by Franco Denoth
The Information Technology (IT) sector is of immense strategic interest to Italy not only for the enormous benefits which it offers to both the public and private user communities (in particular, SMEs) but also for its spin-off impact on collateral areas.
These considerations have led the Italian National Research Council (CNR) to identify a set of high-priority areas in the IT sector on which efforts and resources should be concentrated in the immediate future. The aim is to attempt to meet the diverse requirements of the public administration, and of the production and distribution world, as well as of those of the scientific community.
The following areas have been identified of particular interest for research and development:
Initiatives are currently under way with respect to these threee areas in collaboration with an important company operating nationally in the sector (FINMECCANICA). The aim is to launch a project which has as its objective the development of an HPC system which utilizes both European technology and that developed in Italy within the special CNR targeted project for "Information systems and parallel computing" and by the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN). In addition to the development of very large MIMD parallel machines, this project will also focus on applications.
The CNR National Advisory Committee for Science and Information Technology has proposed the setting up of a new targeted project ("Progetto Finalizzato"), for which MURST (Ministry for the Universities and Scientific and Technological Research) has already approved the first evaluation, and a feasibility study is now under way. The objective of this project, called "Fotonica" (Photonics), is the study and development of optical technologies and information processing techniques.
In particular, the project will concentrate on the following topics:
CNR, university and industrial partners will participate.
A second targeted project has been proposed by CNR and approved by MURST for research in the area of "Personal Communications". Thefeasibility study is now under way. The main obejctives of this project are to develop and provide:
It is clear that this project will make considerable use of multimedia technologies. CNR, university and industrial partners will participate.
An agreement for collaboration with US groups working in the same areas should prove advantageous for both sides; a number of collaborations are already under way (e.g. ITALTEL with AT&T, AMATI, MOTOROLA)
Multimedia technologies are now having a large social impact in this sector and are directed towards supplying services to the general public, to professionals, and to SMEs.
Topics of interest are: