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This report examines the history of computing since World War II to elucidate the federal government's role in funding computing research, supporting the education of computer scientists and engineers, and equipping university research labs. It reviews the economic rationale for government support of research, characterizes federal support for computing research, and summarizes key historical advances in which government-sponsored research played an important role.
The report contains a series of case studies in relational databases, the Internet, theoretical computer science, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality that demonstrate the complex interactions among government, universities, and industry that have driven the field. It offers a series of lessons that identify factors contributing to the success of the nation's computing enterprise and the government's role within it.