Bypass Navigation

Computer and Information Science and Engineering $526,940,000

The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Activity is $526.94 million, an increase of $12.06 million, or 2.3 percent, above the FY 2002 Current Plan of $514.88 million.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2001

FY 2002

FY 2003




Computer-Communications Research






Information and Intelligent Systems






Experimental and Integrative Activities






Advanced Computational Infrastructure and Research






Advanced Networking Infrastructure and Resesarch






Information Technology Research






Total, CISE






Totals may not add due to rounding.

Computing, communications, and information are the focus of the basic research and education programs supported by the CISE Activity. CISE supported research ranges from the study of basic principles of the creation, representation, storage, transmission, transformation and application of information to the development of new algorithms, systems and applications. 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, and programs that contribute to the education and training of the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.

Information technology (IT) is playing an increasingly important role in nearly every part of our lives, supporting science and engineering research and education to benefit general education, commerce, health, and national security. The federal investment in research has played a key part in developing and maintaining U.S. leadership in underlying computing, communications and information technologies and in applying these technologies to many areas of national importance. As part of the overall federal effort, CISE provides 43 percent of the total support for fundamental research in computer science at U.S. colleges and universities.

CISE continues to support major advances in information technology. The following examples illustrate the creativity of new ideas that have potential to support innovation and new industrial growth. Just as important are the training environments in the laboratories and research groups that develop these ideas.

  • CISE-supported researchers, Shang-Hua Teng of the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign and Dan Spielman of MIT, have formulated a new and very useful method, called smoothed analysis, to study the performance of algorithms. They have applied their method to gain a deeper understanding of the Simplex Method, a widely used algorithm that has defied complete understanding for over 50 years. The Simplex Method is widely used for scheduling manufacturing, airline flights and flight crews.

  • Fred Jelinek of Johns Hopkins University has utilized CISE funding to sponsor a series of summer schools on computational language engineering, including automated speech recognition and synthesis, natural language processing, machine translation of languages, and information extraction and summarization. Research in this field enables applications that help us deal with non-English languages, such as machine recognition of spoken language from conversations, radio or other sources, automatic translation between languages, and clustering to find frequent concepts. The need for advances in such technology was highlighted by the events of September 11 and the concomitant recognition that the U.S. has insufficient expertise dealing with languages such as Pashto, Urdu, and Arabic.

  • The Network Middleware Program supports an important step in the Internet revolution. At present, networked applications are managed at the "endpoints" - all the functionality of applications is custom built into applications that run over the simple services provided by the "best effort" Internet. Middleware is a new software level for developing distributed applications; it will provide more convenient, high-level services for networked applications such as network storage and authentication. They will be able to utilize more complex services that can be embedded into the network, such as quality of service or storage. Futuristic applications will be enabled, such as a request for a later flight made on a wireless device - which then brokers for best times and prices, arranges payment for a new ticket and refund for the unused ticket, and downloads an e-ticket into the user's hands.

The CISE Directorate provides vision for information technology trends, opportunities and needs. New programs and efforts are established in consultation with the research community, industry, and other sectors. CISE serves as a focal point for U.S. IT leadership and its investments in learning and discovery keep the U.S. at the forefront of discovery.

  • The need for security and integrity of computing and information systems has long been supported in CISE through grants in core programs. For example, the RSA algorithms (named for the inventors, Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir and Len Adleman), the most widely used public-key cryptosystem, were supported in the Theory of Computing program; also research in secure communication is supported with Networking grants. In FY 2000, the ITR program identified a major component in High Confidence Software and Systems for large scale, interdisciplinary research. In FY 2001, CISE established two new programs in Trusted Computing and in Embedded and Hybrid Systems to focus on information systems that can be trusted, protected from intruders, be immune from denial of service attacks, and provide assured functionality. These complementary programs position CISE to support the IT requirements of Critical Infrastructure Protection.

  • The interfaces of IT and biology have revealed surprising new research opportunities that will lead to better understanding of biological phenomena. Sophisticated computer algorithms have played an essential role in genome sequencing, modeling ecosystems, and other areas. Current IT research is leading to understanding structure and function of proteins, protein folding, brain function, and many other biological processes. Organisms perform computational-like processes in recognizing speech or faces, in regulating development from genomic information, recognizing foreign tissue, and other ways. Understanding these biological methods can provide new ideas for conventional information technologies to design self-organizing systems, repel computer viruses or perform complex recognition tasks. The Experimental and Integrative Activities division has established new programs to foster these new research opportunities and support U.S. leadership.

