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Event: NITRD 20th Anniversary Symposium
Location: The Knight Conference Center, Newseum, Washington D.C.
Date: February 16, 2012



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.

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.)



The Honorable Al Gore
45th Vice President of the United States
(keynote video)



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



Welcome Remarks & the IT Innovation Ecosystem

  • Farnam Jahanian, Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, National Science Foundation, & Co-Chair of NITRD Subcommittee (video, pdf)
  • George Strawn, 11th NITRD NCO Director, Co-Chair of NITRD Subcommittee (video)

A Day in the Life

  • Jeannette Wing, Carnegie Mellon University (video, pdf)

Information Technology and People

Moderator: Charles Romine, 8th NITRD NCO Director

  • Human Language Technology: What Machines Do with Text and Speech, Kevin Knight, USC Information Sciences Institute (video, pdf)
  • As We May Think: The Legacy of Computing Research and the Power of Human Cognition, Elizabeth Mynatt, Georgia Institute of Technology (video, pdf)
  • Privacy, Information Technology, and Digital Media, Helen Nissenbaum, New York University (video, pdf)

Information Technology in the Physical World

Moderator: Christopher Greer, 9th NITRD NCO Director

  • Reinventing Mobility, Sebastian Thrun, Google and Stanford University (video, pdf)
  • The Role of Sensors in Our Daily Lives, Shwetak Patel, University of Washington (video, pdf)

The Economic Impact of NITRD

Moderator: Paul Messina, Argonne National Laboratory

  • The Economic Impact of Information Technology, Erik Brynjolfsson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (video, pdf)
  • The Modeling and Simulation Behind Improving Everyday Life, Tom Lange, Procter & Gamble (video, pdf)

Building Blocks of Information Technology

Moderator: Barbara Helland, Department of Energy

  • NITRD and the Internet, Vint Cerf, Google (video, pdf)
  • Software and Strategy, William Scherlis, Carnegie Mellon University (video, pdf)
  • Successes and Challenges of Computer Security Research, Stefan Savage, University of California, San Diego (video, pdf)

Information Technology for the Advancement of Science

Moderator: Karin Remington, National Institute of General Medical Sciences

  • Chain Reactions: Information Technology and Biomedical Discovery, Russ Altman, Stanford University (video, pdf)
  • High Performance Computing in Science and Engineering: The Tree and the Fruit, David Keyes, Columbia University & KAUST (video, pdf)
  • More and Moore: Growing Computing Performance for Scientific Discovery, Katherine Yelick, University of California, Berkeley, & Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (video, pdf)

Information Technology and the World of Data

Moderator: Cita Furlani, 5th NITRD NCO Director

  • This Research Made Watson Possible, Eric Brown, IBM (video, pdf)
  • Data to Insights to Actions: Enabling Evidence-based Healthcare, Eric Horvitz, Microsoft Research (video, pdf)
  • Data-Intensive Discovery in Science: The Fourth Paradigm, Alexander Szalay, Johns Hopkins University (video, pdf)

Future “Big Ideas” Panel

Moderator: Thomas Kalil, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

  • Peter Lee, Microsoft Research
  • Elizabeth Mynatt, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Stefan Savage, University of California, San Diego
  • Charles Vest, National Academy of Engineering

Closing Remarks


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


The materials on this webpage were provided by the Computing Community Consortium (CCC). All materials including speakers’ slides and videos, are copyright the author(s). Permission is granted for non-commercial use with credit to the author(s) and the Computing Community Consortium (CCC).