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--> Funding a Revolution Government Support for Computing Research Committee on Innovations in Computing and Communications: Lessons from History Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1999
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--> NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation under grant EIA-9529482. Additional support was provided by the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Computer Society. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 98-88131 International Standard Book Number 0-309-06278-0 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press (http://www.nap.edu) 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Box 285 Washington, D.C. 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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--> COMMITTEE ON INNOVATIONS IN COMPUTING AND COMMUNICATIONS: LESSONS FROM HISTORY THOMAS HUGHES, University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair GWEN BELL, The Computer Museum ERICH BLOCH, Council on Competitiveness ROBERT BRESSLER, Sun Microsystems, Inc. PAUL DAVID, Oxford University and Stanford University MARVIN DENICOFF, Office of Naval Research (retired) DAVID HOUNSHELL, Carnegie Mellon University AMOS E. JOEL, JR., Lucent Technologies, Inc. (retired) TIMOTHY LENOIR, Stanford University DOUGLAS McILROY, Dartmouth College EMERSON PUGH, IBM Corporation (retired) CHARLES SEITZ, Myricom Corporation CHARLES THACKER, Microsoft Corporation Special Advisor DANIEL J. KEVLES, California Institute of Technology Staff JERRY R. SHEEHAN, Senior Program Officer (study director after February 1997) MARJORY S. BLUMENTHAL, Director (study director through February 1997) DAVID MINDELL, CSTB Consultant JED GORDON, Research Aide LESLIE M. WADE, Research Assistant (through March 1997) DAVID PADGHAM, Project Assistant (starting August 1998) MICKELLE RODGERS, Project Assistant (through August 1998) SYNOD P. BOYD, Project Assistant (through December 1997)
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--> COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD DAVID D. CLARK, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair FRANCES E. ALLEN, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center JAMES CHIDDIX, Time Warner Cable JEFF DOZIER, University of California at Santa Barbara A.G. (SANDY) FRASER, AT&T Corporation SUSAN L. GRAHAM, University of California at Berkeley JAMES GRAY, Microsoft Corporation BARBARA J. GROSZ, Harvard University PATRICK HANRAHAN, Stanford University JUDITH HEMPEL, University of California at San Francisco DEBORAH A. JOSEPH, University of Wisconsin BUTLER W. LAMPSON, Microsoft Corporation EDWARD D. LAZOWSKA, University of Washington DAVID LIDDLE, Interval Research BARBARA H. LISKOV, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN MAJOR, QUALCOMM Incorporated DAVID G. MESSERSCHMITT, University of California at Berkeley DONALD NORMAN, Nielsen Norman Group RAYMOND OZZIE, Groove Networks DONALD SIMBORG, KnowMed Systems LESLIE L. VADASZ, Intel Corporation Staff MARJORY S. BLUMENTHAL, Director JANE BORTNICK GRIFFITH, Interim Director, 1998 HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Scientist JERRY R. SHEEHAN, Senior Program Officer ALAN INOUYE, Program Officer JON EISENBERG, Program Officer JANET BRISCOE, Administrative Associate NICCI DOWD, Project Assistant RITA GASKINS, Project Assistant DAVID PADGHAM, Project Assistant
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--> COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS PETER M. BANKS, ERIM International, Inc., Co-chair W. CARL LINEBERGER, University of Colorado, Co-chair WILLIAM BROWDER, Princeton University LAWRENCE D. BROWN, University of Pennsylvania MARSHALL H. COHEN, California Institute of Technology RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University JOHN E. ESTES, University of California at Santa Barbara JERRY P. GOLLUB, Haverford College MARTHA P. HAYNES, Cornell University JOHN L. HENNESSY, Stanford University CAROL M. JANTZEN, Westinghouse Savannah River Company PAUL G. KAMINSKI, Technovation, Inc. KENNETH H. KELLER, University of Minnesota MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California at Los Angeles DANIEL KLEPPNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN R. KREICK, Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company MARSHA I. LESTER, University of Pennsylvania M. ELISABETH PATÉ-CORNELL, Stanford University NICHOLAS P. SAMIOS, Brookhaven National Laboratory CHANG-LIN TIEN, University of California at Berkeley NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director
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--> PREFACE Computing technology is widely touted as fast moving. Generations of products and their underlying electronics are introduced at intervals of 18 to 24 months, and the number and variety of computer- and communications-based goods and services are growing. Technology and industry experts believe that the double-digit rates of improvement experienced in the last couple of decades can be sustained for computer-based technologies over at least another decade if appropriate investments are made, but it is not clear what those investments should be and on what they depend. Similarly, there is little understanding of how to relate a seemingly strong and steady flow of new technology to the slower and more diffuse processes of assimilating new technology into the economy. As described in Evolving the High-Performance Computing and Communications Initiative to Support the Nation's Information Infrastructure, also known as the Brooks-Sutherland report,1 part of the reason for the tremendous advances in information technology since World War II has been the extraordinarily productive interplay of federally funded university research, federally and privately funded industrial research, and entrepreneurial companies founded and staffed by people who moved back and forth between universities and industry. To a degree that appears 1 Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), National Research Council. 1995. Evolving the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative to Support the Nation's Information Infrastructure. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