In FY 2003, CISE will support research and education efforts related to broad, Foundation-wide priority areas in Biocomplexity in the Environment, Information Technology Research, Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Learning for the 21st Century Workforce, and Mathematical Sciences.

Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE): Funding for BE in FY 2003 totals $7.36 million, a $1.26 million increase over FY 2002. These funds will contribute to NSF's centralized competition and will support focused environmental informatics activities such as multi-scale modeling and simulation, dynamic data analysis and interpretation, data mining and management, and data fusion.

Information Technology Research (ITR): Information technology (IT) was responsible for a third of the nation's economic expansion during the 1990s, primarily due to advances in fundamental understanding of computing, communications, and information. The Internet, Web browsers, software for medical, scientific, educational, and business applications, as well as many other features of daily life are rooted in the basic IT research achievements of the past few decades. In the future, IT will have an even greater impact on the quality of our lives, the state of the economy, and national security.

Funding within CISE for the Foundation's ITR priority area will total $190.67 million in FY 2003, a $17.16 million increase over FY 2002. ITR continues the Foundation's effort to address computing, communications, and information research and related education and training and infrastructure efforts essential for maintaining the nation's preeminence in IT research and its wider applications to all sectors of society.

In response to the need for more long-range IT research, the ITR program will support research that often entails a higher risk than that prevailing in established areas. In managing the award process, CISE will ensure that at least 10 percent of funding is used for these high-quality, higher-risk proposals.

In FY 2003, CISE will focus on broad thematic, large-scale, long-term, basic computer science research challenges, such as the following.

  • Research will address the theory and technology for building safe and secure, complex, embedded, networked and autonomous systems. This will include methods to assess and measure risk and performance assurance, an essential step to improve confidence in information and communications systems.

  • Human Augmentation research will expand the capabilities of computers by creating new interfaces, such as speech, touch/tactile sensing, and telepresence. This new focus will serve the increasing population of aging Americans. These advances will allow the disabled and elderly to more fully participate in the information age and will expand the abilities of all people to enjoy the power of computing and communications.

  • Research at the interface of biology and information technology will be conducted in computational biology to understand biological and social systems, biological systems informatics to understand the "IT" mechanisms of biological systems, biomolecular computation to explore new biological and chemical mechanisms that may form the basis of a new generation of computing, and biologically inspired computing to understand how biological systems process information.

  • An emerging effort for CyberInfrastructure will complement the success of high performance computing and communications with attention to data gathering (from instruments, sensors and computations), data storage and transformation, visualization, etc. Problems such as massive data sources, integration of large systems, telecollaboration, and extracting "information" from data will be addressed.

Nanoscale Science and Engineering: CISE support totals $11.14 million for FY 2003, an increase of $940,000 over FY 2002, for Nanoscale Science and Engineering research on quantum computing, self-assembly of biomolecular computer components, nano-robotics, and design automation to support a new approach to molecular architecture.

Learning for the 21st Century Workforce: CISE provides $1.20 million to support the Foundation's Learning for the 21st Century Workforce priority area through a range of programs that encourage creative approaches to meeting new workforce requirements for IT. These include the Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI) and the NSF Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K-12 Education (GK-12).

Mathematical Sciences: CISE will participate in this new priority area at the level of $2.29 million. One emphasis area will be on research to improve comprehension and presentation of data focusing on research in massive data analysis, algorithms, storage, computer input/output issues, networking, digital libraries, etc. A second area will be on continuous computing, specifically at the interface of the discrete and combinatorial systems research, which is the traditional preserve of computer science, with the continuous domain research, which is the traditional domain of mathematics.


CISE support for ongoing and new activities contributes to NSF efforts to achieve its strategic goals, as well as to the administration and management activities necessary to achieve those goals:

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2002

FY 2003














Administration and Management 1




Total, CISE




1 Includes only costs charged to the R&RA Appropriation
Totals may not add due to rounding.


CISE places high priority on programs to develop the IT workforce. This workforce, emphasizing researchers and technology leaders for industry, is key to the health of the computing and communications sectors. The strong demand for a workforce with high-level information technology knowledge continues.

The principal strategies to develop this workforce include increasing graduate training and improving the attractiveness of university careers for computer scientists and engineers; increasing participation of under-represented groups in the workforce; and enhancing the ability of all citizens to benefit from the expanded use of computing and communications technologies. The following table shows investments in training programs, but does not include the extensive support for graduate training supported under research grants (see Ideas), the support enabled by advanced computational and network infrastructure, or the programs supported in centers.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2002

FY 2003






Graduate and Professional




Total, CISE




In response to the need for more people with advanced skills in all areas of computer and information science and engineering, CISE will continue to promote incorporating up-to-date research findings into the undergraduate curriculum with two goals: first, to improve undergraduate education in computer science and engineering in order to better prepare students for careers in industry, research, or teaching; and second to improve educational processes and tools for all students so they can participate effectively in a technology-intensive society.

