amines federal contributions in the areas of computer science and electrical engineering, which are the most directly relevant. Computer science includes work on the theory of computing; design, development, and application of computer capabilities to data storage and manipulation; information science and systems; programming languages; and systems analysis. Research in electrical engineering includes work in communications, semiconductor technology, and electronic circuits, which is relevant to computing, as well as work in electric power, which is not.2 Data on research funding is categorized according to the National Science Foundation's definitions of basic research, applied research, and development uses. Although the distinctions among these categories are increasingly difficult to make in the computing industry, they reflect the manner in which federal statistics are currently collected (see Chapter 1).3

Federal Research Funding4

Levels of Federal Support

Since the end of World War II, the federal government has been a strong supporter of computing research. Between 1976 and 1995 (the earliest and latest years for which consistent data are available), federal funding for research in computer science increased by a factor of five, from $180 million to $960 million in constant 1995 dollars (Figure 3.1). Growth has occurred in both basic and applied research, with basic research jumping from $65 million to $265 million and applied research rising from $116 million to almost $700 million over the 19-year period. Roughly 35 to 45 percent of total federal research funding for computer science has gone to universities, with industry and government laboratories garnering the remaining 55 to 65 percent; about 70 percent of the basic research funding went to universities during this period.5

In contrast to computer science, federal funding for research in electrical engineering remained essentially flat between 1972 and 1995. From a peak of $1.1 billion (in constant 1995 dollars) in 1972, the real dollar level of federal funding for research in electrical engineering dropped below $800 million in 1976 and, after exceeding the $1 billion mark again in 1987 and 1989, dipped back below $800 million in 1995. Despite the overall decline, obligations for basic research in electrical engineering grew during this time frame, from about $130 million in the 1970s and early 1980s to about $200 million after 1985 (Figure 3.2). As a result, the share of total research funding in electrical engineering going to basic research increased from 12 to 25 percent, and the share of total research funding going to universities rose from 10 to 23 percent.

Federal expenditures on computing research represent just a portion

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