The Honorable Neal Lane
Assistant to the President
Science and Technology
Subcommittee on Basic Research Committee on Science
March 16, 1999
The President specifically focused on information technology (IT) research in his FY2000 R&D budget for three central reasons.
First, information technologies have become key drivers of the economy. During the past five years, these technologies -- which are transforming the way we live, work, and play -- have contributed to one-third of America's economic growth. Our domestic IT industry employs millions of people in high-wage jobs with salaries that are 60% higher than the average private sector salary. The use of computing, information, and communication systems has become pervasive in our economy, driving growth through applications in virtually every sector, from agriculture to manufacturing to financial services.
Second, information technologies are essential for achieving some of our most overarching public goals. From health care to education to protecting our environment, IT brings opportunities for advancing knowledge and developing new tools that improve productivity and quality, and that increase access to important services and information. The effectiveness of national security and law enforcement operations is enhanced by secure communications, surveillance and tracking technologies, and authentication techniques derived from advances in IT. Our national defense system is strengthened through advances in IT, which enable our military to maintain a technological edge. This is increasingly important as high technology weaponry becomes more readily available on the world market. In addition, IT and its applications allow us to vastly accelerate the pace of research and discovery across all scientific fields -- giving scientists powerful new tools to examine challenging science and engineering problems, such as the origin of diseases, precise prediction of the track of hurricanes or tornadoes, the creation of new materials, or the basic structure of matter.
Third, Federal investments in fundamental IT research are essential to provide the reservoir of ideas that will lead to IT innovations in the generations to come. We have an impressive record of returns from Federal investments that have funded advanced information technology research to meet mission needs and provided initial funding to jump start high-risk research. These investments have led to the creation of key technologies among them digital computers, visualization tools, and the Internet itself and have been leveraged to create an array of billion dollar industries in computing and communications. Perhaps even more importantly, Federal research in universities has been responsible for training many of our leading IT researchers and entrepreneurs. Virtually every major U.S. information technology company is headed by someone who was supported directly or indirectly through Federal research dollars when in college or graduate school.
The importance and necessity of a strong and continued Federal role in supporting fundamental IT research has been endorsed by the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC). The PITAC, a group of leading experts from industry and academia, was established through the High Performance Computing Act of 1991 (15 U.S.C. 5501), as amended by the Next Generation Internet Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-305). The Committee recently culminated a year-long review of the Federal Government's support of IT research through the High-Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) program and other programs. The PITAC concluded that, as a nation, we are under-investing in the long-term, fundamental IT research needed to sustain the Information Revolution. They also concluded that it is not feasible for the private sector to assume responsibility for long term, high-risk research, in spite of the success of the information technology industry. They further stated:
We believe that the Federal Government must retain
and expand its role in leading long-term fundamental research in information
technology. Advanced Government services and national security depend on
it. The benefits to our Nation and society will be huge. A loss of
international leadership in information technology would be economically
devastating. We cannot rely on industry to fund the needed research
because they necessarily focus, in view of economic realities, on the short
term. Industry cannot and will not invest in solving problems of
importance to society as a whole unless such investments make sense from a
The President's Information Technology for the Twenty-First Century (IT2) initiative is a direct response to the PITAC's recommendation for increased Federal support of fundamental, long-term IT research. The initiative also reflects a strong belief in the research community about the potential of IT to accelerate the pace of discovery in all science and engineering disciplines.
IT2 will provide a $366 million, 28% increase, in Federal funding for IT research in FY2000 budget. Building on a strong history of Federally-funded, multi-agency research programs, the initiative will build on important research conducted in ongoing programs -- such as HPCC, including the Next Generation Internet (NGI), and the Department of Energy's (DOE) Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) -- and fund expansions into entirely new areas. (The combined HPCC/NGI and ASCI programs constitute the base Federal IT funding of $1.5 billion, as described in the President's FY2000 budget, that will be leveraged by the IT2 initiative.) The new investments under IT2 will provide a critical first step towards developing a stronger, more balanced portfolio of Federal investments for IT research, as recommended by the PITAC. Ideally, additional incremental investments would be needed over the next five years to adequately remedy the under-investments cited by the PITAC. However, until the funding issues surrounding Social Security, Medicare and the budget surplus are resolved, the picture for the outyears of the IT2 initiative remains uncertain.
The six agencies proposed for funding in the FY2000 budget are:
All are participants in the current multi-agency research programs that will complement or be leveraged by the IT2.
The IT2 initiative is comprised of three elements:
First, following the strong advice of the PITAC, about two-thirds of the new funding ($228 million) will support long-term fundamental research aimed at fundamental advances in computing and communications. The proposed research includes new areas of emphasis such as software engineering, systems protected against accidental failures or intentional intrusion, autonomous controls, and basic mathematical methods. Research topics in this area include new tools for visualizing complex data, language translation, devices for ensuring information access to people with physical disabilities, and intelligent data searching. New activities will also support very high-risk, long-term research on concepts such as quantum computing and DNA computing.
Long-term, fundamental research funded through IT2 will also expand ongoing HPCC support for Large Scale Networking research, including the Administration's Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative; High-End Computing and Computation; R&D in High-Confidence Systems, which addresses information security, survivability and assurance technologies; and Human Centered Systems research on improving usability of computer technologies. For example, advanced networking research, which currently includes NGI, experiments on relatively small, high-speed networks, while new research will focus on very large and complex networks that may someday link billions of separate elements -- some mobile, some stationery, some that enter and leave the network continuously. The problems of designing such immense, "deeply networked" systems add a range of problems not included in the original NGI program.
The second element of IT2 is support for advanced computing infrastructure as a tool to facilitate important scientific and engineering discoveries of national interest. We propose new funding of $123 million to provide to the civilian research community a network of computers approaching the ASCI program in power and the associated support services needed to apply these new tools to real problems such as climate change. This computing infrastructure will give research teams throughout the U.S. substantial new abilities to attack problems in biochemistry, materials, climate change, and many of the fundamental riddles of science. The resulting supercomputing infrastructure will be orders of magnitude more powerful than that currently available to the civilian science community. This effort will involve the creation of new computer architectures, operating systems, and data management capabilities.
To ensure that this new infrastructure enhances the high end computing infrastructure available for civilian research and advances the state-of-the-art in high end computing, this IT2 element requires will leverage the activities associated with our two existing large-scale computing infrastructure programs, the DOE's ASCI and the Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) at NSF. Coordination will be assured within these two lead agencies through a policy coordination subcommittee (DOE) or joint program management responsibilities (NSF). Across agencies, coordination is assured through two HPCC program elements, High-End Computing and Computation and Large Scale Networking. These coordinated programs support basic research and infrastructure for developing civilian supercomputing and networking facilities at NSF (including PACI), DOE, NASA, NOAA, NIH and other Federal agencies. The HPCC's High-End Computing and Computation also enjoys collaboration with ASCI.
Third, $15 million in new funding will greatly
expand research into social, economic, and workforce impacts of information
technology, including transformation of social institutions, impact of
legislation and regulation, electronic commerce, barriers to information
technology diffusion, and effective use of technology in education. This
element will emphasize finding ways to ensure that all Americans have the
education they need to take advantage of large numbers of high-wage jobs
created in the new economy. The new research will leverage the HPCC's
Education, Training and Human Resources program element, which develops
computing and communications technologies for education, training and life-long
The proposed budget for the initiative, by agency and
program element, is as follows:
Agency Fundamental Information Technology Research Advanced Computing for Science, Engineering, and the Nation Social, Economic, and Workforce Implications of Information Technology
Integrated management of the IT2 along with related base research programs is essential. This will ensure the best leverage of Federal investments in complementary information technology research programs and avoid duplication of efforts, thereby enhancing the strength and balance of the national IT research portfolio. To achieve these objectives, the IT2 initiative will be coordinated within the framework of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) as part of an integrated program that incorporates related ongoing Federal information technology R&D programs. This integrated management will build on the established and successful coordination structure of ongoing multi-agency programs such as the HPCC and NGI. A senior NSTC management team will provide policy guidance and leadership for the initiative. An operational working group which includes members with ties to HPCC and ASCI is developing the initial IT2 research agenda, with support from the National Coordination Office (NCO) for Computing, Information and Communications R&D, which assures coordination of the base HPCC and NGI programs. That working group also will assure the transition to integrated coordination of IT2 with the ongoing HPCC and NGI programs.
In addition to strong interagency coordination, management and implementation of IT2 will be based on the principles of open competition and peer review. Research partnerships, expedition centers, and research grants will be managed within existing agency authority. The agencies will be responsible for ensuring that all research funded will be subject to careful external peer review, where not prohibited by law. Agencies also will ensure that research is managed in ways most likely to both produce important research results and train the students who will be key to ensuring that innovation in information technology. Agencies will choose which projects to fund based on a competitive process.
For the advanced computing infrastructure, DoE and NSF will work together to prepare for the construction and operation of the computer facilities. Agencies will choose which facilities and applications to fund based on a competitive process. Our goal will be to obtain the best possible facilities for the investment and to ensure that they are built and operated in a way that contributes to the training of students and faculty. Once built, the facilities will be available to the broad research community.
