Skip to contents

National Science Foundation Logo

Search KDI Site

Banner: Multi-Disciplinary Research at NSF: Accomplishments of the KDI Initiative
 KDI Home    Contact Us   

Image: People Button

Image: Ideas Button

Image: Tools Button

 About KDI

 Behind the Scenes

 Taking Stock

 Links and Resources


About KDI

Image of Globe with computer board and http watermarksThe official name of the research program known as "KDI" is Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence. NSF initiated and instituted this two-year program in 1998. Its purpose was to "to span the scientific and engineering communities . . . to generate, model, and represent more complex and cross-disciplinary scientific data from new sources and at enormously varying scales."

Why KDI? At the turn of the millennium, science policy makers recognized that the explosive growth in computer power and connectivity was reshaping relationships among people and organizations, and transforming the processes of discovery, learning, and communication. They recognized an unprecedented opportunity to provide fast access to enormous amounts of knowledge and information, to study much more complex systems than was hitherto possible, and to advance our understanding of living and engineered systems. Achievement of these goals required more cross-disciplinary research than was typically supported at NSF, especially between the computer sciences and the other sciences and engineering.

The KDI goal was to support research that would model and make use of complex and cross-disciplinary scientific data. The research would analyze living and engineered systems in new ways. It would also explore the cognitive, ethical, educational, legal, and social implications of new types of learning, knowledge, and interactivity. It would foster scientists' sharing knowledge and working together interactively. Richard Zare, chairman of the National Science Board and professor of chemistry at Stanford University, wrote in Science, "This knowledge and distributed intelligence (KDI) initiative would promote collaborations that seem long overdue, such as linking the science of learning and cognition with the development of technologies for teaching and learning" (1997, vol. 275, 21 Feb, p. 1047).

For more information on NSF grants and funding opportunities for multi-disciplinary programs, please go to

For more information on NSF KDI, including the 1998 and 1999 awards, see the NSF KDI Home Page at:

The original KDI solicitation is available at: (75KB)


Back to Top of Page

People | Ideas | Tools
About KDI | Behind the Scenes | Taking Stock | Links and Resources

KDI Home | Contact Us | Site Map
NSF Home | CISE Home | Privacy Statement | Policies | Accessibility

National Science Foundation: Celebrating 50 Years Logo The National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: 703-292-5111, FIRS: 800-877-8339 | TDD: 703-292-5090