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Innovations in Computing and Communications: Lessons From History


 Funding a Revolution: Government Support for Computing Research
The report reviews the history of innovation in computing and related communications technologies, identifying factors contributing to the nation's success in the field, illuminating the role of the federal government in funding computer research, and relating government support to developments in the private sector. Launched with a prepublication briefing November 9, 1998, it has informed discussions on proposals for increased federal funding for information technology. (1999)

Project Scope

This project will review the history of computing and communications technology to derive inferences for public policy. It will examine key technological developments, research programs, and careers to identify factors underlying and driving the fertility of the information technology industry over the past 50 years. Principal issue will be the relationship between public and private investment, the relative effectiveness of alternative incentives and mechanisms for conducting or supporting research and development, and the actual extent and nature of potential market failures that might motivate policy intervention.

Committee Members

Thomas Hughes, University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair
Gwen Bell, The Computer Museum
Erich Bloch, Council on Competitiveness
Robert Bressler, Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Paul David, Oxford University and Stanford University
Marvin Denicoff, Office of Naval Research (retired)
David Hounshell, Carnegie Mellon University
Amos E. Joel, Jr., Lucent Technologies, Inc. (retired)
Timothy Lenoir, Stanford University
Douglas Mcilroy, Dartmouth College
Emerson Pugh, IBM Corporation (retired)
Charles Seitz, Myricom Corporation
Charles Thacker, Microsoft Corporation

Related Publications from Other CSTB Projects

Evolving the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative to Support the Nation's Information Infrastructure


Jerry R. Sheehan, Senior Program Officer (study director after February 1997)
Marjory S. Blumenthal, Director (study director through February 1997)
David Mindell, CSTB Consultant
Jed Gordon, Research Aide
Leslie M. Wade, Research Assistant (through March 1997)
David Padgham, Project Assistant (starting August 1998)
Mickelle Rodgers, Project Assistant (through August 1998)
Synod P. Boyd, Project Assistant (through December 1997)


National Science Foundation
Association for Computing Machinery
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Computer Society