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Media Advisory 12-004
Join NITRD in Marking Two Decades of Game-Changing Breakthroughs in Networking and Information Technology

NITRD Symposium to be webcast; media encouraged to tune in and/or to attend the final session on big ideas for the future and an agency showcase

Image of a transparent globe of the world  with binary code in the background.

NITRD will mark its 20th anniversary with a symposium on February 16, 2012.
Credit and Larger Version

February 13, 2012

Just two decades ago ...

  • Only 30 percent of Americans used computers and only 15 percent of households owned personal computers.
  • Computing power was conglomerated in a few select supercomputing centers at major research institutions and national labs.
  • The fastest supercomputer in the world, a CM-3, could perform 14 billion floating-point operations per second (flops) or 14 gigaflops.
  • The world was only able to store 16 million terabytes or 16 exabytes of data in total.
  • The World Wide Web just opened to the public, featured only a handful of web pages that described the project itself.

Today ...

  • Over 75 percent of all Americans use the Internet. Some 44 percent of them own smartphones; 56 percent of people who bought a new phone in the last 3 months chose a smartphone.
  • The current iPhone has 60 times more processing power and 1/500th the size of Macintosh's first commercially available computer under $1,000, the Macintosh Classic.
  • The fastest supercomputer on earth clocks at more than 10 thousand trillion flops or 10 petaflops.
  • Global Internet traffic is estimated at over 21 million terabytes or 21 exabytes/month and the indexed World Wide Web contains over 8 billion pages.

Join us in describing and discussing these and other profound changes, the myriad of breakthroughs that enabled them, and the "big ideas" that will shape our future at a symposium marking two decades of the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program. NITRD, established by the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991, is the coordinated, multi-agency computer science research and development program.

Under this umbrella, 15 partner agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Energy and National Institutes of Health have sponsored the fundamental research that has changed the world.

With a keynote address by former Vice President Al Gore, and talks on advances and prospects in networking and information technology research and development--from how it touches people on a daily basis to the advances in other areas of science and engineering that it is enabling--and discussion of the profound impact of this work on our nation's competitiveness, this symposium promises to be high profile and chock-full of information.

What:The Impact of NITRD: Two Decades of Game-Changing Breakthroughs in Networking and Information Technology--Expanding Possibilities Ahead. See full agenda.

When:Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, 8:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Media Accessibility:The entire program will be Webcast starting at 8 a.m., click here.

Reporters may also attend this invitation-only symposium from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in order to watch the "Future Big Ideas" panel, as well as attend the reception, visit the agency showcase, and interview participants.

The Future "Big Ideas" Panel from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m., on the 7th floor of the Newseum's Knight Conference Center, will feature Tom Kalil, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (moderator); Peter Lee, Microsoft Research; Elizabeth Mynatt, Georgia Institute of Technology; Stefan Savage, University of California, San Diego; and Charles Vest, National Academy of Engineering.

The Reception & Agency Showcase from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the 8th floor of the Newseum's Knight Conference Center, will spotlight each NITRD agency's research accomplishments and prospects for the future via flyers, posters and demos.

RSVP: Please RSVP to Lisa-Joy Zgorski, lisajoy@nsf.gov, to attend the portions of the program open to reporters.

The full list of NITRD agency partners follows:

  • Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD/DoD) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
  • Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA)
  • Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE/SC)
  • National Coordination Office for NITRD (NCO)
  • White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
  • White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Health and Human Service Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HHS/AHRQ)
  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Security Agency (NSA)


Media Contacts
Evelyn Brown, NIST, evelyn.brown@nist.gov
Eric Mazzacone, DARPA, Eric.Mazzacone@darpa.mil
Stephen Cole, NASA, NASA, stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov
Michael Padilla, DOE, Michael.Padilla@nnsa.doe.gov
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311, lzgorski@nsf.gov
Peter Vietti, ONR, (703) 588-2167, peter.vietti@navy.mil
Emily Smith, EPA, (919) 541-5556, Smith.Emily@epamail.epa.gov
Dolline Hatchett, DOE Office of Science, Dolline.Hatchett@science.doe.gov
Kristie Kiser, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS, (301) 427-1246, Kristie.Kiser@ahrq.hhs.gov

Program Contacts
C. Suzanne Iacono, NSF, (703) 292-8900, siacono@nsf.gov
Erwin Gianchandani, Computing Research Association, (202) 266-2936, erwin@cra.org

Related Websites
Computing Research That Changed the World: http://cra.org/ccc/locsymposium.php
CRA Website with overview of symposium: http://cra.org/ccc/nitrdsymposium_intro.php
The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Homepage: http://www.nitrd.gov/
President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) last December: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-nitrd-report-2010.pdf

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