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The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Computer-Communications Research (C-CR) Subactivity is $70.17 million, an increase of $360,000, or 0.5 percent, over the FY 2002 Current Plan of $69.81 million.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2001

FY 2002
Current Plan

FY 2003




Computer-Communications Research






Total, C-CR






C-CR supports research underlying the design, construction, and utilization of information and communications systems of all kinds. It covers theory and implementation for both hardware and software research. The design of algorithms and architectures as well as the tools and technologies for exploiting them are in the scope of this subactivity. The goal is to promote fundamental understanding of computing and communication and to enable development of the advanced, highly reliable systems needed for critical applications in science, engineering, transportation, environment, industrial control, commerce, national defense, education, and health care.

Because of the breadth of research it supports, C-CR has 8 standing programs and also takes part in other wide-ranging priority efforts. C-CR activities address two broad areas:

  • Funding of approximately $40.0 million supports research on basic issues in the science and technology of computing and information that includes the trusted systems, embedded and hybrid systems, theory of computing, algorithms for scientific computation, computer graphics, operating systems, compilers, software design and productivity, computer architecture, and programming languages. This research provides the bridge from computing and communication systems to application systems with ideas used to design new types of computers and build operating systems and other software systems. Improvements in software quality and productivity are also important benefits of this research.

  • Funding of approximately $30.0 million supports research in the design and engineering of computer hardware and communications and signal processing systems and addresses coding and compression techniques, design automation, and computer architecture. This research develops the ideas embodied in new computer and communications systems. Computing and communication improvements come from this research and continue to provide rapid improvements in technology.

Some examples of the research promoted by C-CR are:

  • NSF-supported researcher, Michael Rabin at Harvard, has created the world's first demonstrably secure cryptosystem. Previous cryptosystems relied on both computational limitations of the adversary and assumptions in computational complexity theory. This system is secure against any adversary regardless of the adversary's computing power.

  • Ron Elber and colleagues at Cornell are developing new algorithms for simulation to allow significantly faster computation and simulation of protein structures, allowing more rapid advances in our understanding of protein behavior.

  • Terence Swift at SUNY-Stony Brook has developed a "tabled logic" approach to logic programming, called XSB, that has opened new applications areas for logic programming in data cleaning and integration, medical and psychiatric diagnosis, web agents, verification of concurrent systems, circuit diagnosis, and machine learning.

  • The Signal Processing Program funds a number of efforts, for example, the work of Gregory Wornell at MIT, that have made strides in overall efficiency in high-throughput, mixed traffic, mobile, multimedia, wireless communication networks. This is an area of current high demand and importance, where small advances have significant economic impacts.

  • The Design Automation Program currently supports Tamal Mukherjee at Carnegie Mellon University and others who are developing the basic algorithms to provide computer aided design (CAD) support for designing Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) chips.

In FY 2003, C-CR will emphasize increases for three research areas:

  • Trusted Computing. C-CR will increase support for research in theory and technologies to increase the trustworthiness of computing and communications systems. Protection of computing and communication systems is critical to the privacy of citizens, the safety of transportation systems, the financial health of business organizations, stability of the global economy, and assurance of national security. The information technology industry faces an acute crisis of confidence in its ability to design and build systems of acceptable trustworthiness. Trusted Computing will focus on critical hardware and software technologies that are necessary to achieve high levels of system safety, security and privacy, and survivability. The research directions will include sound theoretical bases for assured construction of safe, secure systems; principles and methodology for secure and dependable hardware, software, and network design; and techniques to verify and validate high confidence systems against security breaches and hardware/software faults.

  • Embedded and Hybrid Systems. These are typically small, stand-alone devices that are hybrids of digital and analog designs or devices that have embedded small digital systems along with other functions, such as cell-phones, personal digital assistants (PDA's), or medical devices. Research challenges in hybrid systems range from developing a fundamental, mathematical understanding of how discrete (digital) and analog systems interact to developing techniques for design and optimization of systems. Research on embedded devices includes new techniques for low power computing and design methods for small systems in which neither processing nor memory is ample.

  • Molecular Architectures. Computer science has developed a very successful tradition for analyzing and synthesizing complex systems by imposing on them a conceptual "architecture." The architecture utilizes multiple layers of abstraction to represent component interactions within these layers as well as to provide clear interfaces between layers. The goal of this emphasis area is to develop new architectural notions for this emerging area of nanotechnology, with the goal of systematizing the design of nanoscale artifacts. The research will be coordinated through the NSF-wide Nanoscale Science and Engineering priority area.

Other new emphasis areas that will be supported in existing programs include untethered, two-way communication of multimedia information; computational topology to extend computational geometry investigations and applications from strictly discrete domains to continuous domains (a joint undertaking with DARPA and NSF's Division of Mathematical Sciences); research contributing to increased productivity including component-based methods, domain-specific development, end-user programming, and other approaches to software productivity; and quantum, chemical, bio-inspired, and other non-silicon computing technologies.

  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


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