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COMPUTING TL' e meet'' n ~ A BROADER AGENDA FOR COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENSlNEERING Juris Hartmanis and Herbert Lin, Editors Committee to Assess the Scope and Direction of Computer Science and Technology Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1992
National Academy Press · 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW · Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Insti- tute of Medicine. Support for this project was provided by the following organizations and agencies: National Science Foundation (Grant No. CDA-9012458), Office of Naval Research (Contract No. N00014-87-J-1110), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (N00014-87-J-1110), and the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., under an unnumbered contract. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publicatior~ Data Computing the future: a broader agenda for computer science and engineering / Committee to Assess the Scope and Direction of Computer Science and Technology, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications, National Research Council; Juris Hartmanis and Herbert Lin, editors. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-309-04740-4 1. Computer science. 2. Engineering. I. Hartmanis, Juris. II. Lin, Herbert. III. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee to Assess the Scope and Direction of Computer Science and Technology. QA76.C5855 1992 004'.0973 dc20 Copyright 1992 by the National Academy of Sciences 92-19571 CIP This book is printed with soy ink on acid-free recycled stock.~,,, Printed in the United States of America
COMMITTEE TO ASSESS THE SCOPE AND DIRECTION OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY JURIS HARTMANIS, Cornell University, Chairman RUZENA BAlCSY, University of Pennsylvania ASHOK K. CHANDRA, IBM TO Watson Research Center ANDRIES VAN DAM, Brown University JEFF DOZIER, University of California at Santa Barbara JAMES GRAY, Digital Equipment Corporation DAVID CRIES, Cornell University A. NICO HABERMANN,* Carnegie Mellon University ROBERT R. JOHNSON, University of Utah LEONARD KLEINROCK, University of California at Los Angeles M. DOUGLAS McILROY, AT&T Bell Laboratories DAVID A. PATTERSON, University of California at Berkeley RAl REDDY, Carnegie Mellon University KLAUS SCHULTEN, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign CHARLES SEITZ, California Institute of Technology VICTOR VYSSOTSKY, Digital Equipment Corporation Staff MARJORY S. BLUMENTHAL, Director HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Staff Officer DONNA F. ALLEN, Administrative Assistant *Resigned from the committee on October 1, 1991, in order to become assistant direc- tor of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate of the Na- tional Science Foundation. . . . Ill
COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD JOSEPH F. TRAUB, Columbia University, Chairman ALFRED N1. AHO, AT&T Bell Laboratories RUZENA BAlCSY, University of Pennsylvania DAVID I. FARBER, University of Pennsylvania SAMUEL H. FULLER, Digital Equipment Corporation JOHN L. HENNESSY, Stanford University MITCHELL D. KAPOR, ON Technology, Inc. SIDNEY KARIN, San Diego Supercomputer Center KEN KENNEDY, Rice University LEONARD KLEINROCK, University of California at Los Angeles ROBERT L. MARTIN, Bell Communications Research ABRAHAM PELED, IBM A. Watson Research Center WILLIAM PRESS, Harvard University RAl REDDY, Carnegie Mellon University JEROME H. SALTZER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MARY SHAW, Carnegie Mellon University EDWARD SHORTLIFFE, Stanford University School of Medicine IVAN E. SUTHERLAND, Sun Microsystems LAWRENCE G. TESLER, Apple Computer, Inc. GEORGE L. TURIN, Teknekron Corporation WILLIS H. WARE, The RAND Corporation WILLIAM WULF, University of Virginia MARJORY S. BLUMENTHAL, Director HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Staff Officer MONICA KRUEGER, Staff Officer RENEE A. HAWKINS, Staff Associate DONNA F. ALLEN, Administrative Assistant ARTHUR L. McCORD, Project Assistant lo
COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS NORMAN HACKERMAN, Robert A. Welch Foundation, Chairman PETER I. BICKEL, University of California at Berkeley GEORGE F. CARRIER, Harvard University GEORGE W. CLARK, Massachusetts Institute of Technology DEAN E. EASTMAN, IBM TV. Watson Research Center MARYE ANNE FOX, University of Texas PHILLIP A. GRIFFITHS, Institute for Advanced Study NEAL F. LANE, Rice University ROBERT W. LUCKY, AT&T Bell Laboratories CLAIRE E. MAX, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory CHRISTOPHER F. McKEE, University of California at Berkeley NAMES W. MITCHELL, AT&T Bell Laboratories RICHARD S. NICHOLSON, American Association for the Advancement of Science ALAN SCHRIESHEIM, Argonne National Laboratory KENNETH G. WILSON, Ohio State University NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director v
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering pro- grams aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and rec- ognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sci- ences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congression- al charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is presi- dent of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Acade- my's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Func- tioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is adminis- tered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Re- search Council. V]