Undergraduate curriculum improvements and the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program will be supported in FY 2003 with $8.40 million. Curriculum programs improve classroom teaching for computer science and engineering students and are focused on developing new curriculum from current research advances. Research experiences are important in introducing students into the research "culture" and have proven to increase the rate of undergraduates going into graduate study and research careers.

In FY 2003, CISE will provide $27.35 million for the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program, an increase of $1.35 million. Funding for the foundation-wide Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT) program will total $3.47 million to support interdisciplinary research.

The people who make up the nation's highly educated science and technology workforce drive advances in knowledge, innovations in technology, and growth in the economy. An essential outcome for CISE is producing this trained workforce that has given the U.S. international leadership in IT research and that is central to the productivity and economic growth stemming from IT. At NSF, integrating research and education is our principal strategy; the people involved in our research projects are the focus of our investments. Across its programs, CISE provided support for almost 9,600 people in FY 2001, including students, researchers, post-doctorates, and trainees; CISE anticipates the number will exceed 10,500 in FY 2003. Support for programs specifically addressing NSF's Strategic Goal of "People -- A diverse, internationally competitive and globally-engaged workforce of scientists, engineers and well-prepared citizens" totals more than $53 million in FY 2003, an increase of 7.8 percent over FY 2002. Moreover, about 36 percent of the funding for research grants -- an amount exceeding $140 million in FY 2001-- provided support for researchers and students, including more than 5,300 post-doctorates, trainees, and graduate and undergraduate students.


CISE supports research across the full range of disciplines that increase understanding of information, communication, and computing _ from the basic principles and technologies to new applications. Support for discovery across the frontier of science and engineering connected to learning, innovation, and the service of society underlies all the research areas in the CISE Activity and Accounts for over 60 percent of the funding in the CISE Activity. Projects that support research as well as the university training environment are the highest priority across CISE. Funding for ITR totals $190.67 million, with approximately two-thirds of this support going to individual and small group research projects and one-third to large, interdisciplinary, multi-investigator centers. Across all CISE subactivities, investment in Ideas will increase by $9.44 million to $328.57 million.

Priorities for CISE, in addition to the ITR programs described above, include:

  • Increasing award size to increase the efficiency of our investigators and to increase the attractiveness of university-based research careers.
  • Increasing support for the Trusted Computing program and the Networking Research program that support research to improve the trustworthiness, security and assurance of computing and communications systems. Networking research will also increase research support on authentication, integrity, and privacy of information in the Internet.
  • Increasing support for a new program in Hybrid and Embedded Systems that will explore the engineering challenges of systems that combine digital and analog devices, low power systems, and devices that incorporate computer technology for control, such as medical devices and other systems.
  • Initiating a new effort in CyberInfrastructure for eGovernment in ITR that will use government as a driving application, a testbed, an assessment setting, and a research resource for new ideas of a social and economic cyber-infrastructure. Several centers will be established with focus in areas such as biodiversity, electronic governance, crime prevention, federal statistics and other applications. This will complement CISE's existing Digital Government program.
  • Providing research, demonstrations, and technical assistance on ways to make technology more accessible. These assistive technologies will enable a broader range of the citizenry (e.g., the elderly, disabled) to use and benefit from IT innovations in computing and communications.
  • Increasing support for research on methods to store and access scientific data to improve usage and access of existing resources; expanded research on visualization and analysis for large, scientific data sets; and research on new mechanisms for computing such as quantum devices and DNA or chemical based techniques.
  • Supporting networking research that will continue the recently established emphasis in middleware, the software used to build distributed systems that utilize the networks efficiently and reliably. New investments in untethered, mobile and wireless systems will explore the demanding technology needs of wireless and other devices.
  • Expanding the applications of digital libraries and information management research to explore applications in social sciences, humanities and the arts.
  • Increasing research at the interfaces of IT and biology, such as computational biology and biological systems informatics.
  • Conducting research on using IT to enable and enhance individual learning independent of place, time, ability or age. Methods to create immersive virtual communities, where learners are part of collaborative communities with similar goals, where they are provided necessary content and materials, and are guided by human and computer tutors will be explored.

