In their FY2000 budget, President Clinton and Vice President Gore propose a $366 million (28%) increase in the government's investment in information technology research. This initiative, known as IT2 (Information Technology for the Twenty-First Century), will support three kinds of activities:

- Long-term information technology research that will lead to fundamental advances in computing and communications, in the same way that government investment beginning in the 1960's led to today's Internet;

- Advanced computing for science, engineering and the Nation that will lead to breakthroughs such as reducing the time required to develop life-saving drugs; designing cleaner, more efficient engines; and more accurately predicting tornadoes; and

- Research on the economic and social implications of the Information Revolution, and efforts to help train additional IT workers at our universities.

The potential benefits of IT2 are compelling:

- The results of past government research (e.g. the Internet, the first graphical Web browser, advanced microprocessors) have helped strengthen American leadership in the IT industry, which now accounts for one-third of U.S. economic growth and employs 7.4 million Americans at wages that are more than 60% higher than the private sector average. All sectors of the U.S. economy are using IT to compete and win in global markets. Business-to-business electronic commerce in the U.S. alone is projected to grow to $1.3 trillion by 2003.

- Information technology is changing the way we live, work, learn, and communicate with each other. Advances in IT can improve the way we educate our children, allow people with disabilities to lead more independent lives, and improve the quality of health care for rural Americans through telemedicine. U.S. leadership in IT is also essential for our national security.

- Information technology will also lead to a "golden age" of science and engineering. Advances in supercomputers, simulation and networks are creating a new window into the natural world -- making IT as valuable as theory and experimentation as a tool for scientific discovery. With computers that can make trillions of calculations in a second, scientists and engineers will be able to better predict the impact of climate change, design more efficient and cleaner energy systems, and gain new insights into the fundamental nature of matter.

The initiative builds on previous and current programs in computing and communications, including the High-Performance Computing and Communications program (authorized by legislation introduced by then-Senator Gore), and the Next Generation Internet, authorized by the Congress in 1998. It responds to recommendations made by a private sector advisory committee authorized by the Congress (the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee), which concluded that the government was underinvesting in long-term IT research relative to its importance to the Nation. This committee, which is composed of leaders from industry and academia, concluded that the private sector was unlikely to invest in the long-term, fundamental IT research needed to sustain the Information Revolution. The initiative also reflects a strong belief in the research community about the potential of IT to accelerate the pace of discovery in all science and engineering disciplines.

The agencies involved in IT2 include the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense (including DARPA), the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Roughly 60% of the funding will go to support university-based research, which will also help meet the growing demand for workers with advanced IT skills.

Some of the potential breakthroughs that may be possible as a result of IT2 include:

- Computers that are much easier to use -- that can speak, listen and understand human language, and accurately translate languages in real-time;

- "Intelligent agents" that can roam the Internet, retrieving and summarizing the information sought in a vast ocean of data;

- A wide range of scientific and technological discoveries made possible by supercomputer simulations, accessible to researchers all over the country;

- Networks that can grow to connect not only tens of millions of computers, but hundreds of billions of devices;

- Computers that are thousands of times faster than today's supercomputers, or that are based on fundamentally different technology, such as biological or quantum computing; and

New ways of developing complex software that is more reliable, easier to maintain, and more dependable for running the phone system, the electric power grid, financial markets, and other core elements of our national infrastructure.
Fundamental Information Technology Research
Advanced Computing for Science, Engineering, and the Nation
Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications and Workforce Programs
$ 6M
$ 62M
$ 2M
$ 70M
$ 18M
$ 9M
$ 1M
$ 38M
$ 2M
$ 2M
$ 2M
$ 6M
$ 2M
$ 4M
$ 6M
$ 36M

Office of Science and Technology Policy
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W
Washington, DC 20502
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