A letter to Senator Robert Dole and Congressman Robert Walker from the Computer Systems Policy Project

May 24, 1995

On behalf of the Computer Systems Policy Project (CSPP), an affiliation of Chief Executive Officers of thirteen American computer systems companies, we urge you to maintain federal funding for university research in information technology. The United States has enjoyed unparalleled success in the invention and application of information technology. This story is effectively chronicled in a recent National Research Council report,Evolving the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative to Support the Nation's Information Infrastructure. The foundation for this incredible innovation engine has been the pioneering work done in our research universities. It would be a tragedy, in this era of increased global competition, if the United States cut back its support and funding of such strategic research.

We are not asking for funding for our own companies. We believe that the U.S. would greatly benefit from federal dollars spent on information technology research performed at universities. This research frequently triggers the creation of companies and businesses that become our competitors. However, we all benefit significantly as innovation and competition within this country set the world wide pace for progress in information technology.

While we appreciate the need to take action to reduce the national budget deficit, we strongly believe that reducing funding for information technology research at U.S. universities would be counterproductive. The U.S. computer systems industry relies on the university research supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and other agencies to construct the foundation from which to build the technology advancements that have made the U.S. a global leader in both market share and technological innovation.

In particular, reducing funds for the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative and other National Information Infrastructure (NII) related research would seriously jeopardize the progress that this nation's researchers have been making in the critical areas of computing, software, and communications. The research supported by these federally funded programs is especially important in helping to accelerate the deployment by U.S. industry of an advanced NII. An advanced NII will link institutions, individuals, and information resources nationwide to enable new applications in health care, education, manufacturing, and access to government information and services. University researchers are working to advance many of the technologies that are critical underpinnings of the NII, such as storage technologies, technologies to protect information security, ensure privacy and confidentiality, protect intellectual property, and authenticate information sources.

As you prepare to consider the budget for the coming year, we strongly urge you to sustain funding for university information technology research at its current level.

David Nagel                      Joel Birnbaum
Apple Computer, Inc.             Hewlett-Packard Company

Tom A. Mays James C. McGroddy AT&T Corporation IBM Corporation

Robert Stearns Forest Baskett Compaq Computer Corporation Silicon Graphics

Steve Nelson Stephen C. Kiely Cray Research, Inc. Stratus Computer, Inc.

J. Thomas West Ivan Sutherland Data General Corporation Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Samuel H. Fuller Kurt L. Friedrich Digital Equipment Corporation Tandem Computers, Inc.

Ron Bell Unisys Corporation

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