Computing Research Policy Blog

The Computing Research Association (CRA) has been involved in shaping public policy of relevance to computing research for more than two decades. More recently the CRA Government Affairs program has enhanced its efforts to help the members of the computing research community contribute to the public debate knowledgeably and effectively.

A Quick Look at the FY 05 Budget

A word? Disappointing. Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2005 Here’s a quick breakdown before I run off to the various Agency budget briefings:


  • NSF – $761 M; +$7 M over FY04; increase of 1%
  • HHS (primarily NIH) – $371 M, +$3M over FY04; increase of 1%
  • DOE – $354 M; +$10 M over FY04; increase of 3%
  • NASA – $259 M; -$16 M below FY04; decrease of 6%
  • DOD – $226 M; -$26 M below FY 04; decrease of 10%
  • Commerce (includes NIST and NOAA) – $33 M; +$7 M over FY04; increase of 27%
  • EPA – $4 M; unchanged from FY04

More details to come…

IP issues

The National Academies’ IP Website and Quarterly Newsletter
For a round-up of the intellectual property issue-related current
projects at the National Academies, visit The site
publishes a quarterly e-newsletter which is archived at The current newsletter is at

IT and Productivity

“Software, Growth, and the Future of the U.S. Economy”
A symposium in the series “Measuring and Sustaining the New Economy,”
February 20, 2004, The National Academies, Keck Center, 500 5th Street,
NW, Room 100, Washington, DC. Industry representatives from leading
companies such as Google, Apple, General Motors, and Jet Blue, and
academic experts will participate in a high-level discussion of the role
of software and its importance to U.S. productivity growth; how software
is made and why it is unique; the measurement of software in national
and business accounts; the implications of the movement of software
industry jobs offshore; and related policy issues. Contact David
Dierksheide at for information.

Visa requirements for students

New procedures on Social Security Numbers for foreign students and visitors announced by Department of Homeland Security: In late December, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a memo and fact sheet advising colleges and universities how to ensure foreign students and visitors obtain a Social Security number. As the AAU summarizes, the policy requires that foreign students and visitors first report to the school, where institute officials will register the students with the Student Exchange Visitors Information System (SEVIS). After a student has been active in the SEVIS system for 48 hours, the individual may apply for a Social Security number. The Department of Homeland Security has made an agreement with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to have DHS verify the SEVIS information on behalf of SSA. This new procedure aims to speed the process of obtaining a Social Security number by foreign students.
(taken from Georgia Tech Office of Federal Relations)

More Rumors on Rita Colwell’s Departure from NSF

Science News has more detail on the rumors surrounding Rita Colwell’s imminent departure as director of NSF. Maybe most interestingly, they suggest Arden Bement, currently head of NIST, would take over NSF as interim director. Here’s a bit of the scoop:

Rumors were circulating in Washington, D.C., last week that Colwell planned to announce her departure as early as this week, shortly before the president’s 2005 budget is unveiled, and that it was tied to her frustration with a succession of stingy White House budget requests for the agency. Arden Bement, the current director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, was said to have accepted the job as interim NSF director and was preparing to testify in that capacity at an 11 February hearing of the House Science Committee.
But those rumors appear to have been wrong. Science Committee staff say Colwell accepted their invitation in late December and hasn’t notified them of any change of plans. NIST spokesperson Matthew Heyman says that Bement “doesn’t have 11 February on his calendar.” And NSF’s William Noxon says that Colwell plans to both unveil the president’s 2005 budget for NSF on 2 February and represent NSF at the committee hearing. Last week Colwell told Science that she was not leaving anytime soon.

Our best info is that some members of Congress were given the “head’s up” last week that Colwell planned to resign in as soon as two weeks. Colwell’s six year term as director expires this August.

Foreign Colleagues

I believe we should devote some thought to the impact the draconian (and often useless and xenophobic) restrictions on foreign visitors and students is going to have on our profession. I keep seeing articles such as this one and it concerns me that nationally we may be hurting our research enterprise and alienating our friends. The Computing community is certainly not immune to this!

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