective of his current work and his former service as the director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He offered a “baker’s dozen” of important technologies and explained the significance of each to the DOD mission:

•   Alternative energy. Alternative energy is critical because all U.S. wars are conducted offshore, and a modern army moves on energy.

•   Critical biological technologies. There is a need for timely, tailored therapeutic response capability.

•   Cognitive computing and high-productivity computing systems. These systems could be used to simulate operations and eliminate extensive experimentation.

•   Laser systems. These systems are of perennial importance, dating back 40 years, and have multiple military uses, from sensing to communication to electronic warfare to target designation.

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