hearings. I also inserted parts of that report directly into the legislation that I drafted for Senator Gore. Luckily, plagiarism is legal on the Hill! After that first hearing, several people were astonished at Senator Gore's grasp of both the technology and the issues. This was due in part to the fact that he had read the report, which was released on the same day.

Since that time, I have worked with the Board on a number of critical issues. CSTB has helped us design the high-performance computing legislation and keep the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative on track. It has helped us deal with issues such as computer security. The Board has helped us evolve the ARPANET into the NSFnet, into the National Research and Education Network, into the Internet, into the Net, into the national information infrastructure, into the global information infrastructure, and into whatever it is we are now creating.

Today, we are going to look at how the Board has influenced policy and how it has worked effectively on the interface between science and engineering and policy making. Being one of the denizens of the interface, I know it is a pretty turbulent, unpredictable place to work. I know that this Board has been very effective in informing and enlightening those of us who have tried to help the policy-making process along. Today we have an excellent panel, and I should say that I am impressed with the quality of the entire symposium program.

This panel is going to take a Dickensian approach to its presentation by looking at CSTB's past, present, and future. The "spirit of CSTB past" will be provided by David Nelson (no relation), who has been working in this area even longer than I have and has been one of CSTB's primary customers. The "spirit of CSTB present" will be provided by Paul Young, who will talk about what is going on now and some of the ways in which the Board is influencing policy making. The "spirit of CSTB future" will be represented by Howard Frank, since the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is always 10 years ahead of the rest of us. He will discuss what might be ahead for the Board. We are going to keep these remarks very short, about five minutes each, so that we can have a full discussion. All of the panelists can talk about the past, present, and future, and they will do so in the question-and-answer period. Our goal is to provide a chronological look at where the Board has been, where it is now, and what directions it might take in the future.

David B. Nelson

I will cover CSTB past. This does feel a little bit like a role in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. As I was preparing this, I thought, "I am putting myself in the role of a peer reviewer." This reminded me of a story that I think most of you know, but it is so good that I will repeat it. This is the classic peer reviewer's report. It reads as follows: "This paper is novel, interesting, and correct. Unfortunately, the part that is novel is not interesting. The part that is interesting is not correct. The part that is correct is not novel." Fortunately, I do not make that judgment when it comes to the work of CSTB.

Before I review some of the Board's efforts from a government standpoint, let me remind you what the federal scene was like in 1986-1987. The Lax report1 had been out for only a few years, and the various agencies were struggling to implement its recommendations. I viewed that as an attempt to cure the VAX disease. What I mean is that every chemistry department could afford a VAX computer; so the standard of excellence in chemistry computation was one VAX unit.

Next, DARPA had just begun its strategic computing initiative. Robert Kahn smiles from the audience—he remembers that one well. The National Science Foundation (NSF) was dealing with the question of establishing supercomputer centers, particularly how to link them together in something that would be called NSFnet. To remind you how history is out of our control, remember the study that said that the NSFnet should run Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) protocols as soon as practical. Think back. There is a lot of water under the bridge on that one.

1  

Report of the Panel on Large Scale Computing in Science and Engineering . Peter Lax. chairman, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C., December 26, 1992.



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