Another priority within CISE is Critical Infrastructure Protection. An increase of $8.0 million in division programs plus $4.16 million additional support under ITR will bring total CISE support to $48.26 million in FY 2003. This will provide for increased research in networking, computing and software that will enable computer and communications systems to be safer, more reliable, and free from intrusions. In addition to increased support in ITR, the Trusted Computing program, the Embedded and Hybrid Systems program, and the Networking Research program will all increase funding for research to create the fundamental knowledge for building reliable and secure systems. These investments will support the Critical Infrastructure Protection effort with research knowledge needed to build a new generation of safe and reliable information systems.

CISE-supported centers include:

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2002

FY 2003


Information Technology Centers




Total, CISE




The Information Technology Centers were initiated in FY 2000 to support fundamental research in IT spanning computer and information science and engineering, encompassing scientific applications or addressing areas of social, ethical, and workforce issues in IT. These centers are multi-investigator teams, often "virtual centers" with participation of several institutions. An additional investment of $2.0 million in FY 2003 will be made. In addition to the 66 centers supported, approximately 20 new center scale projects will be funded, bringing the total to 86 centers.


Support for Tools totals $139.29 million concentrated in three subactivities: the Advanced Computing Infrastructure in ACIR, the Advanced Networking Infrastructure in ANIR, and additional CISE facilities supported in Experimental and Integrative Activities. In FY 2003, CISE will see a modest decrease in support for infrastructure programs:

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2002

FY 2003


Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure




Advanced Networking Infrastructure




Terascale Computing Systems Operations 1




Other CISE Facilities




Total, CISE




1 Support for the acquisition of Terascale Computing Systems is provided through the Major Research Equipment Account.

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. PACI develops and provides the most advanced, leading-edge computing capabilities. ANI provides 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, and facilitating geographically-separated and cross-sector collaboration in research and education.

Support for Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure will total $71.49 million in FY 2003, a decrease of $2.42 million from FY 2002. With the transition from the Supercomputer Centers program completed and all partnering activities fully operational, the program will continue broadening and accelerating the capability of the research community to utilize this advanced technology to work on cutting-edge research problems in all scientific disciplines.

Support for Advanced Networking Infrastructure will total $46.62 million in FY 2003, a decrease of $980,000 from FY 2002. ANI participates in the interagency Next Generation Internet (NGI) program, and complements the university-led Internet2 effort. Within NGI, the focus is on high performance connectivity between academic research institutions, basic infrastructure for high-end research applications, and development of national scalable high-performance network infrastructure for the U.S. research and education community. In FY 2003, ANI will stress extending the reach of high performance networking by providing access to high performance networking to additional research and educational sites; developing new methods for access technology to extend high performance networks to difficult to reach sites and end users; and developing new middleware for applications to better serve the requirements of networked applications.

CISE will provide funding of $7.0 million, an increase of $1.0 million over FY 2002, for Terascale Computing Systems operations support for these new systems discussed in the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction Account. These efforts will complement PACI by strengthening the high performance computational capability needed for computational science research and applications. The second Terascale Computing award was to the Distributed Terascale Computing Facility, a collaboration of four sites including the two PACI centers.

Other CISE facilities includes resources such as hardware, software, databases, and services that serve needs from multi-investigator projects up to shared national resources. Instrumentation awards provide support for two or more investigators, with emphasis on emerging institutions. Research Resources support projects have multiple investigators, institutions or projects that share equipment and collaborate closely on research objectives. The Research Infrastructure program provides support of up to $2.0 million for equipment needs. Lastly, the Distributed Resources component of CISE facilities provides databases and services made available to all interested researchers.

Administration and Management

Administration and Management provides for administrative activities necessary to enable NSF to achieve its strategic goals. This includes the cost of Intergovernmental Personnel Act appointments and contractors performing administrative functions.

Number of People Involved in CISE Activities


FY 2001

FY 2002

FY 2003

Senior Researchers




Other Professionals








Graduate Students




Undergraduate Students




K-12 Students




K-12 Teachers




Total Number of People




CISE Funding Profile


FY 2001

FY 2002

FY 2003

Number of Requests for Funding




Dollars Requested (in millions)




Total Number of Awards





Statistics for New Competitive Awards:







Funding Rate




Statistics for Research Grants:


Number of Research Grants





Median Annualized Award Size





Average Annualized Award Size





Average Duration (yrs.)




  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


Policies and Important Links


Privacy | FOIA | Help | Contact NSF | Contact Web Master | SiteMap  

National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749

Last Updated:
Text Only
National Science Foundation Summary of FY 2003 Budget Request to Congress NSF Logo