August 3, 2001

HPWREN PI Testifies Before House Committee on Science

A July 31 Congressional hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Research included testimony from HPWREN PI Hans-Werner Braun, a research scientist at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California, San Diego.

Braun's testimony concentrated on the HPWREN project and its impact upon research and education communities in remote areas. "I believe that the involvement of the federal government in the evolution of the Internet is as crucial as ever," reads Braun's testimony. "While the federal government has historically played a key role in driving the network performance edge, significant areas remain underdeveloped, including the sophistication of Internet applications and national network ubiquity fulfilling demanding performance requirements."

Entitled "Innovation in Information Technology: Beyond Faster Computers and Higher Bandwidth", the hearing focused on the impact of federal investment upon promoting information technology innovation and fostering an array of sophisticated applications that infuse information technology into areas including education, scientific research, and delivery of public services. The hearing also examined the limits of current technology and highlighted research questions and technological applications that require additional investment.

"On June 26th, we met to examine the federal investment in IT research and development and to understand how that investment is divided up among agencies and research priority areas. That hearing covered the federal IT oversight structure and the recommendations of both the President’s Information Technology Advisory Council, or PITAC, and the Interagency Working Group on Information Technology R&D," said Research Subcommittee Chairman Nick Smith (R-MI). "Both oversight groups recommended increased support for long-term, high risk and high potential IT research while the July 31st hearing focused more closely on the way the National Science Foundation uses the recommendations of oversight groups and other members of the community to prioritize its IT R&D funding."

"As this subcommittee moves ahead with legislation to authorize the federal role in supporting IT research, I hope our witnesses can also share their impressions of NSF’s role in the process," Smith said.

Hearing Preparation

In addition to Braun's testimony, the July 31 hearing witnesses included Ruzena Bajcsy, Assistant Director for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at National Science Foundation (NSF). Bajcsy discussed the NSF's Information Technology Research (ITR) Program.

"Ultimately, the goal of ITR is ubiquitous connectivity and access for all, including the elimination of the persistent digital divide that separates the 'haves' from the 'have-nots',” reads Bajcsy's testimony. "In order to achieve this overarching goal, we will need to solve many deep, high end research issues in architecture, networking, sensor IT, I/O devices, and system security, reliability, and error recovery while developing or evolving entirely new methods of computing and communication."

"We must also not lose sight of the need to support our undergraduates, graduates, and the workforce itself, preparing them to serve as eventual leaders in the IT revolution." she said. "These are indeed challenging times. And NSF is doing its part to help lead the United States and every U. S. citizen toward a happier and more productive new century."

The Science Committee consists of four subcommittees: Research; Space and Aeronautics; Environment, Technology and Standards; and Energy. The Research Subcommittee has oversight and authorization reponsibility for the NSF and its budget. In addition, the Research Subcommittee deals with science and research issues related to:

• science and math education
• federal R&D funding
• academic/industry partnerships
• biotechnology, information technology, astronomy, oceans/marine research, antartic research
• fire administration
• results act
• and more

The Research Subcommittee is chaired by Nick Smith (R-MI) and the ranking minority member is Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

Braun's testimony can be found on the web at http://www.house.gov/science/research/jul31/braun.htm and http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/HPWREN-C107-testimony-20010731/.

Photographs depicting preparation for this activity are available at http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/Photos/20010801/.


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