Computer and Information Science and Engineering         $422,530,000



The FY 2000 Budget Request for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Activity is $422.53 million, an increase of $123.85 million, or 41.5 percent, over the FY 1999 Current Plan of $298.68 million.


(Millions of Dollars)


Computing, communications, and information are the objects of the basic research supported by the CISE Activity. Included are the study of the basic principles for understanding the creation, representation, storage, transmission, transformation and application of information.  CISE activities include theoretical and experimental investigator-initiated research in all areas of computer and information science and engineering, the development and maintenance of a cutting-edge national computing and information infrastructure for research and education generally, and programs to contribute to the education and training of the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.


Information technology (IT) has an increasingly important role in nearly every part of our lives, affecting science and engineering research and education, work, commerce, health, and national security. The federal investment in research has played, and continues to play, a key part in developing U.S. leadership in underlying computing, communications and information technologies and in applying these technologies to areas of critical national importance. CISE, a major actor in this knowledge generation, provides more than 50 percent of the total federal support for fundamental research in computer science at U.S. colleges and universities.


Since 1992, information technology has been responsible for a third of the nation’s economic expansion primarily because of advances in fundamental understanding of computing, communications, and information. The Internet, Web browsers, software for medical, scientific, educational, and business applications, and many other features of daily life are rooted in the basic research achievements of the past few decades. In the future, information technology will have an even greater impact on the quality of our lives and the state of the economy and national security. A recent report of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) highlights the fragile ground on which this nation's progress is built, and alarm has been expressed that the under-funding of long term basic research will seriously undercut future U.S. leadership in information technology and efforts dependent on it. PITAC has made strong recommendations concerning the efforts in research, infrastructure and education and training needed to maintain the present U.S. leadership position. NSF, as part of its ongoing planning activities, has been engaged with the academic community and other federal agencies in identifying the most pressing long-term basic research needs.


Basic research in computer science and engineering provides the fundamental knowledge and concepts that are the raw materials to be shaped into the information technology of the future -- technology that can only barely be imagined.  The nature of the research problems to be addressed now has changed; they are qualitatively different, requiring understanding of extraordinarily complex systems such as those involving millions of nodes, multiple terabytes of multi‑modal data, and collaboration in real time in a geographically distributed 3‑D virtual environment.  To maintain, enhance and build the nation's capability to provide the continuing flow of new ideas needed for creating future IT calls for a comprehensive and balanced set of disciplinary research activities.  Individual investigator research will be expanded significantly to enable fuller and more in‑depth exploration of fundamental disciplinary areas.  This will be complemented by greater emphasis on larger scale, more focused, community‑based thrusts to work on problems which call for more tightly integrated efforts.  Together, these will encourage attention to and stimulate field‑originated activity in such areas as large scale software analysis; analyzing and simulating large scale networks; and extending human mental capabilities through information technology.  Research teams and a limited number of centers will provide the vehicle for needed collaborative research efforts.


Information Technologies (IT): In FY 2000, CISE will provide $110.0 million to support the Administration’s Information Technology for the Twenty-first Century (IT2) initiative.  Of the $110.0 million, $80.0 million will support increased individual and team research projects and $30.0 million will be used to establish IT research centers.  Highlights include fundamental research required for attacking major software challenges; integrating components for end-to-end performance; and seeding explorations of shifts of current paradigms in computer, software, and network design.  Included within this amount is $10.0 million for expanding understanding of the interaction of the social, economic, political, and legal factors with emerging technologies.


The IT2 initiative, in which NSF plays the leadership role, builds on and is integrated with prior NSF activities, complements and draws upon strong collaborative efforts between all of NSF's research programs, and continues a long and successful history of federal interagency cooperation. Partner agencies in this government-wide effort include the Department of Defense/Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Energy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Institutes of Health.  IT research activities integrate with the Terascale Computing Systems project described under the Major Research Equipment account.


In addition, increased funding of $6.97 million for the Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) program will focus on broadening and accelerating the capability of the research community to utilize this advanced technology to work on cutting edge research problems in all NSF disciplines.


These efforts build on total funding of $298.68 million for CISE in FY 1999, which includes activities previously grouped under the Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence (KDI) theme.


