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Presentation of Discussions in Breakout Sessions INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES Ray Kammer, National Institute of Standards and Technology Department of Commerce Mr. Kammer began his summary by noting that the breakout sessions on information technology included three subgroups that focused on electronic com- merce, cross-lingual information management, and Next-Generation Internet (NGI). Electronic Commerce Mr. Kammer said that the group posed a general question to frame its elec- tronic commerce (e-commerce) discussion: What characteristics must e-com- merce have to continue its rapid growth? In response the group generally agreed that e-commerce must be easy to use, trusted by users, and interoperable that is, different computer systems for supporting e-commerce must be able to communi- cate with one another. The group defined e-commerce as any communication between businesses, between businesses and consumers, or between government and businesses and consumers that is, as part of a potential or consummated economic transaction. Mr. Kammer noted that these are two-way channels in that information flows from consumers to businesses as well as from businesses to consumers. The group developed a list of potential areas for collaboration, including trust systems to ensure privacy; meta-language models; intelligent agents, soft 42
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PRESENTATIONS OF DISCUSSIONS IN BREAKOUT SESSIONS 43 ware programs that automatically and independently undertake certain actions (e.g., searching a database) based on a user's preferences; hardware and software interfaces; human interfaces; virtual organizations (i.e., disseminating best prac- tices on business models for e-commerce); individual applications; issues with respect to data overload; government-citizen communication; interoperability; and infrastructure. In addition, the group outlined the next steps to be taken for encouraging collaboration: · Hold a United States-European Union (U.S.-EU) workshop on best prac- tices in e-commerce. Identify U.S. and EU competitions for funding so that joint projects can be undertaken that complement the strengths both sides bring to e-com merce. Try to ensure that cooperation moves quickly to specific projects and not be content with generalities about the virtues of cooperation and the need to do more of it. · Provide both the United States and the European Union with rules for creating proposals (the group recognizes, however, that such rules may not yet exist). Cross-Lingual Information Management Mr. Kammer described the two motivations for transatlantic cooperation in cross-lingual information management and communications: (1) removing both people-to-people language barriers and people-to-data language barriers and (2) building on complementary efforts of both the United States and the European Union. The group identified the following goals for collaboration on cross- lingual information management: to provide for more rapid international progress, to develop standards and promote interoperability, to increase resource sharing and integration, to create a network of data centers, to bring together user- centered and technology-based evaluations, and to develop reference architec tures. The group's proposals for possible future transatlantic collaboration included developing common resources, resource development tools, cooperative plans for reference architectures, and joint evaluation efforts. The group also devel- oped a list of applications for cross-lingual information management. Mr. Kammer noted that the list was illustrative rather than exhaustive: education, environmental data sharing, international digital libraries, and e-commerce. Next-Generation Internet Mr. Kammer said that the NGI group identified two large challenges: the interconnection of high-speed networks and the development of test beds. The
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44 NEW VISTAS IN T~NSAT~IC SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COOPE~TION group also focused on possible applications of NGI technology: laboratory col- laboration, meta-computing, and development of test beds. The group believed that specifying measures of success ahead of time would be important to the success of U.S.-EU collaboration on NGI. Measures of success mentioned in- cluded participation of individual researchers; a "high-technology" impact, that is, technological breakthroughs from U.S.-EU collaboration; and creation of eco- nomic value. The NGI group also identified the following areas as possibilities for R&D collaboration: network dependability, network security, wireless technologies, portability, quality of service, scalability, middleware, and social impacts of e- commerce. Finally, the NGI group' s next steps were similar to those of the other two groups: to define more precisely the process for collaboration and to choose specific projects for collaboration. TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY John C. Horsely, Department of Transportation Before beginning his summary of the transportation breakout sessions, Mr. Horsely, on behalf of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and Deputy Secre- tary Mortimer Downey, thanked the Board on Science, Technology, and Eco- nomic Policy and the Academy for convening the conference. He also thanked Wilhelmus Blonk of Directorate General VII of the European Commission for attending the discussion during the breakout sessions. The breakout sessions covered three areas: intermodal transportation, intelli- gent transportation systems, and strategic enabling research. In general, Mr. Horsely stated that transportation is an important research topic on both sides of the Atlantic because it is such a pervasive part of economic and social life. An important goal of transportation research is to promote sustainable and competi- tive growth. Sustainable growth is an important concept for many economic ac- tivities in today's world, and transportation research must be brought into the concept of sustainable development. Turning more directly to the breakout discussions, Mr. Horsely said that the need to "decouple the growth of traffic from the growth of the economy" was a pervasive theme emerging from the transportation breakout sessions. Traffic is growing rapidly in the United States and Europe, and eventually traffic conges- tion will inhibit economic growth. The transportation research agenda could there- fore be very productively turned toward traffic congestion. In general, this means the application of information and other advanced technologies to transportation problems. Mr. Horsely reported that the breakout sessions also suggested exami- nation of institutional barriers to implementing more efficient transportation sys- tems in the United States and Europe.