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--> uncommon in all but a few other disciplines, there has been a mix of people and ideas that highlights the limitations of the linear model of innovation, which posits that innovation proceeds sequentially from laboratory research to product development to manufacturing and sales. The dynamic nature of the process is evidenced by the fact that many of today's leading computer technology firms did not exist 20 years ago; many innovative firms that did exist have failed as businesses, but their innovations have endured or become the bases for subsequent developments; many familiar products and businesses can be traced back to federally funded research, often conducted at universities; and the ebb and flow of individual firms is fueled by the movement of people among universities, government laboratories, and private companies. Understanding this interplay and the ways the private sector has leveraged publicly funded activities is important for sustaining success in this arena. Understanding the changes in these elements—such as downward pressures on research support in industry and government—and the potential implications of such change is important for directing federal research and development efforts. The Committee and Its Charge To better understand these issues, the National Science Foundation (NSF), along with the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, asked the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) of the National Research Council to initiate a study of lessons to be learned from the history of innovation in computing and communications technology. The committee was charged to expand on the analysis in the Brooks-Sutherland report to understand the way federal research funding affects the economy and creates new industries. The study was to address questions such as the following: How did the U.S. computing and communications industries achieve developmental fertility? On what have they built, and on what does their continuation depend? What are the interactions among players in academia, government, and industry? What is special or unique about these players and interactions compared to other technologies? Where are the frictions—where have the interactions foundered, and why? How can success be calibrated? How often are there unexpected successes and how well are they tracked? What are notable instances of failure, what were the underlying factors, and what has been learned? How well can we assess causality, as opposed to associations?
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--> What are the key lags, to what are they attributable, and how constant are they? How long does it take for an advance to show up as a commercial product—and how long does it take from commercial introduction to market acceptance? To conduct this study, CSTB assembled a committee of 13 members and one special advisor with experience in both computing and communications technology and relevant social sciences. Members included (1) individuals involved in developing key computer and communications technologies who had experience in academic research, government research and development, and industrial research, development, and commercialization and (2) economists, historians, sociologists, and others with insight into the history of technology and the analysis of economic impacts of technology. This was a project in which experience, judgment, and expert interpretation were needed to produce balanced presentations of events and formulation of lessons. The study was strengthened by involving social science experts in relevant forms of data gathering, analysis, and interpretation. The committee met six times between July 1996 and June 1998 to plan its course of action, meet with relevant experts, deliberate over its findings, draft its final report, and respond to reviewer comments. In order to combine a broad understanding of the major trends in computing and communications with more in-depth knowledge of particular fields and innovations, the committee took a two-pronged approach to the study. First, it examined the broad history of computing and communications, extending from early attempts to design and build computers in the post-World War II era to the present. The goal was not to document each innovation in computing and communications, but rather to identify the key trends in each historical era and identify the primary government activities that contributed to the industries' development. Data were gathered on federal and industrial funding levels for research and development in computing technology, as well as investments in research infrastructure and human resources. Second, the committee developed case studies of five specific areas: relational databases, the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web, theoretical computer science, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. These areas were selected because of the expertise of individual committee members and because they were believed to represent a broad range of federal roles in the innovation process. The case studies were not intended to be exhaustive histories of the topics investigated, but rather to provide illustrative examples that could inform the committee's attempt to discern lessons regarding the role of federal research funding in computing. As a result, they differ significantly in length, structure, and tone.
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--> Nevertheless, the committee derived overarching themes from seemingly discrete events regarding the relationship between public and private investment, the roles of federal research funding in stimulating innovation, and characteristics of effective government support for research. Additional information for the study was gathered through a series of interviews with key leaders in federal science and technology policy making and in computing research: Claude Barfield (American Enterprise Institute), Gordon Bell (formerly with the National Science Foundation), George Brown (U.S. House of Representatives), Mel Ciment (National Science Foundation), Fernando Corbato (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Tice DeYoung (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Howard Frank (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Juris Hartmanis (National Science Foundation), Charles Holland (Air Force Office of Scientific Research), Anita K. Jones (Department of Defense), John Lehmann (National Science Foundation), John Machado (Naval Electronic Systems Command), Steven Squires (Corporation for National Research Initiatives), John Toole (National Coordination Office for Computing, Information, and Communications), Bruce Waxman (University Research Foundation), Gilbert Weigand (Department of Energy), and Patrick Winston (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). These interviews provided considerable guidance on policy debates surrounding federal funding of research and served to inform the committee's evolving set of conclusions. The interviews revealed a broad consensus regarding the importance of the federal government in funding research in computing and communications. Regardless of their political affiliations and different roles in the research enterprise, the experts interviewed for this study confirmed the value of federal funding in computing research, especially federal support for university research. This report attempts to summarize, as concisely as possible, the main conclusions of the study while providing needed justification and support. As such, this report is not a comprehensive history of computing, nor is it a complete accounting of federal involvement in computing. Rather, it provides an overview of the innovation process in computing technology based on a select set of seemingly representative examples and buttressed by more comprehensive data. The lessons derived regarding the federal role in computing and communications will, it is hoped, provide relevant guidance for continued efforts in these fields. Acknowledgments This report represents the cumulative and cooperative efforts of many people. The study committee, itself a blend of technologists, historians, and social scientists, worked tirelessly to overcome differences in cultural
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--> perspectives and predilections to form a more unified view of the history of computing and the government's role in supporting it. Committee members' contributions to the case studies and their deliberations formed the backbone of this project. Special thanks are due to David Mindell, assistant professor in the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who as a consultant to this project assisted in all aspects of its development—helping to define the study and its scope, participating in committee discussions, and drafting sections of the final document. Jed Gordon, an undergraduate in the STS program at MIT, played a key role in collecting and analyzing data on the contributions of various government organizations to computing research and in writing brief histories of specific federal research programs, such as Project Whirlwind and Project MAC. He also analyzed federal statistics on research funding in computing and educational support of computer science students. Hui Zeng, a graduate student in computer science at George Mason University, assisted in compiling and analyzing information about federal funding of computing research and development of human resources. Laura Ost, editor-consultant, helped to turn the original manuscript into a readable text. Beyond those directly affiliated with the project were many others who contributed valuable information to the report. Jennifer Sue Bond, John Jankowski, Margaret Machen, Ronald Meeks, and Raymond Wolf at NSF were instrumental in providing a wide range of data on federal and industrial support for computing and communications. John Lehmann at NSF opened his historical files to the committee, making available a wealth of information about NSF programs in computing and communications. David Gries at Cornell University provided historical data from the Taulbee surveys, tracking the growth of academic computer science activities. Francis Narin and Anthony Breitzman at CHI Research, Inc., generated special tabulations of patent and citation data in computing. John Warwick, a computer science student at Carnegie Mellon University, built a Web crawler to gather data on U.S. patents in artificial intelligence. Margaret Taylor of Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Engineering and Public Policy helped to design the search and to sort and analyze the data. The committee is also grateful to those who took time to meet with its members and provide relevant briefings: John Alic (then with the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies), Paul Ceruzzi (National Air and Space Museum), Kenneth Flamm (Brookings Institution), John Hennessy (Stanford University), Robert Kahn (Corporation for National Research Initiatives), Nils Nilsen (Stanford University), Paul Romer (Stanford University), Ivan Sutherland (Sun Microsystems, Inc.), and William Wulf (National Academy of Engineering). Their input pro-
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--> Common Pool Problems, Patent Races, and Potential Overinvestment in R&D 45 The Benefits of Public Support of Research 46 Direct Contributions to the Scientific Knowledge Base 47 Indirect Effects of Government-sponsored Research 49 Intellectual Assistance 49 Research as Training 50 Notes 51 3 Federal Support for Research Infrastructure 52 Federal Research Funding 53 Levels of Federal Support 53 Sources of Federal Support 55 Comparisons to Industrial Research Funding 59 Human Resources 62 Computer Facilities 71 University Computing Centers 73 Departmental Computing 74 High-performance Computing 76 Network Infrastructure 77 Effects of Federal Investments in Research Infrastructure 79 Conclusion 81 Notes 81 4 The Organization of Federal Support: A Historical Review 85 1945-1960: Era of Government Computers 86 The Government's Early Role 87 Establishment of Organizations 88 Military Research Offices 88 National Bureau of Standards 89 Atomic Energy Commission 90 Private Organizations 91 Observations 95 1960-1970: Supporting a Continuing Revolution 96 Maturing of a Commercial Industry 96 The Changing Federal Role 98 The Advanced Research Projects Agency 98 ARPA and Information Technology 99 ARPA's Management Style 101 National Science Foundation 105 1970-1990: Retrenching and International Competition 107
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--> Computer Science, Computer Technology 107 The Changing Political Context 111 Science and Politics in the 1970s: A Changed Climate 111 Policy for the 1980s: Industrial Research and Competitiveness 112 Changes in the Organization of Federal Research Support 113 Changes at ARPA 113 Very Large Scale Integrated Circuits 115 Strategic Computing Initiative 122 Making a Science, Funding a Science: The NSF in the 1970s and 1980s 124 Other Federal Agencies in the 1970s and 1980s 126 SEMATECH 129 High-performance Computing 130 1990 and Beyond 132 Notes 134 5 Lessons from History 136 The Benefits of Federal Research Investments 137 Providing the Technology Base for Growing Industries 138 Maintaining University Research Capabilities 139 Creating Human Resources 140 Accomplishing Federal Missions 141 Characteristics of Effective Federal Support 142 Support for Long-range, Fundamental Research 142 Support for Efforts to Build Large Systems 145 Building on Industrial Research 146 Diverse Sources of Government Support 147 Strong Program Managers and Flexible Management Structures 150 Industry-University Collaboration 152 Organizational Innovation and Adaptation 153 Concluding Remarks 155 Notes 155 Part II: Case Studies in Computing Research 157 6 The Rise of Relational Databases 159 Background 160 Emergence of Computerized Databases 160 Early Efforts at Standardization 161 Emergence of the Relational Model 162 Codd's Vision 162
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--> System R 163 Ingres 164 Diffusion and Commercialization of Relational Databases 165 Lessons from History 167 Notes 168 7 Development of the Internet and the World Wide Web 169 Early Steps: 1960-1970 170 Expansion of the ARPANET: 1970-1980 173 From ARPANET to Internet 174 Local Area Networks 174 Integrated Networking 176 Standards and Management 176 Closing the Decade 177 The NSFNET Years: 1980-1990 177 Emergence of the Web: 1990 to the Present 179 Lessons from History 181 Notes 182 8 Theoretical Research: Intangible Cornerstone of Computer Science 184 Machine Models: State Machines 186 Computational Complexity 189 Verifying Program Correctness 191 Cryptography 193 Lessons from History 196 Notes 197 9 Developments in Artificial Intelligence 198 The Private Sector Launches the Field 199 The Government Steps In 201 DARPA's Pivotal Role 204 Success in Speech Recognition 205 Shift to Applied Research Increases Investment 209 Artificial Intelligence in the 1990s 216 Lessons from History 221 Notes 222 10 Virtual Reality Comes of Age 226 Launching the Graphics and Virtual Reality Revolution 228 Seeding the Academic Talent Pool 229
