raised fears in Congress and the country that the Soviets had forged ahead of the United States in advanced technology. In response, the U.S. Department of Defense, pressured by the Eisenhower administration, established the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA) to fund technological projects with military implications. In 1962 DARPA) created the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO), whose initial research agenda gave priority to further development of computers for command-and-control systems.
With the passage of time, new organizations have emerged, and old ones have often been reformed or reinvented to respond to new national imperatives and counter bureaucratic trends. DARPA's IPTO has transformed itself several times to bring greater coherence to its research efforts and to respond to technological developments. NSF in 1967 established the Office of Computing Activities and in 1986 formed the Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering (CISE) Directorate to couple and coordinate support for research, education, and infrastructure in computer science. In the 1980s NSF, which customarily has focused on basic research in universities, also began to encourage joint academic-industrial research centers through its Engineering Research Centers program. With the relative increase in industrial support of research and development in recent years, federal agencies such as NSF have rationalized their funding policies to complement short-term industrial R&D. Federal funding of long-term, high-risk initiatives continues to have a high priority.
As this history suggests, federal funding agencies will need to continue to adjust their strategies and tactics as national needs and imperatives change. The Cold War imperative shaped technological history during much of the last half-century. International competitiveness served as a driver of government funding of computing and communications during the late 1980s and early 1990s. With the end of the Cold War and the globalization of industry, the U.S. computing industries need to maintain their high rates of innovation, and federal structures for managing computing research may need to change to ensure that they are appropriate for this new environment.
As this report demonstrates, the federal government has played a significant role in the development of the computing industry. Although difficult to quantify precisely, the returns from federal investments in computing and communications have been tremendous. Many of the leading concepts being exploited today—from virtual reality to the Internet—derive from research funded by federal agencies. As the industry has grown, the role of the government has evolved, but it has re-