Preface In April 1990, the Computer Science and Technology Board (now the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB)) of the National Research Council formed the Committee to Assess the Scope and Direction of Computer Science and Technology. Composed of 16 individuals from industry and academia, the committee was charged with assessing how best to organize the conduct of research and teaching in computer science and engineering (CS&E) in the future. The com- mittee took a broad outlook on its charge but chose to focus its ef- forts primarily on academic CS&E, which is both a major source of trained personnel at all levels (for itself and for industry and com- merce) and a very important performer of research in the field. This dual role suggests that positive changes in academic CS&E will have high leverage throughout industry and academia. The committee addressed four questions in its deliberations: 1. What is CS&E? What characterizes the intellectual content of the field? How is it different from other fields? What are the impli- cations of rapid technological change for the field? What is the sci- ence that underpins hardware and software computer technology? 2. How is the field doing? What are the accomplishments of the field? What is the impact of the field on society? What is the demo- graphic profile of the field? 3. What should the field be doing? To what extent and in what direc- tions should the field change its educational and research agenda? . . vet
. ~ ~ VIll PREFACE How can the academic and industrial sectors work together more effectively? 4. What does the geld need in order to prosper? Are current funding emphases appropriate? What structural or institutional changes (if any) are necessary to support academic CS&E as it evolves into the next century? These questions are particularly appropriate given the circumstances of today. From its beginnings as an organized and independent aca- demic discipline in the 1960s, academic CS&E has been quite success- ful. It has witnessed rapid growth in demand for computer scientists and engineers, and it has worked hand in hand with the computer industry, demonstrating the remarkably rich interaction possible be tween academic and industrial CS&E research. Indeed, together aca- demic and industrial CS&E research have in a few short decades laid the intellectual foundation and created the scientific base for one of the most important technologies of the future. But today, both the intellectual focus of academic CS&E and the environment in which academic CS&E is embedded are in the midst of significant change. The traditional intellectual boundaries of aca- demic CS&E are blurring with the rise of in-depth programs and ~ ~ Universities themselves are re activities in computational science trenching; the computer industry is undergoing substantial and rap- id restructuring; and the increasingly apparent utility of computing in all aspects of society is creating demands for computing technolo- gy that is more powerful and easier to use. Such changes motivate the forward-looking assessment of the field that this report attempts to provide. Given the increasing pervasiveness of computer-related technolo- gies in all aspects of society, the committee believes that several key groups will benefit from an assessment of the state of academic CS&E: · Federal policy makers, who have considerable influence in deter- mining intellectual directions of the field through their control of research budgets and funding levels; · Academic computer scientists and engineers, who are the "troops on the ground" that do research and teach students; · University administrators, who play key roles in setting the intel- lectual tone of the academic environment; and ~ · Industry, which is by far the major employer of CS&E baccalau- reate holders, one of the major employers of CS&E Ph.D. recipients, and (in the computer industry) a key player in CS&E research.
PREFACE lX Each of these groups has a different perspective on the ir~tellectu- al, fiscal, institutional, and cultural influences on the field, and the committee devoted considerable effort to forging a consensus on what should be done in the face of the different intellectual traditions that characterize various subfields of CS&E and of different views on the nature of the problems that the field faces. This report does not address international dimensions of CS&E in any detail or depth, other than to note that the importance of CS&E as an area of research is recognized all over the world. Although the committee believes strongly that international aspects of the field are worth considering, it had neither the expertise nor the resources to focus on such aspects. Appropriate sponsoring agencies and Me Computer Science and Telecommunications Board may wish to consider a study that addresses international dimensions of the field. The report is divided into two parts. Part I addresses in broad strokes the fundamental challenges facing the field and what the com- mittee believes is an appropriate response to these challenges. Part II elaborates on certain issues in greater detail. In particular, the reader unfamiliar with CS&E as an intellectual discipline will find the nec- essary background in Chapter 6. Readers unfamiliar with the institu- tional infrastructure of academic CS&E or the demographics of the field will find additional detail in Chapters 7 and 8, respectively. A variety of previous studies have addressed important aspects of the field. The Taulbee surveys) of the past several years have report- ed on human resource issues in CS&E, CSTB's report The National Challenge in Computer Science and Technology2 discussed research op- portunities in the field, and the Hopcroft-Ker~nedy reports described iDavid Gries, "The 1984-1985 Taulbee Survey," Communications of the ACM, Volume 29(10), October 1986, pp. 972-977; David Gries, "The 1985-1986 Taulbee Survey," Com- munications of the ACM, Volume 30(8), August 1987, pp. 688-694; David Gries and Dorothy Marsh, "The 1986-1987 Taulbee Survey," Communications of the ACM, Volume 31(8), August 1988, pp. 984-991; David Gries and Dorothy Marsh, "The 1987-1988 Taulbee Survey," Communications of the ACM, Volume 32(10), October 1989, pp. 1217- 1224; David Gries and Dorothy Marsh, "The 1988-1989 Taulbee Survey," Communica- tions of the ACM, Volume 33(9), September 1990, pp. 160-169; David Gries and Dorothy Marsh, ''The 1989-1990 Taulbee Survey," Computing Research News, Volume 3(1), Janu- ary 1991; and David Gries and Dorothy Marsh, "The 1990-1991 Taulbee Survey," Com- puting Research News, Volume 4(1), January 1992, pp. 8 If. 2Computer Science and Technology Board, National Research Council, The National Challenge in Computer Science and Technology, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1988. 3John E. Hopcroft and Kenneth W. Kennedy, eds., Computer Science Achievements and Opportunities, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Philadelphia, 1989.
