TABLE 2.2 Summary of Technical Trends Affecting Exchange of Scientific Data and Information

Trend

Description

Decreasing cost of computing and communications; "technology leapfrogging"

Following Moore's Law, the cost of computing, data storage, and communication has fallen consistently for more than 25 years. Developing countries and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union have, in some cases, been able to acquire modern communications and computing equipment. New users have been able to avoid substantial capital expense and the burden of depreciation of that investment.

Enhanced capabilities for collecting scientific and other data

The collection power of their instruments enables major scientific enterprises such as the Human Genome Project, climate modeling, and satellite remote sensing studies to generate very large volumes of data.

Increasing exploitation of broadband networks and emerging dominance of the video data type in networks

The investment in fiber-optic cable over the past two decades is increasingly being exploited to support demanding new applications with high-capacity or real-time delivery requirements (video, medical imaging, large-scale science). The entertainment industry and new applications such as video teleconferencing, movies on demand, and interactive television have attracted substantial investment and will be the dominant factors in the development of networks in the next 10 years. Voice communication will require a minor share of telecommunications capacity.

Advent of digital wireless communications

Wireless networks are rapidly connecting the world in new ways, and at low cost. Ground-based wireless systems are creating modern infrastructure in cities that have had unreliable phone systems with inadequate capacity. Proposed satellite ventures will provide data and voice connections on a global basis.



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