The National Science Foundation recently presented a vision for the development of an advanced cyberinfrastructure program (ACP). The vision foresees a research environment that links together research teams, digital data and information libraries, high-performance computational services, scientific instruments, and arrays of sensors. Now, how do we apply that scientific environment to government. There are hundreds of basic ways. Education itself is perhaps the largest local government service, consuming a major portion of a state's budget. Technology increasingly allows services and innovations originating within the higher ed and scientific communities to be driven into the public education system through online libraries and services.
Crucial data collections in the social,,biological,and physical sciences are now online and remotely accessible – modern genome research would be impossible without such databases,and soon astronomical research will be similarly redefined through the National Virtual Observatory.
The advances of science will continue to impact the integration of technology into government operations.
The vision of ACP is to use cyberinfrastructure to build more ubiquitous,comprehensive digital environments that become interactive and functionally complete for research communities in terms of people,data,information,tools,and instruments and that operate at unprecedented levels of computational,storage,and data transfer capacity.
The same vision certainly applies to a multitude of governmental functions, including public safety, transportation, healthcare, and regulatory services. Read the section on Information Science and Digital Libraries (p. 20):
An information-driven digital society requires the collection,storage,organization,sharing, and synthesis of huge volumes of widely disparate information and the digitization of analog sensor data and information about physical objects.
The vision points to several federal projects that could potentially converge with ACP in promoting advanced infrastructure:
The National Archives recently announced the availability of the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) system with access to over 50 million documents. I wonder what kind of web services opportunities will eventually be available with these kind of large scale initiatives. We have a tremendous need (and few resources) to implement a more comprehensive digital archive for Utah state government.
This chart demonstrates some of the tremendous potential for DOE's Science Grid advanced cyberinfrastructure project: