Published: Sept. 12, 2000

The National Science Foundation announced today its first grants under the agency’s new $90 million Information Technology Research initiative, which included more than $6 million to the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The awards are designed to spur fundamental research and innovative applications in information technology. A total of 210 projects were selected from more than 1,400 proposals. The selected proposals will promote information technology driven science and engineering, of growing importance to the economy.

"This initiative will help strengthen America’s leadership in a sector that has accounted for one-third of U.S. economic growth in recent years," said President Bill Clinton in a statement. "High technology is generating jobs that pay 85 percent more than the average private sector wage. I am pleased the National Science Foundation is expanding its investment in long-term information technology research."

Robert Schnabel, associate vice chancellor for academic and campus technology and the faculty director of CU-Boulder’s Alliance for Technology Learning and Society, or ATLAS, said he was pleased with the success of the campus proposals. ATLAS is a major campus initiative begun in 1997 to prepare students from all disciplines for lives and careers in the information age through innovative curricula, instruction, research and community outreach.

"I think the thing most impressive about CU-Boulder’s success in this national competition is the breadth and quality of the projects that were funded," said Schnabel. "We were successful in core information technology, computational science and societal issues, which all are critical to the future of our nation."

Information technology research, or ITR, includes software, scalable information, information management and revolutionary computing. It also entails human-computer interfaces, advanced computational science, education, the workforce, and the social and economic implications that accompany it.

CU-Boulder awards from NSF’s Information Technology Research initiative include:

o *$4 million to the Institute of Cognitive Science’s Center for Spoken Language Research to improve reading of under achieving children by designing computer-based, interactive "reading tutors" that incorporate new speech and language technologies. The tutors will include new and improved auditory and visual speech recognition and facial animation technology. Principal investigator is Ron Cole, director of the Center for Spoken Language Research.

o *$500,000 to the computer science department to build a simulation framework in order to model future wireless computer and communication networks. The principal investigator is Associate Professor Dirk Grunwald.

o *$499,000 to the electrical and computer engineering department to develop new technology for ultra-high speed information processing, communication and computing using new devices that include novel optical switching systems. The principal investigator is Associate Professor Kelvin Wagner.

o *$467,000 to the computer science department to develop data-adaptive simulation techniques for applications to Micro-Electrical-Mechanical Systems, or MEMS. Researchers will attempt to model tiny, flexible moving structures with high-speed chaotic fluids. Principal investigator is Associate Professor Elizabeth Bradley.

o *$448,600 to the computer science department to develop research, curriculum and partnerships for broadening the information technology pipeline. The project will allow students from virtually all disciplines to obtain skills in technology, arts and media to prepare them for the modern information technology workforce. Project coordinators will increase the diversity of academic disciplines involved in ITR and apply the approach to racially diverse student populations at CU-Boulder and Tuskegee University. Principal investigator is Professor Robert Schnabel.

o *$211,000 to the applied mathematics department to develop a numerical methodology for solving fluid dynamics problems and applying them to atmospheric flow simulations. The project will have a significant impact on the speed and accuracy of atmospheric simulations and weather prediction. Principal investigator is Professor Gregory Beylkin.

Several other CU-Boulder faculty members are co-principal investigators on major ITR awards from the NSF that are based at other universities around the nation.