1. Government science agencies also should continue funding for research and development in information technologies that are important to the pursuit of science. Examples include high-performance computing and communications, advanced database technology, higher-density storage media, and basic research in microelectronics.
  2. A consortium of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations concerned with the international exchange of scientific data and information—including the International Telecommunications Union, the World Bank, the U.N. Environment Programme, U.N. Industrial Development Organization, U.N. Commission on Economic Development, and other Specialized Agencies of the United Nations, as well as the International Council of Scientific Unions—should mount a global effort to reduce telecommunications tariffs to scientists in developing countries through differential pricing or direct subsidy. This reduction in tariffs would have to be coupled with more timely access to new telephone lines in some countries. The result would be increasing rates of scientific data transfer in the developing countries and a significant improvement in their research capabilities and economic development.
  3. Foreign aid to developing countries in the form of computers, computer networks, and associated software, coupled with the training and resources necessary to operate and maintain those technologies, should be given high priority, on the basis of the potential for long-term socioeconomic returns. The communication systems must have adequate carrying capacity to meet growing demand.

NOTES

1.  

Moore's Law, named for Intel founder Gordon Moore, predicts that the density of microprocessors will double every 18 months, thus halving the price. The by-product of this long-lived phenomenon has been the doubling of processor speed in the same 18-month period. Moore's "Law" is in fact a representation of the speed of change of the microelectronics industry over the last 20 years. It is expected to continue to apply to technology change for at least the next 5 to 10 years. See Ashley Dunn (1996), "The Demise of Moore's Law Signals the Digital Frontier's End," New York Times, August 14, at <http://www.nytimes./com/library/cyber/surf/0814surf.html>. See also <http://www-us-east.intel.com/product/tech briefs/man_bnch.html>.

2.  

See Brian Grimes (1995), "Modeling and Forecasting the Information Sciences," Knowledge Science Institute, University of Calgary, at <http://ksi.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/articles/BRETAM/InfSci/> for a discussion of exponential change in the performance of these technologies and its impact.

3.  

One terabyte is 1012 bytes, or 1,000 gigabytes. It is roughly the equivalent of 40,000 4-drawer files holding 500 million pages of paper documents.

4.  

Oryx Energy Co. estimates that in petroleum prospecting a three-dimensional seismic survey of a 3-square-mile block in the Gulf of Mexico involved hundreds of gigabits of data, requiring three months of supercomputer time to digest. See J. Dubashi (1990), "Images and Imaginations," Financial World, 24 (July):8.



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