More federal funding needed for IT research, study says

More federal funding needed for IT research, study says

MAY 22'The federal government must increase its spending on research if the pace of information technology development is to continue, a new report from the National Research Council says.

"The future of IT, and the society it increasingly powers, depends on continued investments in research," the council concluded.

"Despite the incredible progress made over the past five decades, IT is anything but mature, stable technology. Revolutionary new technologies based on quantum physics, molecular chemistry and biological processes are being examined as replacements for or complements to the silicon-based chips that perform the basic computations," according to the report, Making IT Better: Expanding the Scope of Information Technology to Meet Society's Needs.

The council recommended an increase in funding for fundamental IT research. The President's IT Advisory Committee last year made a similar recommendation [see story at www.gcn.com/vol19_no1/enterprise/1100-1.html].

The report also calls for improved statistics on government and industrial investments in IT research. The current data is inconsistent, said David G. Messerschmitt, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He is co-chairman of the Committee on IT Research in a Competitive World, which conducted the NRC study.

The council recommended sustained funding for component research. The component category cuts across the semiconductor, computer, communications and software fields.

More information about the report can be found at www.cstb.org.

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