Summary of FY2002 Budget Request to Congress - National Science Foundation


The FY 2002 Budget Request for the Information Technology Research Subactivity is $155.48 million, level with the FY 2001 Current Plan.

(Millions of Dollars)

   FY 2000
FY 2001
Current Plan
FY 2002
Amount Percent
Information Technology Research
Total, ITR

NSF's ITR initiative supports activities in research, infrastructure development and access, and education and training to advance leading edge capabilities to enable discovering, collecting, representing, transmitting, sharing and applying information for testing new ideas and creating new tools. High quality, higher-risk proposals will comprise a significant portion of the funding for ITR.

As part of the Foundation's ITR priority area, $155.48 million is requested for FY 2002 including support for the following areas:

  • Large Scale Networking;

  • High-end Computing;

  • High-end Computation and Infrastructure (including applications);

  • High Confidence Software and Systems;

  • Human Computer Interaction and Information Management;

  • Software Design and Productivity; and

  • Social, Economic and Workforce Implications of IT and IT Workforce Development.

Research begun in the ITR Subactivity in FY 2001 includes:

  • Research on the scientific and engineering basis of scalable systems;

  • Developments toward a content-based information theory;

  • Ubiquitous connectivity and access to enable "anytime-anywhere-anything" access to information;

  • Research on the social, economic, legal, and ethical implications of inequality of access to IT;

  • Design methods for systems with both hardware and software treated together; and

  • New computation and physical processes, such as molecular, DNA and quantum computing.

These research efforts will continue in 2002 and be expanded with new emphasis areas: Cyber Infrastructure Research, Human Augmentation and the Interface of Biology and Information Technology.

Cyber Infrastructure Research: This area will support research for creating a new generation of information systems to support research and education. The information revolution to-date has focused on computers and communications - notable achievements are the prevalence of desktop computing, terascale supercomputers, and the Internet. The next transformations will integrate content sources, storage, and new modes for humans to access information. Scientific research is moving to large, shared instruments, to wide-area sensing and observing, and to shared data resources. These changes are creating massive amounts of data that will require new methods for storage, search and access, new techniques for distribution and sharing in the scientific community, and new tools for analyzing and presenting data and analysis. The scale and precision of data along with expanded computing power is motivating research on new ways to analyze and process information. Cyber Infrastructure research will build on many CISE research efforts to catalyze the next transformation of information systems including Grid Computing, Digital Libraries, Virtual Reality/Telepresence, and High Performance Networking and Middleware Applications. This research will provide the scientific and technical foundation to build Cyber Infrastructure systems that support research and education in all areas of science, social science and humanities and that extend access to world-class resources to all areas of the nation and to all citizens.

Human Augmentation: The advances of personal computing, the Internet and the WWW have made truly impressive advances in extending access to information to a wider range of people. We have barely begun to make computers and information resources easy to use and access. The challenge we face is to use the power of computing and communication to make these systems more suited to human abilities and needs. Specific areas for research will be focused where progress has high potential for wide impact. Speech research will seek to make computer systems able to interact with humans in the most common mode of interaction that humans use. Research on interfaces for the differently-abled will create new ways to access and use computers and all the devices that computers can control. This will impact both the handicapped population, which is poorly served by current systems, and people whose abilities are changing due to aging. The massive information found on the WWW - as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of "hits" that most web searches return - make finding the "information I want" a challenge for all people. Research that develops techniques to better understand human needs and locate desired information will be supported. Lastly, globalization highlights the need for research on multi-lingual systems that would serve the needs of multi-national industry, collaborating science teams, or virtual cultural exchanges.

The Interface of Biology and Information Technology: This thrust in ITR will focus on four areas where biology has developed important problems requiring research in IT: (1) Computational biology uses data-analytical and theoretical methods, mathematical modeling and computational simulation techniques for the study of biological, behavioral and social systems; (2) Biological systems informatics addresses genomic information analysis, annotation, and curation; data mining; data modeling; and algorithmic and inferencing techniques for relating genes to biological function; (3) Biomolecular computation addresses the application of biotechnology, such as recombinant DNA, nanotechnology assembly techniques, and solution and surface technologies, to exploit biology as a medium and a model for computation and data storage; and (4) Biological information technology integrates research across disciplines to understand computation and information flow in biological systems from the molecular and cellular level, to the multi-cellular level and beyond. Its goal is to develop new theories, models, and paradigms for information processing systems based on how biology acts as an information technology.

As part of the ITR program, the Terascale Computing Systems, requested through the Major Research Equipment (MRE) account, will provide advanced computing capabilities for the most demanding scientific and engineering applications. See the MRE account section for more information.

Within ITR, IT education and workforce activities will also be supported. IT is emerging as a delivery vehicle for education at all levels - from traditional school settings to workforce education - to maintain and improve skills. Research on delivery methods as well as methods to enhance learning will be emphasized. Education in IT itself recognizes the shortage of skilled workers and the rapidly changing skill requirements in this IT area. In addition to support for students in research projects, this effort will reach broader segments through programs collaborating with K-12 and improvement in curriculum for IT at the college level. Under-representation of minorities and women in the IT education and career paths will be addressed by research on the underlying causes for this.

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