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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)


FY 2001

FY 2002
Current Plan

FY 2003




Information and Intelligent Systems






Total, IIS






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 IT.

The following are examples of major research efforts supported by IIS.

  • 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, and technology).

  • 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 molecular databases.

  • 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.
  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


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