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Advances in Information Technology (IT) have dramatically transformed the way in which people live, work, learn, communicate and conduct business. To insure that these transformations serve human needs, are productive for society, and sustainable over the long term, the National Science Foundation instituted the Information Technology Research (ITR) program as one of its priority areas. This program encourages innovative, high-payoff IT research and education. Fiscal year 2004 (ITR) is the fifth and last year that ITR will be an NSF priority area.

The ITR program has been enormously successful in opening up opportunities at the frontiers of IT research and education. In its first year, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000, the ITR program stressed fundamental research in IT. In the second year, FY 2001, the program was considerably broadened to include applications of IT in all scientific, engineering and educational areas. In the third year, FY 2002, the program expanded research in areas of interdisciplinary science, focusing on research at the interstices of information technology and other disciplines. In its fourth year, FY 2003, the program stimulated research on the fundamental challenges facing the continued expansion and utilization of IT across the sciences and engineering, the creation of novel uses of IT, the interaction of IT with society at large, and the use of IT to enhance security and reduce society’s vulnerabilities to catastrophic events, whether natural or man-made. In FY 2004, the focus is “ITR for National Priorities.” Particular emphasis will be placed on the distributed systems, grids and infrastructures that support the attainment of these national priorities.

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