Civilian Research and Development Foundation Symposium


Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify today. I believe the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act shows that our dialogue on the important field of information technology research over the past year has been productive and bipartisan. We are making progress.

When I testified in October, Congressman Pickering asked me to “show him the money.” In February the President presented his FY 2000 R&D budget which included a $366 million increment for the Information Technology Initiative. In Rep. Pickering’s words, we showed you the money, and we increased the federal investment in information technology R&D by roughly 28% in a very constrained overall balanced budget.

In March, the Subcommittee asked for a plan that would ensure the taxpayers get the best possible rate of return on information technology investments.

You have since received an implementation plan that shows:

I now believe the Administration and your Committee are very close to agreement on an Information Technology Plan to lead us into the 21st Century.

In the spirit of continuing our dialogue, my testimony will cover some areas where we believe H.R. 2086 could be improved, but I am confident we can rapidly reach agreement in areas where we differ.

We’ve drawn on the unique strengths of many different agencies working in concert to build U.S. leadership in information technology. Clearly, this integrated multiagency program should continue. The Administration believes that the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health, should be included in your legislation. DOD, DARPA in particular, has played a central role in developing the Internet and supporting fundamental advances in computing / and the defense agencies continue to be a vital part of the Federal IT R&D program. Progress in biomedical research at NIH increasingly depends on advances in computing, a point stressed by an independent advisory committee report to NIH.

We want to work with you to develop support for ensuring these agencies receive support for information technology-related research, and that their efforts are integrated into a national plan. The bill should explicitly authorize the ongoing interagency coordination initiated under the original HPC Act, and should authorize the agencies to coordinate in the new areas of research proposed in the bill.

The Administration is also very concerned that H.R. 2086 provides insufficient levels of funding for DOE’s support of new programs in terascale computing infrastructure and for other information technology research in DOE. We share your conviction that our civilian research community needs greater access to state-of-the art computers and the unique expertise needed to employ them in solving research problems in areas such as material science, microelectronics, climate modeling, and combustion. Over the past year DOE and NSF have worked together to develop an implementation plan that would provide complementary terascale computing facilities to the nation’s science and engineering communities.

DOE has extensive experience and technical capabilities in managing the acquisition and operation of large, complex user facilities where much of the research of our university faculty and their students are carried out. It has a history of making first-of-a-kind computer facilities available to the research community. It has experience in managing large multidisciplinary scientific and engineering teams focused on solutions to critical national problems.

We can only achieve our shared vision of providing enhanced computational capabilities and research tools to our nation’s science and engineering communities to solve extremely complex problems if we bring the full complement of technical assets in the federal government to bear on this important initiative. That means DOE has to play a major role.

We also have some other concerns that are contained in my written testimony, and I look forward to working with you to address them.

Information technology is a powerful tool to achieve every national goal, including a world-class education system / a strong defense / access to affordable high-quality health care / and improved quality of life for all Americans. Information technology will revolutionize our national science and engineering R&D strategy. In fact, we can realistically project that by the year 2005 / end-to-end computations 1,000 times more powerful than those of today / will be achieved.

That is, if the funding is provided. I am concerned about the signs I am currently seeing from Appropriators. So far we have seen:

 Mr. Chairman, we share a conviction that an expanded investment in information technology research is a critical investment in our country’s future. I look forward to working with the Committee to ensure that the appropriators are fully informed of the importance of these investments.

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.

We look forward to working with you to expeditiously resolve any differences and to push for strong bipartisan support and final passage of this important legislation.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with you in this critical effort.

Office of Science and Technology Policy
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