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Furthermore, independence will encourage diversity in the research program, thus increasing opportunities for unexpected discoveries, encouraging a broader attack on problems, and ensuring fewer missed opportunities.

12. Place projects in the HPCCI only if they match well to its objectives. Federal research funding agencies should promptly document the extent to which HPCCI funding is supporting important long-term research areas whose future funding should be independent of the future of the HPCCI.

A number of preexisting agency programs have entered the HPCCI, with two effects: the HPCCI's budget appears to grow faster than the real growth of investment in high-performance computing and communications research, and important programs such as basic research in computing within NSF and ARPA may be in jeopardy should the HPCCI end.

13. Base mission agency computer procurements on mission needs only, and encourage making equipment procurement decisions at the lowest practical management level. This recommendation applies equally to government agencies and to government contractors. It has generally been best for an agency to specify the results it wants and to leave the choice of specific equipment to the contractor or local laboratory management.


1. See U.S. DOC (1994); the Department of Commerce utilizes data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census series, the Annual Survey of Manufactures. It places the value of shipments for the information technology industry at $421 billion for 1993. This number omits revenue from equipment rentals, fees for after-sale service, and mark-ups in the product distribution channel. It also excludes office equipment in total. It includes computers, storage devices, terminals and peripherals; packaged software; computer program manufacturing, data processing, information services, facilities management, and other services; and telecommunications equipment and services.

See also CBEMA (1994); CBEMA values the worldwide 1993 revenue of the U.S. information technology industry at $602 billion. In addition to including office equipment, it shows larger revenues for information technology hardware and telecommunications equipment than does the Department of Commerce.

2. Microcomputers (personal computers) are defined as computers with a list price of $1,000 to $14,999; see CBEMA (1994), pp. 60-61. Forrester Research Inc. (1994, pp. 2-3) estimates the share of households with PCs at about 20 percent, based on its survey of households and Bureau of Census data. Forrester's model accounts for retirements of older PCs and for households with multiple PCs. This is a lower estimate than the Software Publishing Association's widely cited 30 percent share. By definition, the microcomputer statistics exclude small computers and other general-purpose and specialized devices that also make use of microprocessors and would be counted in a more comprehensive measurement of information technology.

3. Earlier experience with three isolated computers, ''Illiac 4" (built at the University of Illinois) and "C.mmp" and "Cm*" (both built at Carnegie Mellon University), bears out this point.

4. Of course, systems specialized for a single application or for homogenous technology, such as telephony, serve millions of users, but what is now envisioned is more complex and heterogenous, involving integration of multiple services and systems.

5. The other four programs of the HPCCI are Advanced Software Technology and Algorithms, Basic Research and Human Resources, High-Performance Computing Systems, and the National Research and Education Network.

6. Notably, references to the computing portion of the HPCCI have been overshadowed recently by the ubiquity of speeches and documents devoted to the notion of a national information infrastructure (NII). The NII has also been featured in the titles of the 1994 and 1995 Blue Books.

7. Each year beginning in 1991 the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy submits a report on the HPCCI to accompany the president's budget. The FY 1992, FY 1993, and FY 1994 books were produced by the now-defunct Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology; the FY 1995 report was produced by the NCO (acting for the Committee on Information and Communications). The report describes prior accomplishments and the future funding and activities for the coming fiscal year. These reports have collectively become known as "Blue Books" after the color of their cover.

8. NCO (1994), p. 15. Note that figures represent the President's requested budget authority for FY 1995. Actual appropriated levels were not available at press time. Because the HPCCI is synthesized as a cross-cutting multiagency initiative, there is no separate and identifiable "HPCCI appropriation."

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