Tag Archive: NSF

Information from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

First Person: “Life as a NSF Program Director”

In November 2006, I received a call from a colleague suggesting I apply for a Program Director opening at the National Science Foundation. Prior to his call, I had determined to re-orient my research in machine learning towards environmental applications. It didn’t take long to decide that NSF would be much more a retooling for, rather than a distraction from, this new direction.

National Robotics Initiative

In a speech on U.S. innovation and competitiveness at Carnegie Mellon University in late June1, President Obama announced a new initiative with investments up to $50 million for major advances in next-generation robotics, called the National Robotics Initiative (NRI; http://www.nsf.gov/NRI). The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), together with the Directorates for Engineering; Education and Human Resources; and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, will play a leading role in this cross-agency program that also includes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Endorsement Effort Announced for Proposed AP CS Principles Course

The College Board and the NSF-funded team building the new Advanced Placement test in computing seek endorsements of their effort beginning March 11, 2011. The proposed course, formally known as Computer Science Principles, resulted from a two-year effort to build a curriculum framework for concepts-rich computing class; it relied on wide community input. The course is rigorous, engaging and inspiring. As such, the team hopes to attract a broader, more diverse population of computing majors by exposing high school students to solid CS concepts. They also hope that teaching the course in college—perhaps as CS0—will attract community college and college students to the major as well.

NSF’s Broader Impact Criterion

NSF proposals must address, and are evaluated according to, two fundamental criteria: Intellectual Merit and Broader Impact. Intellectual Merit is well understood (if frequently argued) – how well does the proposed research advance the field? Broader Impact, however, is not nearly as well understood and consequently often has played a more minor role in the review process. This might very well be changing. The purpose of this article is to provide context and information around recent discussions of Broader Impact, and to identify issues that the CISE academic research community may soon face.

Empowering Leadership – An Expanding NSF Alliance Impacting Minority Scholars Nationwide

The Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) program within the CISE Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF), headed up by Program Director Jan Cuny, demonstrates NSF’s serious commitment to increasing the participation of those who have long been underrepresented in computing. Numerous BPC Alliances and Demonstration Projects provide a wide range of services for many underrepresented groups. One such alliance, the Empowering Leadership…

Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced its newest foundation-wide, multi-disciplinary initiative, “Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI),” released as a solicitation http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2007/nsf07603/nsf07603.htm. In a nutshell, CDI is computational thinking for science and engineering. Computational thinking refers to what the CISE community does in research and education on a daily basis: creating and creatively using computational concepts, methods, models, algorithms, and tools.

GENI Moves Forward

In late May, the National Science Foundation, through its directorate on Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), and BBN Technologies announced a cooperative agreement for BBN to operate the GENI Project Office. This announcement came a few months after the announcement of the GENI Science Council (operating under the auspices of the CRA’s Computing Community Consortium). Together the announcements represent a significant step forward in the GENI’s evolution from an idea to reality.

U.S. Computer Science Delegation Visits China

In the spring of 2006, an NSF-sponsored delegation of CS scientists (mostly School Deans and Department Chairs) visited various CS research centers and departments in China and met with peers. The purpose of the visit was to improve our knowledge of CS research in China and to establish a dialogue with our peers. The trip included visits to: Beijing—IBM China Research Lab, Microsoft Research Asia, Institute for Computing Technology (ICT, an institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences), Peking University, and Tsinghua University; Nanjing—Southeast University and Nanjing University; Xi’an—Northwestern Polytechnic University and Xi’an Jiaotong University; Shanghai—Shanghai Jiaotong University; and Suzhou—Suzhou University. In addition, a one-day U.S.-China Computer Science Leadership Summit, held at Beihang University in Beijing, provided an opportunity to discuss issues of common interest.

Sustained Fall in Share of Undergrad CS Degrees Granted to Women

Computer science has the dubious distinction of being the only science field to see a fall in the share of its bachelor’s degrees granted to women between 1983 and 2002. Among all S&E fields tracked by the NSF, linguistics was the only other discipline to see its share of women drop—but it is a field where the majority of degrees (71 percent) are granted to women.

Challenges for Computing Research

Advances by computer science and engineering (CS&E) researchers have, over the past forty years, changed the world. Similar opportunities still exist, but excitement is tempered by challenges beyond our control. We explore issues facing our field and describe efforts by NSF’s CISE (Computer and Information Science and Engineering) to better understand future opportunities and also to maximize the impact of current resources.