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PRESENTATIONS OF DISCUSSIONS IN BREAKOUT SESSIONS Intelligent Transportation Systems 45 With respect to surface transportation, an important goal of transportation research over the past 10 years, which participants said should continue, is to inject information and communications technologies into all facets of the trans- portation system roads, cars, buses, and rail. An example is the electronic toll- booth, by which a sensor at a tollbooth reads an electronic debit card installed on the car. The ultimate goal is to increase traffic flow, or throughput. In the United States it is estimated that throughput and associated efficiencies could increase by 15 to 25 percent through the use of intelligent transportation systems. The group discussed some of the technical issues involved with intelligent transportation. These include network architectures, standardization, and inter- operability. Further research would have to be done on individual applications, Mr. Horsely continued, including rail and freight transit and the human factors involved with intelligent transportation. Maritime safety is another fruitful area for intelligent transportation systems, Mr. Horsely said. Applications in maritime safety include automatic ship-to-ship identification. Using the Global Positioning System, ships could instantly com- municate speed, position, and conditions to other ships and to officials on shore. Such systems could help avoid collisions and spills of hazardous cargo, such as oil. As in other intelligent transportation areas, development of standards and common architectures remains a challenge to implementation. Strategic Enabling Research The discussion also touched on areas where common work between the United States and the European Union is possible. Areas in which "mutual ex- ploitation" seems promising include logistics; monitoring and data collection; developing tools for forecasting demand; and human factors, such as training, workplace issues, and machine-human interfaces. Areas in which "mutual explo- ration" seems worthwhile are intelligent logistic systems, sustainability and air quality, operator fatigue, and advanced materials. Intermodalism Mr. Horsely said that the U.S. Congress has recently urged the Department of Transportation to explore further intermodal issues. With the goal of improved productivity increasingly driving business today, companies are looking for ways to shorten the supply chain. The supply chain was once two weeks long, Mr. Horsely noted, but that has now been shortened to two days or less in many businesses. Using transportation wisely, and choosing the right modes, could con- tribute to easing congestion and getting products to customers quickly. Transat- lantic cooperation could explore the intermodal challenges in urban areas, includ
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46 NEW VISTAS IN T^NSAT~IC SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION ing how to apply information technologies to logistical issues across transporta- tion modes. In summarizing intermodal challenges, Mr. Horsely reiterated the shared goal of decoupling growth in traffic from growth of the economy. As a next step he said that the transportation breakout groups recommend convening a workshop on institutional impediments to promoting intermodal efficiencies. Such a work- shop could encourage participants to develop ways to use the right equipment to ship the right commodities to the right destination on time. CLIMATE PREDICTION, FORECASTING APPLICATIONS, AND IMPACTS John Krebs, National Environmental Research Council Dr. Krebs opened his summary by saying that the climate group decided to focus its discussion on climate research. This area is important for countries worldwide: climate research is changing rapidly as more data are collected and analyzed and as our understanding of climate advances. Dr. Krebs noted in par- ticular how improved computing power is improving researchers' ability to simu- late climate. In sounding a cautionary note on U.S.-EU collaboration, Dr. Krebs stated that the international climate research community is already very well connected. There are a number of umbrella programs to coordinate research, although not to provide research funding. Such programs include the International Council of Scientific Unions, the International Geosphere/Biosphere Program, the World Climate Research Program, and the International Human Dimensions Program. Given the existence of these programs, any collaboration between the United States and the European Union should coordinate closely with the broader inter- national initiatives. Research Priorities The climate group's first topic of discussion was U.S. priorities for climate research. Bob Corell of the National Science Foundation presented a summary of a report from the National Research Council called "Overview of Climate Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade." The group then heard a summary of the European Union's Fifth Framework Programme on climate change. The good news, said Dr. Krebs, is that the priorities reflected in these documents are very similar. This is not surprising because the international research agenda on climate changes is well understood and coordinated. In the context of existing international ties and coordination, any new cli- mate change research mechanism must be "more convenient than existing mecha- nisms if it is to work." For example, what would be unlikely to work is any