x PREFACE the scientific contributions of CS&E. The 1989 ACM-CPA confer- ence, published as Strategic Directions in Computer Research,4 discussed structural and long-rar~ge issues-for the field. These studies pro~rid- ed a strong foundation on which the committee built its comprehen- sive and integrated assessment. In addition, the CSTB, in cooperation with the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel at the National Research Council, con- ducted a companion project on human resources concurrently with this project. The key activity of this project, a workshop on human resources in computer science and technology held on October 28-29, 1991, addressed the utility of current and proposed new taxonomies for classifying computing professionals and considered present and future supply-and-demand issues for the labor market for computer specialists. Participants in the workshop included experts in com- puter science and technology, labor market analysis, and the admin- istration of human resources. While certain insights of this work- shop have been incorporated into this report, a full report based on this workshop is expected to be released in the summer of 1992. The Committee to Assess the Scope and Direction of Computer Science and Technology met in June and September of 1990 and in February, June, and September of 1991. It received input through briefings and interviews with a variety of federal government offi- cials and representatives from the computer industry, from several major commercial users of computer and information technology, and, through the Computing Research Association, from heads of depart- ments granting Ph.D.s in CS&E. The committee appreciates the time and thoughtful attention pro- ~rided by numerous individuals, who are listed in the appendix; in particular the comments and criticisms of reviewers of early drafts of this report are gratefully acknowledged. Of course, the findings, conclusions, and judgments of this report are solely the responsibili- ty of the committee. A variety of government agencies that sponsor computer research and professional organizations in the computer field were interested in conducting a broad-ranging assessment of the health of the field. Some of them generously provided funding for this project; they in- clude the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Association for Com- puting Machinery, Inc. 4Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Computing Research Associ- ation (CRA), Strategic Directions in Computing Research, ACM Press, New York, 1990.
Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY PART I 1 COMPUTING SIGNIFICANCE, STATUS, CHALLENGES Computing in Society, 13 Scope and Purpose of This Report, 18 Computer Science and Engineering, 19 Contributions of CS&E to Computing Practice, 24 Computing as a Two-edged Sword, 26 The Relationship Between the Federal Government and CS&E Research, 28 The Relationship Between CS&E and the Computer Industry, 38 The Changing Environment for Academic CS&E, 45 Summary and Conclusions, 49 Notes, 49 2 LOOKING TO THE FUTURE OF CS&E Broadening the Field, 55 A Historical Perspective, 60 Research Opportunities in Broadening, 64 A Broader Research Agenda-Some Illustrations, 69 Broadening Educational Horizons in CS&E, 85 A Special Role for University-Industry-Commerce Interaction, 86 Xl 1 13 55
X11 Prerequisites for Broadening, 87 Summary and Conclusions, 90 Notes, 90 3 A CORE CS&E RESEARCH AGENDA FOR THE FUTURE Processor Capabilities and Multiple-processor Systems, 97 Data Communications and Networking, 101 Software Engineering, 103 Information Storage and Management, 107 Reliability, 110 User Interfaces, 111 Summary and Conclusions, 113 Notes, 114 4 EDUCATION IN CS&E Undergraduate Education in CS&E, 118 The Master's Degree in CS&E, 130 The Ph.D. Degree in CS&E, 131 Employment Expectations for Holders of CS&E Degrees, 133 Continuing Education, 133 Precollege CS&E Education, 135 Summary and Conclusions, 136 Notes, 136 5 RECOMMENDATIONS Overall Priorities, 139 Recommendations Regarding Research, 143 Recommendations Regarding Education, 151 Conclusions, 157 Notes, 158 PART II 6 WHAT IS COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING? Computer Science and Engineering, 163 Abstractions in Computer Systems, 168 Selected Accomplishments, 174 Synergy Leading to Innovations and Rapid Progress, 212 Intellectual and Structural Characteristics of CS&E as a Discipline, 213 Notes, 214 CONTENTS 95 116 139 163
CONTENTS 7 INSTITUTIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE OF ACADEMIC CS&E Federal Agencies Funding Computer Science and Engineering, 217 Private Nongovernmental Organizations, 231 Notes, 237 8 HUMAN RESOURCES Baccalaureate and Post-baccalaureate Degree Production, 239 Composition of Academic CS&E, 246 Notes, 259 APPENDIX Contributors to Computing the Future INDEX Xlll 217 239 261 265