Message from the Directors
We live in challenging and interesting times. However, researchers in the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology (K2I) at Rice University do not see this as an ancient Chinese curse, but as an opportunity to succeed and break barriers. Technology is changing rapidly; every eighteen months computer processor speeds double, disk storage prices are halved, and network bandwidth and latency improve by a factor of ten. These developments not only have allowed us to change the way America does business, but also have helped to define new businesses.
With these new technologies come new challenges; competition is fierce on both domestic and international fronts. Downsizings force companies to become more efficient and productive with their remaining work forces. Virtual and distributed corporations are no longer just buzz words but are necessary means to form flexible alliances and teams to address competitive pressures. Vast new quantities of data are being created and made available across a variety of applications, but raw data is by no means useable information, nor is it knowledge or industrial intelligence. Applied research within K2I addresses many of the areas of information technology important to America's industries and government agencies: multidisciplinary or process optimization, collaborative development, distributed computing and parallel computational environments, data mining, and advanced visualization.
In today's competitive environment businesses cannot afford to fund large research organizations. In addition, organizations need employees educated and skilled in the latest technologies. Government agencies' budgets are shrinking, so they must optimize their funding strategies. In addition, each agency is pressured as never before to show results and benefit to American industry as well as support of educational institutions. In turn, universities are pressured to produce the best educated students who are capable of immediate productivity in the work force, and of performing research applicable to industry and government. Rice University and K2I understand this environment. K2I has had many successful industrial and government partnerships and will continue to establish new ones as the opportunities for research, education, and collaborative work arise.
Data Wise in the Information Age
Many technologists believe that we are in the middle years of the Information Age. No doubt, we are producing more data across more disciplines than ever before in history. From astrophysics to retail sales, we are now doubling the total raw data generated every two years. However, much of the new data created is not analyzed or processed. In addition, raw data is not information, and it certainly does not represent knowledge or intelligence. Today, most businesses ingest some subset of raw data and organize and sort it into a basic database, which they use to create reports and summaries. Few are capable of analyzing all the data available to them and even fewer have explored new mathematical and statistical algorithms and methods to create new knowledge and industrial intelligence from that information. With its diverse research interests, K2I is well positioned to address many technologies important to information processing and theory, including:
- New wavelet transforms to address innovative image processing and compression techniques important for data storage, information distribution, and multiresolution analyses and visualization
- Advanced statistical methods for multidimensional reduction and visualization
- New algorithms for data mining (association, classification, clustering, and sequences)
- New algorithms and methods for optimization: continuous, discrete, and multidisciplinary (enterprise optimization)
K2I is positioned to help apply its basic research in information processing and theory with businesses and government agencies. Our research and technologies can create new knowledge and intelligence from existing raw data, which, in turn, can help American industries become more competitive.
Computational Engineering is a Key Scientific Discipline
Today, a new scientific discipline, computational engineering, has joined the classic disciplines of theory and experimentation. Rice University understands the importance of a balanced education and exposes its students to all three disciplines: theory, experimentation, and computation. K2I is focused on applied research, computational engineering and science, and related technologies. From digital signal processing to development of distributed computing environments and shared memory emulation tools, to parallel compilers and parallel programming tools and training, K2I and its affiliated centers and labs offer experience and a history of success. In addition, K2I research partners are able to leverage an annual research investment of ten million dollars in funded research.