In addition, in FY 2000 CISE will provide support for research and education efforts related to two broad Foundation-wide efforts, Biocomplexity in the Environment and Educating for the Future.


Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE): includes a set of increasingly coordinated activities in environmental science, engineering and education.  CISE will provide $6.0 million, an increase of $2.0 million over the FY 1999 level of $4.0 million, for activities formerly known as Life and Earth’s Environment, in support of programs within BE to strengthen the information-processing base essential to biocomplexity work.  Highlights include cooperative research in such areas as genome sequencing tools, protein motif recognition, ecological data repositories, pattern recognition tools, as well as in the broader areas of storage and retrieval in massive databases, simulation and modeling, and tools for remote observation and experimentation.  Although the techniques are general in their applicability, the cooperative projects will be concentrated in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics.


Educating for the Future (EFF): CISE supports a range of programs that encourage innovative approaches to meeting the challenge of educating students for the 21st century.  A total of $22.62 million, including an increase of $1.75 million over the FY 1999 level of $20.87 million, will support programs including: Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT), and Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER).  Of note, $500,000 will be used to initiate a prototype program in Teaching Experiences for CISE Students, an experiment in having undergraduate and graduate students help bring the challenges, excitement, and rewards of IT into the K-12 learning environment.


Key Program Functions


CISE pursues the Foundation’s goals through the following key program functions:


(Millions of Dollars)

1 Includes only costs charged to the R&RA Appropriation.


Research Project Support


In FY 2000, research project support is given highest priority and will increase from $174.70 million to $288.72 million.  Major emphasis is placed on the IT2 Initiative ($110.0 million), within which $80.0 million will support increased individual and team research projects, and $30.0 million will be used to establish IT research centers.


The IT2 Initiative will encompass broad, thematic, large-scale, long-term, basic computer science research emphasizing software, scalable information infrastructure, and high-end computing. Included is research aimed at such broad thematic areas as:


·         Building "no-surprise,” performance-engineered software systems in a scalable way

·         Developing hardware/software co-design

·         Multiplying individuals' physical and mental capabilities

·         Meeting, working, and collaborating in cyberspace in a world where people interact over the network in a realistic 3-dimensional virtual environment

·         Building an infrastructure for storing, searching, and retrieving any kind of content

·         Empowering computational discovery

·         Expanding fundamental algorithm research

·         Facilitating use of terascale systems

·         Enabling broadband tetherless communications

·         Understanding, modeling, and predicting network behavior

·         Integrating end-to-end performance-engineered components

·         Expanding understanding of the impact of social, ethical, economic, political, and legal factors

·         Developing a more skilled American workforce


CISE will continue to address Foundation-wide concerns about grant sizes by increasing the average size and duration of the awards and providing more support for researchers.  In accord with the Foundation's FY 2000 Performance Plan, CISE will continue to provide increased attention to the percentage of competitive research grants going to new investigators.  These efforts to improve research productivity will contribute to increasing the efficiency of the Foundation's merit review process and achieve greater cost-effectiveness for both NSF and the university community.


To more closely match the mode of support to the scale of the fundamental research problems being attacked, the average annualized award size of new awards will be increased by about 50 percent and the duration to 3.5 years. Additional emphasis will be placed on long-term basic disciplinary computer research performed by multi-investigator teams and through the newly initiated IT centers.


Within Research Project Support, CISE funds two Science and Technology Centers (STCs) that work on broad, interdisciplinary research problems requiring extensive coordinated efforts.


(Millions of Dollars)

1 The reduction of support reflects the planned phase-out of the first class of STCs in FY 1999, as well as planned reductions in the second class of STCs.


The STCs are:


·         The Center for Computer Graphics and Scientific Visualization (CGSV) (University of Utah, Cornell University, Brown University, California Institute of Technology, and University of North Carolina); and

·         The Center for Cognitive Science (CSC) (University of Pennsylvania), which is jointly supported with the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Activity.


Sharing a unifying cross-disciplinary intellectual focus, CSC and CGSV are making important contributions to the development and use of collaboration technologies to permit geographically-distributed researchers to interact in a “virtual” center.  Funding for both STCs will terminate in FY 2001 as part of a planned phase-out.