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--> Virtual Reality in the Private Sector: Approach with Caution 233 Synergy Launches the Quest for the ''Holy Grail'' 235 Graphics Hardware: RISC Technology 238 Biomedical Applications 240 Virtual Reality and Entertainment: Toward a Commercial Industry 242 The Right Mix: Virtual Reality in the 1990s 244 Lessons from History 247 Notes 248 Bibliography 250 Appendix: Committee Biographies 267
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--> BOXES, FIGURES, AND TABLES BOXES ES.1 Why a Historical Approach? 3 ES.2 Case Studies of Innovation in Computing 6 1.1 Drawing Conclusions from Case Studies 19 1.2 Analogy in Technological Innovation 22 1.3 Early Industrial Efforts in Computing 29 4.1 Project Whirlwind and SAGE 92 4.2 Project MAC and Computer Time-sharing 103 4.3 Roots of the Personal Computer 109 4.4 Accomplishments of DARPA's Very Large Scale Integrated Circuit Program 119 4.5 Computer Engineering at the National Science Foundation 125 8.1 The Formal Verification Process 192 8.2 Rivest-Shamir-Adleman Cryptography 195 9.1 The Development and Influence of LISP 202 9.2 Dragon Systems Profits from Success in Speech Recognition 208 9.3 Pioneering Expert Systems 210 9.4 DARPA's Current Artificial Intelligence Program 219 10.1 What Is Virtual Reality? 227 10.2 Community Building 230 10.3 The Rise and Fall of Atari 233 10.4 Real3D Emerges from Military-Commercial Linkage 245
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--> FIGURES ES.1 Federal and industry funding for computing research, 1977-1996 4 1.1 Illustrations of the role of government-sponsored computing research and development 20 3.1 Federal funding for research in computer science, 1976-1995 54 3.2 Federal funding for research in electrical engineering, 1971-1995 55 3.3 Federal funding for scientific research, 1974-1995 56 3.4 Federal funding for research in computer science by agency, 1976-1995 57 3.5 Federal funding for research in electrical engineering by agency, 1972-1995 57 3.6 Federal funding for basic research in computer science by agency, 1976-1995 58 3.7 Federal funding for basic research in electrical engineering by agency, 1972-1995 59 3.8 Federal and industrial funding for computing research, 1977-1996 60 3.9 R&D intensity in computer-related industries, 1975-1996 63 3.10 Bachelor's degrees awarded by field, 1966-1995 65 3.11 Master's degrees awarded by field, 1966-1995 66 3.12 Doctoral degrees awarded by field, 1966-1995 67 3.13 Federal funding for university research in computer science, 1976-1995 69 3.14 Federal funding for university research in electrical engineering, 1975-1995 69 3.15 Portion of university research funding provided by the federal government, 1973-1995 70 3.16 Computer science and electrical engineering graduate students supported by the federal government, 1985-1996 71 3.17 Expenditures for research equipment in computer science, 1981-1995 74 3.18 Expenditures for research equipment in electrical engineering, 1981-1995 75 8.1 Simplified state diagram for supervising a telephone line 187 9.1 Artificial-intelligence-related patents awarded per year, 1976-1996 217 9.2 Ph.D. dissertations submitted annually in artificial intelligence and related fields, 1956-1995 220 9.3 Number of Ph.D. dissertations submitted annually in AI and related fields and in computer science, 1956-1995 221
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--> TABLES 1.1 Worldwide Deployment of Computers in 1995 24 1.2 Sales and Employment in the Information Technology Industry, 1996 25 1.3 Historical Improvement in Microprocessors and Memories 26 3.1 Funding for Industrial R&D and Research in Office and Computing Equipment, 1975-1979 61 3.2 Funding for Industrial R&D and Research in Communications Equipment, 1965-1990 62 3.3 Employment, by Sector, for New Ph.D. Recipients in Computer Science and Engineering, 1970-1995 68 3.4 University Expenditures for Computing Equipment, Maintenance, and Operations (in millions of dollars), 1988 72 3.5 National Science Foundation Obligations for Institutional Computing Services (in thousands of dollars) 73 3.6 National Science Foundation Expenditures on the Coordinated Experimental Research and Computing Research Equipment Programs (in millions of dollars), 1977-1985 76 3.7 Authorship and Source of Financial Support for Computer-related Papers Cited in U.S. Patents Granted in 1993-1994 80 4.1 Computing and Related Equipment as a Share of the National Economy 111 4.2 Representative VLSI Technologies and Resulting Commercial Products 118 4.3 Growth in the National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering Directorate Budget (millions of dollars), 1987-1996 127 9.1 Total Federal Funding for Artificial Intelligence Research (in millions of dollars), 1984-1988 215 9.2 Federal Funding for Basic Research in Artificial Intelligence by Agency (in millions of dollars), 1984-1988 215 9.3 Federal Funding for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence by Agency (in millions of dollars), 1984-1988 215 9.4 Leading Holders of Patents Related to Artificial Intelligence, 1976-1997 218 10.1 Select Alumni of the University of Utah's Computer Graphics Program 231
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