Workshop Introduces NSF Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence Program

Rice University recently hosted a one-day workshop on the newly announced NSF Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence (KDI) Program, a foundation-wide effort to take advantage of today's unprecedented opportunities for rapid and efficient access to vast amounts of knowledge and information. Held on March 2, 1998, the workshop was attended by approximately 100 participants who learned about the program's plans to encourage and conduct interdisciplinary research that will enhance learning and communication and lead to greater understanding of living and engineered systems.

"The NSF KDI Workshop was both very informative and exciting," says Tony Elam, Executive Director of Rice's Computer and Information and Technology Institute. "This new NSF initiative inspired us to consider the many multidisciplinary research opportunities that exist across our campus."

The KDI Program will provide opportunities for interdisciplinary research between statistics and mathematical and computer sciences. Industrial participation is also encouraged. Proposals are being solicited from individuals or groups for research that is inherently multidisciplinary or has a clear impact on at least one other discipline. KDI will focus on three areas in fiscal year 1998: Knowledge Networking (KN), Learning and Intelligent Systems (LIS), and New Computational Challenges (NCC).

Michael Steuerwalt of the NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences led off the March workshop with an announcement and description of the KDI program. The introduction was followed by a panel discussion on examples of technologies and research areas that are relevant to the KDI. A question-and-answer session concluded the meeting.

The panelists were Steuerwalt and Al Thaler (NSF), Wah Chiu (Baylor College of Medicine, Biosciences Department), Edward George (University of Texas, Statistics Department), Lennart Johnsson (University of Houston, Computer Science Department), George Phillips (Rice University, Keck Center, Computational Biology), Frank Shipman (Texas A&M, Digital Library Center/Computer Science), and Rick Stoll (Rice University, Baker Institute, Political Science).

For more information on KDI, see

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