quality, efficiency, accessibility, and dependability of nationally important industries and services are realizable through advances in information technology and the integration of those advances into the work modes of organizations and individuals (CSTB, 1994a,b). Whether the proposed advances are expressed as needs or as opportunities, research relating to enabling technologies remains essential; it is the foundation for progress in information technology generally and for advances in the nature and uses of information infrastructure. In addition, actual growth in the use of electronic information and communications systems in the United States and worldwide creates a need for research into the complex problems of managing information and integrating information and communications services into broader human activities that involve ordinary citizens, including specialists in areas other than information technology.1
To explore needs and opportunities for use of computing and communications in crisis management and other selected application areas, workshop participants examined four classes of technologies, loosely reflecting a layered model of information infrastructure, with each set of technologies providing capabilities used by the higher layers. The organization of each section in this chapter reflects this classification scheme, proceeding from lower to higher layers.
- Networking—technologies related to networked voice, video, and data communications, including physical facilities (e.g., circuits, switches, routers), the communications services that make use of them, and the architectures, protocols, and management mechanisms that make networks function. Key aspects include, for example, bandwidth, reliability, security, quality of service, and architectural support for the integration of higher-level functions across the network.
- Computation—technologies related to computer processing, particularly in a distributed context. Traditional computation-intensive functions include modeling, simulation, and some aspects of visualization, among others. Key aspects include, for example, strategies for maximizing the use of processing power (such as parallelism and distribution), programming models, software system composition, and management of processing and data flows across networks, including representation of time and temporal constraints in distributed computing.
- Information management—technologies contributing to the creation, storage, retrieval, and sharing of information across networks. Components that may be integrated within an information management system include traditional databases, object databases for design applications, multimedia servers, digital libraries, and distributed file systems, as well as software applications that process or manage information. They also include remote sensors attached to networks. Key aspects include, for example, balance between central and distributed control, exchange of diverse types and formats of information across boundaries,