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Innovation in Information Technology

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The health of the computer science field and related disciplines has
been an enduring concern of the National Research Council’s Computer  cience and Telecommunications Board (CSTB). From its first reports in the late 1980s, CSTB has examined the nature, conduct, scope, and directions of the research that drives innovation in information technology.

Ironically, the success of the industries that produce information technology (IT) has caused confusion about the roles of government and academia in IT research. And it does not help that research in computer science—especially research relating to software—is hard for many people outside the field to understand. This synthesis report draws on several CSTB reports, published over the course of the past decade, to explain the what and why of IT research. It was developed by members of the board, drawing on CSTB’s body of work and on insights and experience from their own careers.

This synthesis is kept brief in order to highlight key points. It is paired with a set of excerpts from previous reports, chosen either for their explanation of relevant history or for their compelling development of core arguments and principles.
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