INFORMATION AND INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS $50,610,000
The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Information and Intelligent
Systems (IIS) Subactivity is $50.61 million, a decrease of $1.45 million,
or 2.8 percent, below the FY 2002 Current Plan of $52.06 million.
(Millions of Dollars)
Information and Intelligent Systems
The IIS Subactivity is the major source of support for research
in the important and rapidly growing areas of human-computer interaction,
databases, digital libraries, robotics, computers and society, and knowledge
and cognitive systems.
Research in the IIS Subactivity is oriented broadly around
two thematic areas: human-computer systems and information systems. Approximately
44 percent of this subactivity's funds, or about $22 million, support
human-computer systems activities in human-computer interaction, universal
access, and robotics and human augmentation. This research addresses areas
such as graphics and language to enable new ways to communicate between
computers and humans; new techniques to support access for those with
limited vision, hearing or dexterity; and robotic devices to assist people
or to complement the abilities of humans.
Approximately $28 million of this subactivity's funds support
research in information systems and includes programs in information and
data management, knowledge and cognitive systems, computers and social
systems, and digital libraries. This research addresses topics such as
visualization of data; data mining in scientific databases; analysis of
imagery from medical and other sources; artificial intelligence and case-based
reasoning, learning systems; understanding human learning and its relationship
to machine learning; and the economic, ethical, and social impacts of
The following are examples of major research efforts supported
- Universal access projects exploit interface technology to assist the
disabled, the elderly, and those with limited experience with computer
systems. Research in these areas is leading to new methods for voice
synthesis and recognition, multi-media information interfaces, haptic
(force-feedback) interfaces, and the synthesis of systems to ease interaction
with computers. Expanding the choices for interacting with electronic
systems will have wide benefits.
- The Digital Libraries program (DLI), which combines resources from
NSF, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National
Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the National Library of Medicine
(NLM), is also supported in the "Information Management" theme
of the ITR program. It has expanded its international activities, supporting
joint research programs with the United Kingdom, Germany, the European
Union, and several Asian countries. Digital Library research now includes
new applications of computer techniques to resources in education, for
example in the use of digital libraries by children, and has further
developed in the higher education digital library program (NSDL) in
the EHR directorate (aimed at helping teach science, engineering, mathematics,
- Data mining and data handling in general are rapidly expanding, with
new work on long-term preservation of data, on understanding the provenance
of data so that its reliability can be judged, and on extracting data
from research to be used in many applications. For example, research
on data mining in medical patient records not only assists doctors trying
to treat a patient but also can help with epidemiological studies. This
research has also proven useful for national intelligence efforts to
enable analysis of foreign data sources.
The following are successes from recent IIS supported research.
- The continued boom in Internet search engine technology owes its origins
to NSF-supported research in information retrieval. An investigator
on a Digital Library award created one of the very first large-scale
search engines, Lycos. The Google search engine originated from research
funded by a Stanford University Digital Library award; it is now regarded
the single most useful search engine for the WWW.
- Data mining in protein and genome databases has resulted in NSF-funded
systems that can determine, for example, the gene sequences of the bacteria
that cause Lyme disease and syphilis. New research on computer learning
methods at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is helping scientists create
new ways to design and discover new drugs using the information in large
- Many projects investigating image processing and image searching are
making dramatic progress. For example, work on 3-D image analysis at
the University of Texas has created the field of "forensic paleontology."
The capability to search for images is allowing new kinds of access
to museums and their holdings.
IIS plans to reallocate resources to support several priority
areas as follows.
- To encourage and facilitate data sharing across the domains
of science in support of new CyberInfrastructure efforts, research will
include work on protocols, interfaces, search systems, visualization,
and social processes to allow scientists to exchange and use original
data. The intent is to enable the use of online data, in partnership
with simulation and modeling, to accelerate research and solve problems
that are vitally important to society.
- A new effort in "telepresence" will use computer
sensors to make 3-D images of people and places, and re-create views
of these places at remote locations. Such systems could provide major
improvements in our ability to work with people far away, enabling jobs
to be done from remote parts of the U.S.
- Additional effort in the "computational humanities"
will improve scholarship and education in literature, geography, and
other fields. Examples include the use of special optical and computer
techniques to read burned manuscripts, the ability to make 3-D maps
of cities, and systems to analyze music and provide musical accompaniment.
- Expanded research in assistive technology will help groups
such as the visually or hearing impaired, people with mobility or dexterity
problems, and the elderly. Computer-based systems that compensate for
physical limitations or the natural processes of aging show promise
to both improve many aspects of living and to close a digital divide
by giving access to information technology for a growing segment of
the US population.
- A robotics "foundry" to support research will
be established to address the high cost of robotics equipment and expertise.
An initial investment will support centers of expertise and allow shared
access to equipment.