President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program Report Release Event

On Thursday, December 16, 2010, from 2:15-3:15 pm, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will release and discuss its report entitled "Designing a Digital Future: Federally Funded Research and Development in Networking and Information Technology." This congressionally-mandated report assesses the status and direction of the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program.

Our world today relies to an astonishing degree on networking and information technology systems, tools, and services. From smartphones and social networks to computer-assisted surgery and battlefield robots, it is no exaggeration to say that this field today underpins the Nation's prosperity, health, and security.  In recent decades it has also boosted U.S. labor productivity more than any other set of forces.

The term "NITRD Program" refers both to the mechanism by which the Federal Government coordinates its unclassified R&D investments in NIT, and to the unclassified Federal NIT R&D research portfolio.   Fourteen Federal agencies, including all of the large science and technology agencies, are formal members of the NITRD Program, with many other Federal entities participating in NITRD activities. The program helps ensure that the Nation effectively leverages its strengths, avoids duplication, and increases interoperability in such critical areas as supercomputing, high-speed networking, cybersecurity, software engineering, and information management.

The new PCAST report will be released at a public briefing at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC (closest metro stop: Metro Center).  The event will be moderated by Aneesh Chopra, Federal Chief Technology Officer, and feature opening remarks by Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer.  The report will be summarized by the co-chairs of PCAST's NITRD working group, David Shaw, Chief Scientist of D. E. Shaw Research, and Ed Lazowska, Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. Susan Graham, a working group member, will join the working group co-chairs in answering questions about the report.  Independent discussants Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and Tom Leighton, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Co-founder and Chief Scientist of Akamai Technologies will provide comments on the report.  Press and the public will have an opportunity to ask questions following the presentations.
To register to attend the meeting, please visit


PCAST is an advisory group of the nation's leading scientists and engineers, appointed by the President to augment the science and technology advice available to him from inside the White House and from cabinet departments and other federal agencies.  PCAST is consulted about and often makes policy recommendations concerning the full range of policy issues in the domains of science, technology, and innovation. For more information on PCAST, including its membership, see



2:15 pm


Aneesh Chopra, Federal Chief Technology Officer

Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer

Philip Weiser, Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation to the National Economic Council Director




Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy


2:35 pm


Summary of the PCAST Report: Ed Lazowska and David Shaw, Co-chairs of PCAST's NITRD Working Group


2:55 pm


Remarks by Private Sector Discussants:
Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Tom Leighton, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founder and chief scientist of Akamai Technologies.


3:05 pm


Audience Q&A: Moderated by Aneesh Chopra


3:15 pm