Post from Snowbird: Catching Up with Hearing News
So I’m well ensconced in the Cliff Lodge at the Snowbird Resort in Snowbird, Utah, preparing for CRA’s biannual Snowbird Conference, but finally have a chance to catch up on the blog.
As reported, former CRA Gov’t Affairs Committee Chairman and current Co-chair of PITAC Ed Lazowska testified before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census on the subject of IT research and development. The first witness panel was a fairly typical government panel: Dave Nelson, head of the National Coordinating Office for IT; Peter Freeman, AD for CISE at NSF; Hratch Semerjian, Interim Director for NIST; and Edward Oliver, Associate Director of the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing at DOE. They made the standard case for the importance of IT R&D at their agencies and defended the interagency coordination process.
The Committee Chair Adam Putnam opened the hearing with a strong statement in support of the federal role in IT R&D — worth reading. (Also available there are links to all the other testimony from the hearing.)
Lazowska was joined on the second panel by Donna Fossum, Manager of the RaDiUS Database project at RAND, William Scherlis, Computer Scientist from CMU, and Stephen Squires, from HP. Lazowska, Scherlis and Squires did a fantastic job making the case for the crucial role federal investment in IT R&D plays in fostering innovation, enabling the sciences and enabling the missions of the various federal agencies. Lazowska’s testimony, endorsed by CRA and USACM, makes a great “general” case for IT R&D, something that will probably make a good “advocacy” piece for use by anyone in the community who gets a chance to talk to their local representatives or other policymakers.
The discussion that followed the opening statements of the second panel was remarkable for its wide-range and by the obvious engagement of the subcommittee chair Putnam. Putnam, kept the panel for nearly an hour asking probing questions and really demonstrating a clear desire to understand the case. I think it’s fair to count him among the members of Congress who “get it.” I was very impressed by the discussion.
The second panel: (from left) Fossum, Lazowska, Scherlis and Squires.