The Impact of NITRD: Two Decades of Game-Changing Breakthroughs in Network and Information Technology -- Expanding Possibilities Ahead



The United States has a proud history of achievement and leadership in networking and information technology. The Federal Government has played an essential role in fostering the advances in this field that have transformed our world. The Federal investment in networking and information technology research and development is without question one of the best investments our nation has ever made.

While the Federal investment in Networking and Information Technology (NIT) Research and Development (R&D) dates from the birth of the field more than 60 years ago, the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991, recognizing the unique importance NIT R&D to our nation, provided for multi-agency coordination of this investment.

About this Symposium

This daylong, invitation-only symposium in Washington, DC, explores the accomplishments and prospects of this coordinated effort -- now referred to as the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, and involving 15 Federal agencies as full partners.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who spearheaded the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991, will be a featured keynote speaker. Other elements of the program will include modules on information technology and people, information technology in the physical world, information technology for the advancement of science, the building blocks of information technology, and the world of data; as well as a forward-looking panel that considers the roles of government, academia, industry, and the research community as a whole in finding and funding the next "Big Ideas."

The symposium is being organized by the Computing Community Consortium, in collaboration with the National Coordination Office (NCO) for NITRD. (The CCC catalyzes and empowers the computing research community to pursue audacious, high-impact research. The NCO supports the planning, budget, and assessment activities for the Federal government's NITRD program.)

Agenda - Thursday, February 16, 2012

Welcome Remarks & the IT Innovation Ecosystem

  8:15am -   8:45am

Farnam Jahanian, Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, National Science Foundation, & Co-Chair, NITRD Subcommittee
George Strawn, Director, National Coordination Office for NITRD, & Co-Chair, NITRD Subcommittee

"A Day in the Life"

  8:45am -   9:00am

Jeannette Wing, Carnegie Mellon University

Information Technology and People

  9:00am - 10:00am

Human Language Technology: What Machines Do with Text and Speech
Kevin Knight, USC Information Sciences Institute

As We May Think: The Legacy of Computing Research and the Power of Human Cognition
Beth Mynatt, Georgia Institute of Technology

Privacy, Information Technology, and Digital Media
Helen Nissenbaum, New York University


10:00am - 10:10am

Information Technology in the Physical World

10:10am - 10:50am

Reinventing Mobility
Sebastian Thrun, Google

The Role of Sensors in Our Daily Lives
Shwetak Patel, University of Washington

The Economic Impact of NITRD

10:50am - 11:30am

The Economic Impact of Information Technology
Erik Brynjolfsson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Modeling and Simulation Behind Improving Everyday Life
Tom Lange, Procter & Gamble

Luncheon and Keynote

11:30am -   1:00pm

The Honorable Al Gore, 45th Vice President of the U.S.

Building Blocks of Information Technology

  1:00pm -   2:00pm

NITRD and the Internet
Vint Cerf, Google

Software and Strategy
Bill Scherlis, Carnegie Mellon University

Successes and Challenges of Computer Security Research
Stefan Savage, University of California, San Diego

Information Technology for the Advancement of Science

  2:00pm -   3:00pm

Chain Reactions: Information Technology and Biomedical Discovery
Russ Altman, Stanford University

High Performance Computing in Science and Engineering: The Tree and the Fruit
David Keyes, Columbia University & KAUST

More and Moore: Growing Computing Performance for Scientific Discovery
Kathy Yelick, University of California, Berkeley, & Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Featured Speaker

  3:00pm -   3:15pm

The Honorable Tom Davis, formerly U.S. House of Representatives (VA)


  3:15pm -   3:30pm

Information Technology and the World of Data

  3:30pm -   4:30pm

This Research Made Watson Possible
Eric Brown, IBM

Data to Insights to Actions: Enabling Evidence-based Healthcare
Eric Horvitz, Microsoft Research

Data-Intensive Discovery in Science: The Fourth Paradigm
Alex Szalay, Johns Hopkins University

Future "Big Ideas" Panel

  4:30pm -   5:15pm

Tom Kalil, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (moderator)
Peter Lee, Microsoft Research
Beth Mynatt, Georgia Institute of Technology
Stefan Savage, University of California, San Diego
Chuck Vest, National Academy of Engineering

Closing Remarks

  5:15pm -   5:30pm

Ed Lazowska, University of Washington & Computing Community Consortium
Susan Graham, University of California, Berkeley, & Computing Community Consortium

Reception & Agency Showcase

  5:30pm -   7:30pm

On the 8th floor of the Newseum's Knight Conference Center, the NITRD agencies will present booths with flyers, posters, and/or demos highlighting NIT R&D research accomplishments and prospects.


For inquiries, please contact Dr. Erwin Gianchandani, Director of the CCC, at erwin [at]

NITRD - Participating Agencies