OSTP Announces First Nanotechnology-Inspired Grand Challenge on Future Computing

(October 20, 2015) The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is pleased to highlight an important announcement issued today by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), naming the first Nanotechnology-Inspired Grand Challenge in the field of Future Computing.

The grand challenge, to create a new type of computer that can proactively interpret and learn from data, solve unfamiliar problems using what it has learned, and operate with the energy efficiency of the human brain, addresses three administration priorities—the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI), and the BRAIN initiative. In order to continue the rapid pace of innovation beyond the next decade, major breakthroughs are needed not only in the basic devices that store and process information and the amount of energy they require, but in the way a computer analyzes images, sounds, and patterns, interprets and learns from data, and identifies and solves problems.

As Dr. Michael Meador, Director of the NNCO, explains, “White House 21st Century Grand Challenges are ambitious but achievable goals that harness science, technology, and innovation to solve important national or global problems and that have the potential to capture the public’s imagination. The launch of the first nanotechnology-inspired grand challenge is an example of how the strong R&D foundation developed by the NNI will help address critical issues facing the Nation for decades to come." This grand challenge is a key step in moving toward “NNI 2.0”, as recommended by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) in its most recent assessment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).

Adds Dr. Lloyd Whitman, Assistant Director for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at OSTP, “We are excited by the potential of this grand challenge to inspire the nanotechnology, computer science, and neuroscience communities to work together to develop transformational, power-efficient computing capabilities, possibly based on entirely new devices and architectures.”

The NNCO looks forward to its central role in coordinating Federal R&D activities, facilitating collaboration with industry, academia, and the nonprofit sector, and publicizing this and future nanotechnology-inspired grand challenges under the NNI.

See today’s announcement by the White House at https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/10/15/nanotechnology-inspired-grand-challenge-future-computing and http://www.nano.gov/grandchallenges for further information.


Media Contact:
Marlowe Newman, NNCO Communications Director