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Introduction
Pages 18-47

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From page 18...
... The nation's dependence on the vitality of the technology base for IT was underscored in the late l990s by such voices as the chairman of the Federal Reserve, the director of the National Science Foundation, and the President of the United States. This technology base and tomorrow's information economy depend, in turn, on continued research on IT.
From page 19...
... This question remains central to contemporary political debate about federal budgets for IT research, despite recent increases in funding. The difficulty of explaining and justifying federal IT research spending influenced the evolution and eventual transformation of the first large federal IT research initiative, the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative (HPCCI)
From page 20...
... In addition, industry has faced increasing pressures to streamline research and development (R&D) as a result of waves of structural change in the IT industries in the 1980s and l990s.3 These conditions discourage investments of time and money in research, instead favoring the creative exploitation of existing science and technology in the guise of new products.
From page 22...
... For instance, controllers are now embedded within products such as cellular telephones and automobile transmissions, and complex information systems are used to manage air traffic, book air travel reservations, and process electronic commerce transactions. Research has borne fruit in a cumulative manner, transforming the IT baseline.
From page 23...
... or the fundamental limits on capacities of communications channels. Other research investigates different classes of IT systems, such as user interfaces, the Web, or electronic mail (e-mail)
From page 25...
... Progress in IT can come from research in many different disciplines. For example, work on the physics of silicon can be considered IT research if it is driven by problems related to computer chips; the work of electrical engineers is considered IT research if it focuses on communications or semiconductor devices; anthropologists and other social scientists studying the uses of new technology can be doing IT research if their work informs the development and deployment of new IT applications; and computer scientists and computer engineers address a widening range of issues, from generating fundamental principles for the behavior of information in systems to developing new concepts for systems.
From page 26...
... Another, more useful classification, developed by Donald Stokes, overcomes these limitations by explicitly separating the usefulness of research results from the degree to which the research seeks fundamental understanding (Stokes, 1997~. It classifies research along two dimensions: whether use is considered, and whether or not the research pursues fundamental understanding (Figure 1.1~.
From page 27...
... A considerable amount of basic IT has been developed as a result of Pasteur-style research that focuses on understanding the fundamental principles of information representation and behavior, addresses widespread and enduring problems, and yields broad capabilities rather than a specific product or system (e.g., better ways to specify, build, and maintain software of all sorts)
From page 28...
... In one example from industry, a research project investigated how to obtain maximum data rates from a specific disk drive attached to a specific computer that was to be used to transmit digital video data over a network in real time. Unlike conventional disk-driver software, which sacrifices performance to ensure that there are no errors in the data read from the disk, this application emphasized speed above all else.
From page 29...
... Part of the misunderstanding lies in the available data, part in interpretation of the data. THE CHANGING ENVIRONMENT FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH The 1990s witnessed the rise of a new environment for IT research investments.
From page 30...
... constrained federal funding for university research in the early 1990s, affecting career decisions and research output in ways that are beginning to have an impact now. Efforts to enhance accountability in federal government operations and spending also led to increasing support for near
From page 31...
... . External validation of these claims may be gauged not only from industry growth, which lags research investments, but also in flows of venture capital funds, which, according to the CBO, "raise the efficiency of existing R&D by raising the rate at which ideas developed in the laboratory are brought to market" (Webre, 1999~.
From page 32...
... The shortcomings of this mode of operation are obvious in the areas of security where, for example, the cycle of iterative product release, public announcement of product flaws, and product fixes has become the norm (CSTB, l999b) and of usability, where, for example, the lack of time for studying how real people with differing abilities use systems and what they need and want from the systems continues to constrain ease of use (CSTB, 1997~.
From page 33...
... As a result, it is becoming much less appropriate to design applications with the assumption that they will be implemented, deployed, operated, and maintained in a coordinated fashion under central control.8 Increasing complexity and sophistication are predictable trends. They are standard phenomena in technologically advanced industries, in which productivity gains, fundamental innovations, and difficult, if less fundamental, research problems continue for many years.9 A corollary is the generation of research problems, discussed in the subsequent chapters, that arise from technical complexity.
