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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Research Council. 2007. An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Information Technology Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2007. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12012.
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Summary The Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been assessed by a panel of experts appointed by the National Research Council (NRC). The panel visited the six divisions of the Laboratory and reviewed their activities. The scope of the assessment included the following four criteria: (1) the degree to which the laboratory addressed national priorities; (2) the degree to which the programs were well motivated with respect to goals, innovation, definition of success, impact, dissemination to end user, and cost and timelines; (3) the technical merit of the programs; and (4) the adequacy of the facilities, equipment, and human resources. Based on its assessment using these four criteria, the panel found that 1. Work at ITL is generally at or near the top of the peer group of information technology (IT) research activities at national laboratories. 2. ITL has activities that solve important problems for other NIST laboratories and other federal agencies, as well as activities that support industrial standards in IT. 3. The new “matrix” organization of crosscutting projects offers great opportunities but also poses serious risks. 4. ITL is likely to experience significant growth over the next 5 years, and it is necessary to plan for this growth carefully, including directions that will involve new kinds of scientists. 5. Of the existing activities, the Statistical Engineering Division is most in need of immediate enhancement of its capabilities. 6. ITL is experiencing problems securing funding to pay high-caliber IT professionals as well as professionals in scientific areas that are not traditional for NIST. 7. There are problems with the interaction between mandated or desirable research activities and the standard computer-security policies that are widely respected at NIST and similar organizations. 1

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