A Review of NITRD

November 4th, 2010 by Erwin Gianchandani Post a comment »

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) today unanimously approved a draft report reviewing the 14-agency, $4 billion Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program. The 14-person working group that assisted with the biannual review, completed this summer, was co-chaired by Ed Lazowska (full disclosure: Ed is Chair of the CCC Council) and PCAST member David Shaw.

In their summary of the major findings during a public session of PCAST in Washington, DC, this morning, Ed and David noted how networking and information technology (NIT) has greatly enhanced our nation’s economic competitiveness, all the while significantly accelerating the pace of discovery in all fields. They further emphasized how this impact of NIT arises from a deep tradition of fundamental research in NIT, in which the Federal government plays a critical role. Moreover, NIT research “is now squarely at the center of the nation’s ability to achieve many of its important priorities,” Ed said, “from improved healthcare to improved energy efficiency to improved transportation systems, national security, education, and open government.”

Among the research recommendations, the report calls for new long-term, multi-agency basic research initiatives for health information technology, energy and transportation, and cybersecurity. Other important new frontiers that are highlighted include high-performance computing, privacy and confidentiality, large-scale data analytics, human-computer interaction (including social computing, crowdsourcing, etc.), graphics and visualization, robotics, scalable systems, and software development. In addition, education of the next-generation workforce is critically important.

For a complete recap of this morning’s presentation — including detailed recommendations for the structure and role of the National Coordination Office (NCO), which oversees NITRD — as well as highlights from the rest of the PCAST meeting, please visit CRA’s Policy Blog.

I also encourage you to view an archived webcast of the NITRD talk here.

Update 11/7/2010: For an approximate transcript of Ed’s remarks to PCAST, click here.

(Posted by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)