From page 34...
... The shortcomings in the current state of technology supporting social applications of IT are painfully evident. Engineers are building IT systems that venture beyond the state of knowledge, much as designers of the Tacoma Narrows bridge ventured too far into lightweight suspension bridge design.~° Today's news reports of system outages in electronic trading, Internet access, and telephony signal that users expect IT systems to have characteristics of reliability and availability that parallel those of physical infrastructures, such as roads, bridges, and power supplies.
From page 35...
... They could become characteristics of systems used for health care, education, manufacturing, and other social applications that have become widespread.~3 The continued development of computing systems embedded in other devices and systems promises to exacerbate these problems. Microprocessors are being incorporated into an increasing array of devices, from automobile transmissions and coffeemakers to a range of electronic measuring devices, such as thermostats, pollution detectors, cameras, microphones, and medical devices (Business Week Online, l999b)
From page 36...
... These include the practical difficulties of changing existing approaches and infrastructure, known by economists as "path-dependent effects" and "lock-in." But even if these economic obstacles could be overcome, there is simply a lack of fundamental understanding of how the technology could be made to better serve the social applications of IT. Furthermore, there are serious gaps in the methodologies for translating contextual application requirements into concrete architectures and specifications for a software implementation (as well as gaps in methods for modifying the context to take maximum advantage of IT)
From page 37...
... IMPLICATIONS FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH The challenges posed by large-scale IT systems and the social applications of IT can be addressed effectively only if the IT research base is expanded. Past research in IT has tended to focus on areas such as the following: · Fundamental understanding of the limitations on computation and communications; · Underlying technologies (such as integrated circuits)
From page 38...
... Its recommendations sought to sustain the core effort in computer science and engineering (similar to "components" research as defined in this report) while simultaneously broadening the field to explore intellectual opportunities available at the intersection of computer science and engineering and other problem domains (see Box 1.4~.
From page 40...
... 40 MAKING IT BETTER challenges, such as trustworthiness, scalability, and location transparency, associated with large-scale systems and (2) challenges that surround the molding of embedded IT within its application context, that is, within the social applications of IT.
From page 41...
... As this report argues, research in components, systems, and applications is needed to ensure the development of fundamental understanding that will allow IT systems to evolve to meet society's growing needs. This is not research directed at finding a more effective way to use IT in a narrow application domain; rather, it is research directed at revolutionizing the understanding of how distributed computing environments with decentralized design and operations can offer predictable, reproducible performance and capability and controlled vulnerability.
From page 42...
... This is necessary not only to broaden the funding base to include those who directly benefit from the fruits of the research, but also to obtain input and guidance. An understanding of business practices and processes is needed to support the evolution of ecommerce; insight from the social sciences is needed to build IT systems that are truly user-friendly and that help people work better together.
From page 43...
... lust as IT and the widespread access to it provided by the Web have enabled businesses to reinvent themselves, IT could dramatically improve operations and reduce the costs of applications in public health, air traffic control, and social security; government agencies, like private-sector organizations, are turning increasingly to commercial, off-the-shelf technology. Universities will play a critical role in expanding the IT research agenda.
From page 44...
... " Business Week, May 26. Available online at .
From page 45...
... Council on Competitiveness, Washington, D.C., September. Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIAO)
From page 46...
... Because it has been strongly supported by funding agencies and the research community, scientific computing is an inspirational example of the interrelationship and synergy between application and technology. Scientific computing applications have been a major driver of high-performance computing technologies and parallel programming techniques.
From page 47...
... The directive also established the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIAO) , which was charged with integrating the plans of various industry sectors into a national plan for infrastructure assurance and with coordinating an analysis of the federal government's own dependence on critical infrastructures.


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