The 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 http://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/
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:
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