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PRESENTATIONS OF DISCUSSIONS IN BREAKOUT SESSIONS 47 mechanism that involves "double jeopardy," that is, one in which researchers must first clear hurdles in the United States and then clear similar hurdles in Brussels to obtain funding. Existing channels for international funding are avail- able, with fewer burdens in the application process. With the review of existing programs in hand, Dr. Krebs discussed the five areas in which joint U.S.-EU activity could add value to climate research. Terrestrial Environment The Kyoto Protocol requires that all signatory countries develop a carbon budget to understand where carbon comes from and where it goes. Understanding the terrestrial environment and carbon sink (i.e., how vegetation assimilates car- bon) is important to developing carbon budgets. There are parallel and separate research programs in the United States and Europe. The climate group, reported Dr. Krebs, suggested that U.S. and EU programs be linked. Predictability Dr. Krebs pointed out the limits to predicting changes in climate that cur- rently exist. In the short term it is accepted that forecasts are not reliable beyond 10 days. In the long term, climate researchers are confident about broad climate prediction in 50- or 100-year intervals. The fundamental theoretical question is: What are the limits of predictability on short- and long-term climate forecasts? That is, can we become more confident about short-term forecasts beyond 10 days? Can we predict broad climatic changes inside of 50 years? Another ques- tion raised by the group is: How exact must climate predictions be? Research should explore the gains that result from more exact predictions (in terms of benefits from actions to mitigate climate calamities versus costs of developing more exact models). All of these research questions can benefit from joint U.S.- EU research. Comparison of Model and Impact Forecasts The United States and several European countries (i.e., the United Kingdom, Germany, and France) have sophisticated models, and these models' performance should be compared. Currently, such comparisons do not occur. U.S. National Impact Assessment Program The United States has developed an assessment program to explore how cli- mate change may affect specific U.S. regions. A number of European countries have national assessment efforts but have not broken down the assessments to
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48 NEW VISTAS IN TRANSATLANTIC SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION regional levels. Acknowledging that the United States may be ahead in this area, the group suggested that the EU could learn from U.S. regional modeling efforts. North Atlantic Oscillation In Europe the North Atlantic greatly affects climate, in addition to changes in the mean temperature of the earth. Decade-to-decade changes in European cli- mate appear to be affected by changes in atmospheric pressure between Iceland and the Mediterranean. More research is needed to understand the cause of the oscillation phenomenon in the North Atlantic. The issue is important to the cli- mate of Europe and North America. In closing Dr. Krebs mentioned two issues the group was unable to discuss but that are important nonetheless: (1) how to obtain data on areas of the world with small scientific communities (climate change is a truly global issue, and the United States and the European Union, with about 75 percent of the world's re- search and development spending, should pay attention to other areas of the world that do not have the resources for such research) and (2) research should consider the link between technologies that may provide a solution for climate change and the science of climate change itself. Looking toward the future, Dr. Krebs said that the United States and the European Union should further develop the list of areas in which collaboration could be fruitful. He noted that the climate group did not include representatives from industry or polar science (i.e., how climate change would affect the polar caps). Dr. Krebs concluded that broadening the discussion to include these constituencies would aid in refining the list. HUMAN ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES: ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS Paul Foster, Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology Dr. Foster began his summary by saying that the group's discussion focused on endocrine disrupters, that some consider to be a growing human health risk.) To briefly describe the endocrine disrupters issue, Dr. Foster said that there is a genuine and growing concern that chemicals released into the environment are having a serious impact on humans, wildlife, and vegetation. That is, chemicals are acting like hormones or affecting how hormones work. Dr. Foster said that there has been a great deal of research on endocrine disrupters in the past three years, so the breakout group was not starting from ground zero. His group wants to build on existing work and try to build bridges iViews on this topic and especially the assessment of the risk vary a great deal. The National Research Council has undertaken a study on this topic, entitled Hormonally Active Agents in the Environment.
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PRESENTATIONS OF DISCUSSIONS IN BREAKOUT SESSIONS 49 across the Atlantic on endocrine disrupter research. As a first step, Dr. Foster said the group identified the following key issues in which collaboration may be fruit- ful: · Building a common language. Despite the recent work on endocrine disrupters, there is no universal agreement on what an endocrine disrupter is. There are different definitions within EU member states and in the United States. U.S.-EU collaboration could help build a common language for endocrine dis-ruptors research. · The biology of endocrine disrupters. The scientific community must deepen its understanding of biology to better understand endocrine disrupters. We do not fully understand what is normal in living organ- isms, so it is difficult to determine what is abnormal. This issue is espe- cially important with respect to reproduction and early childhood devel opment. · Improve understanding of the impact of hormones on disease. Scientists must make more progress in understanding how hormones or hormone- like agents affect disease. If we better understand this, scientists can test and screen for chemical agents. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists over 70,000 chemicals, it is important to know which chemicals to test. This area would be a prime candidate for collaboration because common protocols are needed, testing methodologies must be validated, harmonization must occur, and international trials must be co- ordinated. Also, to ensure that comparisons of different test results in a region are valid, scientists must use the same testing methods in the same part of the world. Risk assessment. The United States and the European Union would ben- efit from collaboration on risk assessment for example, determining the frequency of occurrence of compound X and the magnitude of its harm. Classification and labeling. This is a potentially thorny issue as it requires agreement on whether risk is communicated to citizens or some notion of intrinsic hazard. Most labeling in Europe is hazard based, whereas the scientific perspective would have a preference for risk-based labeling. Exposed populations. If we know what the effects of a chemical are and the risks associated with exposure, it is equally important to know the extent of exposure among key populations (i.e., humans, wildlife, vegeta- tion). Knowing the exposed population, along with affects of chemicals, could allow scientists to make cause-and-effect claims about the presence of chemicals among certain populations. Exposure assessment. As noted above, the EPA lists over 70,000 chemi- cals, and the general population is not exposed to all equally. U.S.-EU collaboration could be particularly helpful in determining the level and frequency of exposure to certain chemicals.
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50 NEW VISTAS IN T^NSAT~NTIC SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION . Technologies for remediation. If it is established that a certain chemical creates risk, what should be done? Banning a chemical may be problem- atic given the pervasiveness of certain chemicals in society. There is al- ready a large body of research in this area, and U.S.-EU collaboration could develop a global inventory of available research on technologies for remediation. Scientists must do more than just communicate the content of their research; they must also provide information such as the size and scope of their research so as to bring the right expertise together world- wide. Dr. Foster noted one model of how to evaluate data from such stud- ies, namely, the U.S. National Institute for Environmental Health Sci- ences. This institute brings together experts to evaluate studies on reproductive health. Dr. Foster concluded his presentation with the following observations: Funding mechanisms. The research community must know the procedures for obtaining funds. As noted in another breakout session, scientists will not seek funds from a source if the procedures are too difficult. Collaboration. A panel of experts could usefully be convened to fully describe the opportunities for collaboration and to be responsive to the Fifth Framework Programme that gets under way in 1999. The breakout session only touched on possible areas for collaboration, and specific pro- posals must be developed to realize collaboration. · Trade issues. One breakout participant noted that endocrine disrupters involve chemical management, and when governments try to manage chemicals they have the potential to affect trade.
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