As part of the IT2 Initiative, in FY 2000 CISE will initiate about 10 IT research centers focused on major computer science and engineering research challenges such as broadband tetherless communications; building "no-surprise,” performance-engineered software systems; and multiplying the physical and mental capabilities of individuals. Within their fundamental research mission, these centers may incorporate testbeds and will have significant education, training and outreach components. Some may be "virtual,” linking distributed institutions with specialized, complimentary expertise and instrumentation though high performance networks; others may be sited at a single location.


Research Facilities


(Millions of Dollars)


Two facilities programs, Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) and Advanced Networking Infrastructure (ANI), provide state-of-the-art computing and communications essential for advanced work in all fields of science and engineering. The former develops and provides the most advanced, leading-edge computing capabilities; the latter, the major high-performance network and information-communications infrastructure for the U.S. scientific and engineering community. These facilities complement each other in enabling and developing experimentation with high performance computational and communications tools, providing training and education in the use of cutting-edge scientific computing and information technologies, encouraging computational science, and facilitating geographically-separated and cross-sector collaboration in research and education.


Support for Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure will total $77.80 million in FY 2000, an increase of $6.97 from $70.83 million in FY 1999. With the transition from the Supercomputer Centers program completed, and all PACI partnering activities fully operational, the program will focus on broadening and accelerating the capability of the research community to utilize this advanced technology to work on cutting edge research problems in all NSF disciplines.  The increase will:


·         Improve the ability of partner institutions to provide the software and hardware resources needed for efficient use of parallel and distributed architectures to a broad research community;

·         Build the necessary present and future human resource base through education, outreach, and training;and

·         Initiate exploration and adaptation of newly available high-end hardware to research use.


These efforts will be complemented and supported by a major strengthening of advanced computational capability described under the Terascale Computing Systems project in the Major Research Equipment account.


Support for ANI will total $44.56 million in FY 2000, an increase of $660,000 from $43.90 million in the FY 1999 Current Plan. ANI participates in the interagency Next Generation Internet (NGI), and complements the university-led Internet 2 effort. Within NGI, the focus is on high performance connectivity among academic research institutions, contributing to basic infrastructure for high-end research applications, and taking a major role in developing the basis for a national scalable high-performance network infrastructure for the U.S. research and education community. In FY 2000, ANI will:


·         Pursue completion of planned NGI high performance connectivity, including locationally-independent high performance network services to universities, upgrading connections from OC-12 (622 Mbps) to OC-48 (2.4Gbps), and support for Quality of Service and integrated services; and

·         Initiate implementation of a new phase of the high performance networking program to support applications and networking research needs of the research and education community, and begin active development of ‘middleware’ to enable new applications development for new high performance networks.


Education and Training


(Millions of Dollars)


CISE incorporates education and training programs to help increase the supply of scientists and engineers in computer- and information-related research activities, to improve the diversity of the workforce, to experiment with innovative applications of computer, communications and information technology in education, and to provide training in state-of-the-art computing and communications.


CISE will continue to promote incorporating up-to-date research findings into the undergraduate curriculum to improve undergraduate education in technical areas for better preparation of students for careers in industry, research, or teaching; and to improve educational processes and tools for all students so they can participate effectively in the affairs of a technology-intensive society.


In FY 2000, CISE continues to participate in the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program, an NSF-wide program for graduate traineeships emphasizing multidisciplinary training. It will initiate a Teaching Experiences for CISE Students program, in which undergraduate and graduate students will work on efforts designed to be used in the K-12 learning environment to stimulate interest in and understanding of computer and information science and engineering.  Other activities include Model Institutions for Excellence, Graduate Fellowships for Women, and CISE Educational Innovation.


Administration and Management


The Administration and Management key program function includes the cost of Intergovernmental Personnel Act appointments, contractors performing administrative functions and, in FY 2000, award-related travel.

Number of People Involved in CISE Activities




CISE Funding Profile


1 Statistics for award size and duration include research grants only.



Change in Budget Structure


In FY 2000, a new Subactivity, Information Technology Initiative (IT2) will be initiated in the CISE Activity.