EIGHTH ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM ON FRONTIERS OF ENGINEERING
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: This publication has been reviewed according to procedures approved by a National Academy of Engineering report review process. Publication of signed work signifies that it is judged a competent and useful contribution worthy of public consideration, but it does not imply endorsement of conclusions or recommendations by the NAE. The interpretations and conclusions in such publications are those of the authors and do not purport to represent the views of the council, officers, or staff of the National Academy of Engineering.
Funding for the activity that led to this publication was provided by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, U.S. Department of Defense (DDR&E-Research), National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Microsoft Corporation, Ford Motor Company, IBM Corporation, and Cummins, Inc.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
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 M. 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. Wm. 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. Harvey V. Fineberg 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 M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
MICHAEL L. CORRADINI (Chair), Chair,
Engineering Physics Department;
Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics,
University of Wisconsin-Madison
ANN M. BISANTZ, Assistant Professor,
Department of Industrial Engineering, State University of New York at Buffalo
ISAAC CHUANG, Associate Professor,
Media Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PABLO G. DEBENEDETTI, Class of 1950 Professor and Chair,
Department of Chemical Engineering, Princeton University
FREDERIK C. M. KJELDSEN, Research Staff Member,
T.J. Watson Research Center, IBM
HIDEO MABUCHI, Associate Professor,
Department of Physics, California Institute of Technology
KATHRYN A. McCARTHY, Department Manager,
Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory
PER F. PETERSON, Professor and Chair,
Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California at Berkeley
BRIGETTE ROSENDALL, Engineering Specialist,
JANET R. HUNZIKER, Program Officer
MARY W. L. KUTRUFF, Administrative Assistant
LANCE R. TELANDER, Senior Project Assistant
JENNIFER M. HARDESTY, Senior Project Assistant
This volume highlights the papers presented at the Eighth Annual National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. Every year the symposium brings together 100 outstanding young leaders in engineering to share their cutting-edge research and technical work. The 2002 symposium was held September 19–21 at the Beckman Center in Irvine, California. The papers included in this volume are extended summaries of the presentations prepared by the speakers. The intent of this volume, and of the preceding volumes in the series, is to describe the philosophy behind this unique meeting and to highlight some of the exciting developments in engineering today.
GOALS OF THE FRONTIERS OF ENGINEERING PROGRAM
The practice of engineering is changing. Engineers today must be able to adapt and thrive in an environment of rapid technological change and globalization. Engineering is becoming increasingly more interdisciplinary, and the frontiers often occur at intersections between engineering disciplines or at intersections between traditional “science” and engineering disciplines. Thus, both researchers and practitioners must be aware of developments and challenges in areas other than their own.
At the three-day Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, we invite 100 of this country’s best and brightest engineers, ages 30 to 45, to join their peers to learn about cutting-edge developments in engineering. This broad overview of current developments in many fields of engineering often stimulates insights into cross-disciplinary applications. Because the engineers at the symposium work in academia, industry, and government, they can establish contacts with and
learn from people they would probably not meet in the usual round of professional meetings. We hope this networking will lead to collaborative work that facilitates the transfer of new techniques and approaches from one field of engineering to another.
The number of participants at each meeting is kept to 100 to maximize opportunities for interactions and exchanges among the attendees, who have been chosen after a competitive nomination and selection process. The topics and speakers for each meeting are selected by an organizing committee of engineers in the same age group as the participants. Different topics are covered each year, and, with a few exceptions, different individuals are invited to participate.
Each speaker faces a unique challenge—to convey the excitement of his or her field to a technically sophisticated but nonspecialist audience. To meet this challenge, speakers are asked to provide brief overviews of their fields (including a definition of the frontiers of the field); a brief description of current experiments, prototypes, and design studies; a description of new tools and methodologies; identification of limitations on advances and controversies; a brief description of the most exciting results and most difficult challenges of the past few years; and a summary statement of the theoretical, commercial, societal, and long-term significance of the work.
THE 2002 SYMPOSIUM
The presentations this year covered four broad areas: chemical and molecular engineering, human factors engineering, nuclear energy, and quantum information technology. Based on presentations given in the “Chemical and Molecular Engineering in the 21st Century” session, the field of chemical engineering is undergoing an exciting period of growth and transformation. Recent developments include: advances in computational power; the creation of powerful molecular simulation algorithms; advances in product engineering, as well as processes; and the emergence of new research at the interface between chemical engineering and biology. The speakers conveyed the scope of cutting-edge work in chemical and molecular engineering in talks on fuel cells, the computational design of materials, and state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics and its applications in twenty-first century industry. The second session, “Technology for Human Beings,” focused on the field of human factors (HR) and ergonomics, interactions between people and technology. The four talks in this session covered human factors interventions in complex, sociotechnical systems, such as nuclear power plants, the use of HR methods to reduce the number of crashes and driver errors in surface transportation, human-computer interactions in large panel displays, and brain-computer interactions that enable physically limited users to interact with computers. In the third session, “The Future of Nuclear Energy,” speakers described the implications of trends in nuclear technologies
for sustainability, safety, reliability, and economics of future nuclear energy systems. The speakers in this session covered different aspects of the subject: advanced nuclear reactor technologies; the licensing and building of new nuclear infrastructure in the United States; the potential of sustainable nuclear fission energy; and new applications of nuclear energy, specifically, space nuclear power and nuclear energy for microelectromechanical systems. The concluding session, “Engineering Challenges for Quantum Information Technology,” described the great potential and enormous challenges in harnassing the quantum-mechanical behavior of nanoscale physical systems. In talks on quantum cryptography, ion-trap quantum computation, and scalable quantum computing using solid-state devices, the speakers identified the requirements for realizing large-scale quantum computers, when these systems will be available, and how they could be used (see Appendixes for complete program).
It is traditional to invite a distinguished engineer to address the participants at dinner on the first evening of the symposium. This year, Andrew J. Viterbi, president of Viterbi Group and cofounder of Qualcomm, spoke on the development of digital communication and the wireless industry. The full text of Dr. Viterbi’s remarks are included in this volume.
NAE is deeply grateful to the following organizations for their support of the Eighth Annual Symposium on Frontiers of Engineering: Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, U.S. Department of Defense-DDR&E Research, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Microsoft Corporation, Ford Motor Company, IBM Corporation, and Cummins, Inc. NAE would also like to thank the members of the Symposium Organizing Committee (see p. iv), chaired by Michael Corradini, for planning and organizing the event.
Fuel Cells That Run on Common Fuels
Dimension-Dependent Properties of Macromolecules in Nanoscopic Structures
The Role of Computational Fluid Dynamics in Process Industries
The Human Factor
Human Factors Applications in Surface Transportation
Advanced Nuclear Reactor Technologies
Licensing and Building New Nuclear Infrastructure
Sustainable Energy from Nuclear Fission Power
Stretching the Boundaries of Nuclear Technology
Ion-Trap Quantum Computation
The Science, Technology, and Business of Digital Communication