National Academies Press: OpenBook

The Future of Supercomputing: An Interim Report (2003)

Chapter: What Is CSTB?

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Suggested Citation:"What Is CSTB?." National Research Council. 2003. The Future of Supercomputing: An Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10784.
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Page 46

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What Is CSTB? As a part of the National Research Council, the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) was established in 1986 to provide independent advice to the federal government on technical and public policy issues relating to computing and communications. Composed of leaders from industry and academia, CSTB conducts studies of critical national issues and makes recommendations to government, industry, and academia. CSTB also provides a neutral meeting ground for consideration of complex issues where resolution and action may be premature. It convenes discussions that bring together principals from the public and private sectors, assuring consideration of key perspectives. The majority of CSTB's work is requested by federal agencies and Congress, consistent with its National Academies context. A pioneer in framing and analyzing Internet policy issues, CSTB is unique in its comprehensive scope and its effective, interdisciplinary appraisal of technical, economic, social, and policy issues. Beginning with early work in computer and communications security, cyber-assurance and information systems trustworthiness have been a cross-cutting theme in CSTB's work. CSTB has produced several reports known as classics in the field, and it continues to address these topics as they grow in importance. To do its work, CSTB draws on some of the best minds in the country and from around the world, inviting experts to participate in its projects as a public service. Studies are conducted by balanced committees without direct financial interests in the topics they are addressing. Those committees meet, confer electronically, and build analyses through their deliberations. Additional expertise is tapped in a rigorous process of review and critique, further enhancing the quality of CSTB reports. By engaging groups of principals, CSTB gets the facts and insights critical to assessing key issues. The mission of CSTB is to . Respond to requests from the government, nonprofit organizations, and private industry for advice on computer and telecommunications issues and from the government for advice on computer and telecommunications systems planning, utilization, and modernization; · Monitor andpromote the hea1/tth of the fie1/~ds of computer science and telecommunications, with attention to issues of human resources, information infrastructure, and societal impacts; Initiate and conduct studies involving computer science, technology, and telecommunications as critical resources; and · Foster interaction among the disciplines underlying computing and telecommunications technologies and other fields, at large and within the National Academies. CSTB projects address a diverse range of topics affected by the evolution of information technology. Recently completed reports include Cybersecurity Today and Tomorrow: Pay Now or Pay Later; Youth, Pornography, and the Internet; Broadband: Bringing Home the Bits; The Digita1/t Di1/temma: Inte1/~1/tectua1/t Property in the Information Age; IDs Not That Easy: Questions About Nationwide Identity Systems; The Internet Under Crisis Conditions: Learning from September 11; and ITRoadmap to a Geospatia1/t Future. For further information about CSTB reports and active projects, see <http://cstb.org>. 46

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The Committee on the Future of Supercomputing was tasked to assess prospects for supercomputing technology research and development in support of U.S. needs, to examine key elements of context--the history of supercomputing, the erosion of research investment, the changing nature of problems demanding supercomputing, and the needs of government agencies for supercomputing capabilities--and to assess options for progress. This interim report establishes context--including the history and current state of supercomputing, application requirements, technology evolution, the socioeconomic context--to identify some of the issues that may be explored in more depth in the second phase of the study.

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