As has been noted previously, this IT2 element will be closely coordinated with the DOE's ASCI program, which for the first time in FY2000 was reported with major programs in HPCC. This new accounting, plus the expansions and new research proposed under the IT2, make fiscal year 2000 an important transition year in the Federal Government's portfolio for IT research. Although the President's FY2000 budget highlights the major new areas of emphasis that comprise the IT2 initiative, in future years, the Administration will report base programs and the IT2 initiative as an integrated whole. This action also is responsive to a PITAC recommendation that major elements of the Government's high-end computing investments be included when reporting computing R&D expenditures.
In conclusion, we believe that the program of IT research proposed by our multi-agency team in this initiative will pay-off handsomely in the nation's future. In crafting this plan, we have listened closely to the advice from business, higher education, public interest groups, and the Congress. We've closely examined our existing programs to determine how we could leverage them to get the best returns from our new investments. The result is the IT2 initiative that we are presenting to you today, a balanced, focused, and far-sighted program of exciting research work. The PITAC has worked diligently with us in this process, and I am particularly grateful to chair Ken Kennedy of Rice University, who is testifying here today, his co-chair Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems, and their able committee members. We are looking forward to working on a solid bipartisan basis with the Congress in the coming months to bring this initiative to fruition. Such a partnership to stimulate scientific discovery and new technologies will take America into the new century well equipped for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
This initiative responds to a wake-up call from the Congressionally-chartered President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, or PITAC. Dr. Ken Kennedy, the PITAC co-chair, will testify directly about PITAC's findings. I would like to say, though, that the Administration heard PITAC, and we developed this initiative to advance the knowledge base in information technology and to train the next generation of researchers who will sustain the Information Revolution well into the 21st Century.
IT is so important that we are proposing new Federal R&D investments of $366 million in FY2000 -- a 28% increase above and beyond our ongoing research programs. To develop this initiative, we worked with the agencies to examine the existing information technology research programs programs such as High Performance Computing and Communications, or HPCC, which includes the Next Generation Internet, and the Department of Energy's Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative, or ASCI -- to determine how we could leverage them to get the best returns from new investments responsive to the PITAC recommendations.
We decided to make these new investments in three major areas:
First, about two-thirds of the new funding ($228 million) will support long-term fundamental research aimed at fundamental advances in computing and communications.
The second element is $123 million to support advanced computing infrastructure as a tool to facilitate important scientific and engineering discoveries of national interest. The resulting supercomputing infrastructure will be on par with the capabilities of infrastructure developed by the DOE's ASCI program, which is orders of magnitude more powerful than that currently available to the civilian science community.
Third, $15 million in new funding will greatly expand research into social, economic, and workforce impacts of information technology, including transformation of social institutions, impact of legislation and regulation, electronic commerce, barriers to information technology diffusion, and effective use of technology in education. This element will emphasize finding ways to ensure that all Americans have the education they need to take advantage of large numbers of high-wage jobs created in the new economy.
One area that highlights the importance of these three areas is our ongoing work on the human genome. By providing fundamental advances in computing, and computing infrastructure, the initiative will allow progression from sequencing of the human genome to designs of new drugs. It will also enhance our ability to address the important social issues that are raised by these breakthrough discoveries, such as genetic privacy.
The initiative will be coordinated through the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), building on the established and successful coordination structure for the HPCC and NGI. An interagency working group chaired by the NSF Associate Director for Computing and Information Science Engineering is developing the implementation plans and assuring the transition to integrated management with the ongoing HPCC and NGI programs. The working group is supported by the National Coordination Office which coordinates our ongoing HPCC and NGI programs. Although the President's FY2000 budget highlights the major areas of emphasis that comprise the new initiative, in future years, the Administration will report ongoing programs HPCC, NGI, ASCI -- and the new initiative as an integrated whole.
Management and implementation of the initiative will be based on the principles of open competition and peer review. The agencies will be responsible for ensuring that all research funded will be subject to careful external peer review. Agencies will choose which projects, facilities, and applications to fund based on a competitive process. Our goals are to ensure that research opportunities and facilities will be available to the broad research community and will contribute to the training of students and faculty.
We believe the research proposed by our multi-agency team will pay large dividends to the nation. In crafting this plan, we have listened closely to the advice from business, higher education, public interest groups, and the Congress. The result is a balanced, focused, and far-sighted program of exciting research work that is receiving endorsements from throughout the research community and industry. PITAC has worked diligently with us in this process, and I am particularly grateful to Dr. Kennedy, his co-chair Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems, and their able committee members. We are looking forward to working on a solid bipartisan basis with the Congress in the coming months to bring this initiative to fruition. Such a partnership to stimulate scientific discovery and new technologies will take America into the new century well-equipped for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
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