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An Assessment of the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences Program

The purpose of this assessment of the fusion energy sciences program of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science is to evaluate the quality of the research program and to provide guidance for the future program strategy aimed at strengthening the research component of the program. The committee focused its review of the fusion program on magnetic confinement, or magnetic fusion energy (MFE), and touched only briefly on inertial fusion energy (IFE), because MFE-relevant research accounts for roughly 95 percent of the funding in the Office of Science's fusion program. Unless otherwise noted, all references to fusion in this report should be assumed to refer to magnetic fusion. Fusion research carried out in the United States under the sponsorship of the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (OFES) has made remarkable strides over the years and recently passed several important milestones. For example, weakly burning plasmas with temperatures greatly exceeding those on the surface of the Sun have been created and diagnosed. Significant progress has been made in understanding and controlling instabilities and turbulence in plasma fusion experiments, thereby facilitating improved plasma confinement-remotely controlling turbulence in a 100-million-degree medium is a premier scientific achievement by any measure. Theory and modeling are now able to provide useful insights into instabilities and to guide experiments. Experiments and associated diagnostics are now able to extract enough information about the processes occurring in high-temperature plasmas to guide further developments in theory and modeling. Many of the major experimental and theoretical tools that have been developed are now converging to produce a qualitative change in the program's approach to scientific discovery. The U.S. program has traditionally been an important source of innovation and discovery for the international fusion energy effort. The goal of understanding at a fundamental level the physical processes governing observed plasma behavior has been a distinguishing feature of the program.

In reality, high-temperature plasmas are not only of great intrinsic scientific
interest but also of great general interest in fields from astrophysics to material
science, with the goal of basic plasma physics being to elucidate the linear and ...

Brain and Cognition

Some New Technologies

Most prominent in the public media are concerns about another technology, the
use of lie detectors, which is also based on the assessment of physiological
processes. Questions include how accurate these devices are and whether they
should be used for making administrative decisions. Although the technologies
discussed in this report have not received a comparable amount of public
attention, their use raises the same issues of accuracy and ethics. With regard to
accuracy, ...

Mapping the Brain and Its Functions:

Integrating Enabling Technologies into Neuroscience Research

Significant advances in brain research have been made, but investigators who face the resulting explosion of data need new methods to integrate the pieces of the "brain puzzle." Based on the expertise of more than 100 neuroscientists and computer specialists, this new volume examines how computer technology can meet that need. Featuring outstanding color photography, the book presents an overview of the complexity of brain research, which covers the spectrum from human behavior to genetic mechanisms. Advances in vision, substance abuse, pain, and schizophrenia are highlighted. The committee explores the potential benefits of computer graphics, database systems, and communications networks in neuroscience and reviews the available technology. Recommendations center on a proposed Brain Mapping Initiative, with an agenda for implementation and a look at issues such as privacy and accessibility.

A complex of computer-based resources that can greatly enhance neuroscience
research is an attainable goal. Current trends in information technology offer an
unprecedented opportunity for neuroscientists to expand their use of hard-won
data and to communicate these data more effectively to other scientists. In
addition, the sheer mass of neuroscience information accumulated to date and
the accelerating rate at which new results are being obtained and reported are
becoming ...

Analytical Methods and Approaches for Water Resources Project Planning

Analytical Methods and Approaches for Water Resources Project Planningis part of a larger study that was conducted in response to a request from the U.S. Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 for the National Academy of Sciences to review the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's peer review methods and analytical approaches. This report reviews the Corps' analytical procedures and planning methods, largely in the context of the federal Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resources Implementation Studies, also known as the Principles and Guidelines or "P and G" (P&G), as well as the Corps' Planning Guidance Notebook (PGN).

National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Ocean Studies
Board, Water Science and Technology Board, Committee to Assess the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers Methods of Analysis and Peer Review for Water
Resources Project Planning, Panel on Methods and Techniques of Project
Analysis. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has long constructed civil works
projects to help manage the nation's inland and coastal water systems. The
Corps' earliest water-related ...

Testing English-Language Learners in U.S. Schools:

Report and Workshop Summary

The Committee on Educational Excellence and Testing Equity was created under the auspices of the National Research Council (NRC), and specifically under the oversight of the Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA). The committee's charge is to explore the challenges that face U.S. schools as they work to achieve the related goals of academic excellence and equity for all students. This report provides not only the summary of a workshop held by the forum on the testing of English-language learners (students learning English as an additional language) in U.S. schools, but also a report on the committee's conclusions derived from that workshop and from subsequent deliberations.

