investment beginning in the 1960s led to today's Internet” (PITAC, 1999). The initiative is to be coordinated jointly with the HPCC programs and the NGI initiative. The Clinton Administration proposed an additional $605 million in IT R&D funding in its FY01 budget to support research in priority areas, such as infrastructure for advanced computational modeling and simulation; storing, managing, and preserving data; security and privacy of information; ubiquitous computing and wireless networks; intelligent machines and networks of robots; more reliable software; broadband optical networks; and future generations of computers. It will also support partnerships to pursue research breakthroughs in particular application areas, such as health care and education (White House, 2000).

Six federal agencies are participating in the IT2 initiative: DOD, DOE, NASA, NIH, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NSF. Each has developed new programs or expanded existing ones to meet the objectives of IT2. Some of these programs will address elements of large-scale systems and social applications of IT, but not to the full extent needed (see Chapter 3 and Chapter 4). Although it is too soon to evaluate these efforts, early indicators point to some practical challenges. The largest federal supporter of computing research, DARPA, attempted to jump-start its efforts to promote path-breaking IT research by issuing a broad agency announcement (BAA) in late 1998 (immediately after PITAC released a draft version of its report) calling for “radically new visions” of the future of information technology (Box 2.1). Anecdotal reports suggest that the results were disappointing to DARPA, perhaps because the research community was uncertain about the new effort. Nevertheless, several projects were funded as a result of this announcement, including Project Oxygen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Laboratory for Computer Science;10 the Endeavor expedition at the University of California at Berkeley; 11 Portolano/ Workscape at the University of Washington;12 and another expedition at Carnegie Mellon University. Each of these is exploring different aspects of the post-PC era in which computing will be embedded into a range of information devices.13

In late 1999, NSF issued a solicitation for proposals under its agency-wide Information Technology Research (ITR) program, which called for research in eight areas related to IT: software, IT education and workforce, human-computer interfaces, information management, advanced computational science, scalable information infrastructure, social and economic implications of computing and communications, and revolutionary computing (NSF, 1999). Awards are anticipated in September 2000, but anecdotal reports on this effort point to the stresses on NSF program management caused by a large influx of researcher communications (e.g., letters of intent, preproposals, and proposals) that need to be evaluated

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement