Computer science reaping benefits of Clinton budget proposal

President Bill Clinton's announcement last week that he plans to request $2.2 billion for government-funded research includes a record increase for the National Science Foundation that would boost development of new computing and nanoscale technologies.

The president's 2001 budget request will include $740 million for IT research and development at the NSF — a 43 percent increase compared to last year. The increase would more than double the largest dollar increase ever received by NSF.

The funding primarily would boost investments in university-based research. IT research will help the agency foster the development of quantum computing, DNA computing and new techniques for designing and constructing software. It also will enable the agency to study the social and cultural impacts of technological change that may lead to changes in how new technologies are introduced to users.

NSF has taken the lead in multiagency efforts in IT research that includes advanced computing and networking, said Tom Garritano, NSF spokesman for the Computing Information Science and Engineering division.

In 2000, NSF was given $36 million to fund the establishment of a terascale computing center that has the capability to process 5 trillion operations per second, Garritano said. The solicitation for the center is due out in April. The 2001 budget request also will include funding for a second terascale computing center to support the civilian research community.

NSF also will be more heavily involved in the development of nanotechnologies that can be used to monitor assets, create high-speed computers and store large amounts of data.

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