Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

Monday Morning Roundup

February 14th, 2011 / in policy, research horizons, workshop reports / by Erwin Gianchandani

Several items of interest this Monday morning:

President’s FY 2012 Budget Unveiled

President Obama will reveal his budget request for FY 2012 at 10:30am ET this morning.  For live coverage, check your favorite news source.  Later today, there will be budget briefings by Federal funding agencies, notably the National Science Foundation — including the CISE Directorate — and the Department of Energy‘s Office of Science.  Our colleagues at CRA‘s Policy Blog will have complete coverage of the President’s anticipated $3.7 trillion request — and specifically what it says about Federal funding for R&D.

Updated 1pm ET: The President’s FY 2012 budget request for NSF/CISE calls for an increase of $109.59 million (+17.7%) over FY 2010 actual expenditures (there’s no FY 2011 budget for comparison purposes yet), or a total of $728.42 million.  Requested increases for CISE’s three divisions, CCF, CNS, and IIS, are 23.4%, 15.1%, and 20.8%, respectively.  Among the major research investments contained in the request:

– $46.36 million to CISE (up from $17 million in FY 2010) for a $998.19 million NSF-wide Science, Engineering, and Education of Sustainability (SEES) initiative:  “CISE will support the NSF-wide SEES investment and enrich the SEES portfolio with a program aimed at the challenges created as well as addressed by information and  communications technologies.  This effort will support research activities developing algorithmic foundations and new software and hardware for energy-efficient, energy-aware, and sustainable computing and communications.”

$17.50 million to CISE (new investment) for a $30 million National Robotics Initiative spanning NSF, NIH, NASA, and USDA:  CISE will focus on fundamental research in robotics science and engineering.  This includes advanced sensing, control, and power sources; dynamical system mechanics;  optimization, design, and decision algorithms; problem-solving architectures; hybrid architectures  that integrate or combine methods (deductive, case-based, symbolic, etc.); safe and soft structures and mechanisms with reactive surfaces and elastic actuators; computational models of human cognition; integration of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and assistive robotics.”

– $17 million to CISE (up from $15 million in FY 2010) for the Smart Health and Wellbeing program:  “CISE will pursue improvements in safe, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered health and wellness technology and services through innovations in computer and information science and engineering that recognize the technical feasibility of diagnosis, treatment, and care based on an individual’s genetic makeup and lifestyle and acknowledge the changing demographics of an increasingly aging population.”

Much more detail — including other major research investments — available here.

Watson Debuts on JEOPARDY!

JEOPARDY! The IBM ChallengeToday’s the day!  After years of development and months of anticipation, “Watson” — an IBM-developed supercomputer system — is scheduled to debut on JEOPARDY! today.  Be sure to check your local TV listings for the time and channel.  As we’ve previously described in this space, the debut is a first-ever for the game show, and for AI/machine learning as well.  The advanced “question-answering” machine is taking on Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, two of the winningest contestants in the show’s 27+ years on the air, in two episodes spanning today through Wednesday.  At stake:  $1 million, bragging rights, and much more.

Updated 1pm ET: Last week, IBM and Carnegie Mellon University announced that computing researchers at 8 universities — including CMU, MIT, UT-Austin, USC, RPI, SUNY Albany, the University of Trento, and UMass-Amherst — have been collaborating with IBM to advance the question answering (QA) technology underlying “Watson.”  The effort, called the Open Advancement of Question-Answering Intelligence (OAQA), “encouraged a modular software architecture and a common set of measurement standards, enabling researchers to test software components they have developed for specific tasks.”  In effect, individual components could be easily compared with one another, swapped out, or upgraded.  See the full CMU/IBM press release here.

NSF, OECD Host Smart Health Workshop Tomorrow

And a reminder that we’ll be live blogging this week’s workshop on Building a Smarter Health and Wellness Future (check back here tomorrow).  Jointly sponsored by NSF’s CISE Directorate and the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the workshop will review how new technological developments — including high-speed and mobile applications, connected devices, social networks, etc. — can provide unique and unprecedented opportunities for addressing the health and wellness challenges of our aging society.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

Monday Morning Roundup