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< Contents ERCIM News No. 57, April 2004

IST-FET announces the Launch of Four New Research Initiatives in IST-Call 3 to be published in May 2004

The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) is the nursery of novel and emerging scientific ideas of the EU's Information Society Technologies (IST) FP6 programme. FET's mission is to promote research that is of a long-term nature or involves high risks, compensated by the potential of a significant societal or industrial impact.

In 2004 FET is planning to launch new research initiatives, as part of the IST third Call for proposals. The four new initiatives, still subject to change, that are expected to be launched on 22nd May 2004 with closure on 22nd September 2004, are the following:

1. Bio-inspired Intelligent Information Systems
'Reverse engineering' / decoding of the brain or of other large assemblies of neurons could provide the knowledge for the design and development of truly intelligent information systems. This initiative reinforces and complements previous FET initiatives in neuro-IT. The objective is to explore new avenues in the design of intelligent information systems that attribute meaning to complex patterns of sensory stimuli and generate sequences of elementary actions that satisfy high-level goals. The systems should show autonomous growth in perceptual, motor and cognitive abilities, and their performance must be assessed in realistic scenarios. Three research foci are targeted: (1) characterisation of computational properties, structure and other physical constraints of large assemblies of interconnected neurones for new IT architectures and design; (2) study of natural mechanisms of evolution, development and plasticity that support self-construction, and self-repair of artificial or hybrid (biological/artificial) intelligent information processing systems; (3) integrated control architectures that generate and exploit world- and/or self-awareness.

For more information, see:

2. Emerging Nanoelectronics
Many effects characteristic of molecular and other nanometer-scale structures have recently been discovered or demonstrated, paving the way for technological developments complementing those on the mainstream semiconductor platforms. This initiative complements mainstream IC developments with advanced research in hybrid and molecular electronics. It prepares the bases for an extension of IC technology beyond the limits of CMOS scaling and for industrial research and development programmes on non-CMOS nanometre technologies in information society applications. Three long term-directions are targeted: (1) hybrid molecular electronic with the aim of incorporating new molecular-scale developments on nanometer scale semiconductor platforms; (2) one-dimensional structures such as nanotubes or nanowires and their potential in realising devices, functions, interconnections, etc; and (3) the understanding of electrical characteristics of single molecules and the development of reproducible functions with systems of components at that scale.

For more information, see:

3. Global Computing
Global computing refers to computation over "global computers". These are computational infrastructures available globally and able to provide uniform services with variable guarantees for communication, co-operation and mobility, resource usage, security policies and mechanisms, etc., with particular regard to exploiting their universal scale and the programmability of their services. As the scope and computational power of global infrastructures continues to grow, in order to harvest their potential benefits, a vision needs to be realised which goes well beyond incremental and disconnected improvements of diverse (and often incompatible) implementations. The objective is to define innovative theories, computational paradigms, linguistic mechanisms and implementation techniques for the design, realisation and deployment of global computational environments and their application and management.

For more information, see:

4. Quantum Information Processing
Quantum computers hold the promise for solving efficiently some computationally hard problems, like eg large integer factorisation or the simulation of quantum systems. Recent technological and experimental advances have given rise to an effort to build a quantum computer that would exploit quantum phenomena such as entanglement, up to now not accessible to experiments. This initiative focuses on approaches that lead to systems successfully implementing quantum algorithms on small-scale systems - including writing, processing and reading of qubits. Work on developing few qubit applications is highly encouraged, for example in the area of metrology or simulators of quantum systems. Theoretical work should aim at further developing quantum information theory. Specific problems to be addressed include physical aspects of quantum information for elucidating concepts such as multi-particle entanglement, work on communication complexity, relation with classical computational complexity theory, etc.

For more information, see:

All four initiatives will be implemented using only the so-called new instruments, ie integrated projects and networks of excellence.

Important Dates
The call for proposals for these initiatives will be published in mid-May at:

The deadline for proposals is planned to be on 22 September 2004 at 17:00.
A FET information event on the initiatives will be held in Brussels on 3-4 June 2004.

Further information on this event will be published soon at the FET website: