TABLE 2.1 Advances in Technologies Relevant to the Generation and Exchange of Scientific Data and Information




High-density storage and memory

Capacity to deal with large volumes of data and high rates of transmission for today's science demands.

Precipitous drop in cost. Holographic and high-density optical memory technology will enter market.a


Ability to protect copyright, the privacy of individuals, and data integrity.

Imbedded encryption in numerous products expected to make privacy and security applications manageable. Widespread application of public-key encryption

Packet asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) communications

Support for high-speed, flexible transmission of video and images.

Long-term steady growth in ATM applications over high-speed fiber-optic links. Use of ATM within local area networks, competitive with other local area network (LAN) technologies (e.g., 100-Mbps Ethernet)


Extension of the range of that which can be observed (more precision, more spectral range, higher sampling frequency, less calibration effort)

New multispectral sensors, improved resolution, smaller and more numerous satellites. Additional terrestrial applications (e.g., agriculture).

Small satellites (and inexpensive launches)

Lowering of barriers to entry for remote sensing applications.

Increased space and ground remote sensing activity. Broader array of applications.b

Wireless (space and ground) communications

Capability to enhance communication in remote areas or areas where post, telephone, and telegraph have limited capability/capacity.

Worldwide access to voice and high-speed data transmission within 5 years. Wireless systems filling in to meet communications needs that ongoing investments in fiber cable or wireline systems have been unable to accommodate.

High-performance computer processors

Enhanced capability for computationally intensive science activities (e.g., models, transformation of large data sets).

More expensive fabrication processes expected to cause reduction in supplier alternatives.c Potential for "single-electron" circuits. d Moore's law applying through 2005, or longer.

Robotics for exploration and for technology data transmission, from or to inaccessible places

Improved autonomy of vehicles for ocean and atmosphere studies and for planetary missions.

New frames for small submarines and pilotless aircraft (driven in part by military applications); "downhole" oil, gas, and geologic exploration; micro-electromechanical systems (MEMs) applications. e

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