Disentangling students' progress in English from their academic performance in
other areas is difficult because oral and ... reclassification as proficient in English
and removal from bilingual or English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.

Information Technology and the Conduct of Research

The User's View

Computers and telecommunications have revolutionized the processes of scientific research. How is this information technology being applied and what difficulties do scientists face in using information technology? How can these difficulties be overcome? Information Technology and the Conduct of Research answers these questions and presents a variety of helpful examples. The recommendations address the problems scientists experience in trying to gain the most benefit from information technology in scientific, engineering, and clinical research.

The User's View Panel on Information Technology and the Conduct of Research,
National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of
Medicine, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, National
Academy ...

Continuing Innovation in Information Technology

Information technology (IT) is widely understood to be the enabling technology of the 21st century. IT has transformed, and continues to transform, all aspects of our lives: commerce and finance, education, employment, energy, health care, manufacturing, government, national security, transportation, communications, entertainment, science, and engineering. IT and its impact on the U.S. economy-both directly (the IT sector itself) and indirectly (other sectors that are powered by advances in IT)--continue to grow in size and importance. In 1995, the National Research Council's Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) produced the report Evolving the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative to Support the Nation's Information Infrastructure. A graphic in that report, often called the "tire tracks" diagram because of its appearance, produced an extraordinary response by clearly linking government investments in academic and industry research to the ultimate creation of new information technology industries with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Used in presentations to Congress and executive branch decision makers and discussed broadly in the research and innovation policy communities, the tire tracks figure dispelled the assumption that the commercially successful IT industry is self-sufficient, underscoring through long incubation periods of years and even decades. The figure was updated in 2002, 2003, and 2009 reports produced by the CSTB. With the support of the National Science Foundation, CSTB updated the tire tracks figure. Continuing Innovation in Information Technology includes the updated figure and a brief text based in large part on prior CSTB reports.

Committee on Depicting Innovation in Information Technology, Computer
Science and Telecommunications Board, Division on Engineering and Physical
Sciences, National Research Council ...

Information Technology in the Service Society:

A Twenty-First Century Lever

Information technology has been touted as a boon for productivity, but measuring the benefits has been difficult. This volume examines what macroeconomic data do and do not show about the impact of information technology on service-sector productivity. This book assesses the ways in which different service firms have selected and implemented information technology, examining the impact of different management actions and styles on the perceived benefits of information technology in services.

Technology. at. the. Activity. Level. INTRODUCTION Faced with a myriad of
pressures to change the way they do business, many managers in different types
of firms have found it fruitful to focus on activities or major processes, rather than
just ...

Improving Learning with Information Technology

Report of a Workshop

In spring 2000, representatives from the U.S. Department of Education (DOEd) and senior staff at the National Research Council (NRC) recognized a common frustration: that the potential of information technology to transform K-12 education remains unrealized. In fall 2000 the U.S. DOEd formally requested that the National Academies undertake an interdisciplinary project called Improving Learning with Information Technology (ILIT). The project was launched with a symposium on January 24-25, 2001. This report summarizes the proceedings of the symposium and is intended for people interested in considering better strategies for using information technology in the educational arena. While it offers insights from the presenters on both the challenges to and the opportunities for forging a better dialogue among learning scientists, technologists, and educators, it does not contain conclusions or recommendations. Rather, it highlights issues to consider, constituents to engage, and strategies to employ in the effort to build a coalition to harness the power of information technologies for the improvement of American education. Every effort has been made to convey the speakers' content and viewpoints accurately. Recognizing the speculative nature of many of the speaker contributions, most attributions identify a speaker by area of expertise rather than by name. The report reflects the proceedings of the workshop and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all the issues involved in the project to improve learning with information technology.

Report of a Workshop National Research Council, Division of Behavioral and
Social Sciences and Education, Board on Science Education, Steering
Committee on Improving Learning with Information Technology Gail E. Pritchard.

Information Technology for Manufacturing:

A Research Agenda

This book describes a vision of manufacturing in the twenty-first century that maximizes efficiencies and improvements by exploiting the full power of information and provides a research agenda for information technology and manufacturing that is necessary for success in achieving such a vision. Research on information technology to support product and process design, shop-floor operations, and flexible manufacturing is described. Roles for virtual manufacturing and the information infrastructure are also addressed. A final chapter is devoted to nontechnical research issues.

Chapters 3 through 6 discuss a research agenda for information technology
related to manufacturing. If this research agenda is fully pursued, the scope of
what is achievable will be greatly expanded. However, an equally important
challenge ...