Carnegie Mellon CS Chair (and CRA Government Affairs Chair) Peter Lee and Berkeley’s Randy Katz have been doing some thinking about the sorts of problems in computing it might be useful for a future DARPA Director to understand. Their inspiration comes from a book written by Katz’s colleague, Richard Muller, called Physics for Future Presidents, which describes the “science behind the headlines — the tools of terrorists, the dangers of nuclear power, and the reality of global warming.” Katz and Lee want to know: “Shouldn’t there also be a computer science (or, more broadly, an IT) version of this book?”
They believe there should and have proposed one that
summarizes key IT technology trends that most urgently affect the national defense, analyzes IT technology roadmaps that are nearing their end, and the consequences of that end, and attempts to identify areas of possible “technological surprise” that is, soft points in the defense IT research portfolio.
They’ve generated some interest in such a project from the agency and are looking for further input from others within the community.
I think this is a great idea and hope you’ll visit Lee’s blog and add your thoughts. The time to produce something that might be useful to the new administration is very short, obviously, but the opportunity to get the attention of the new agency leadership (whomever it may turn out to be) focused on important, compelling issues in computing makes it worth the effort.