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Future Directions Workshops

Basic Research Office sponsors “Future Directions” workshops on emerging areas of science that are a focus of the DoD research portfolio. Leading scientists and engineering in their fields from academia, national laboratories and industry are invited to express their perspectives and outlooks over areas of rapid progress in fundamental research. The topics of interest are selected from the inputs from both DoD stakeholders and academic community.  

Past Workshops
Year Workshop
2016 Network Science
On September 29–30, 2016, 25 distinguished network science researchers gathered for the Future Directions of Network Science Workshop in Arlington, VA to assess the current state of this emerging field. The diversity of participants reflects the truly interdisciplinary nature of network science—domain expertise included mathematics, physics, computer science, biology, sociology, epidemiology, population health, and communication. The goal of the meeting was to characterize major challenges, identify important application areas, and map the trajectory of the research over the next 5, 10, and 20 year horizon. This report summarizes the major insights and themes that resulted from the two-day workshop.
2016 Quantum Information Processing
Quantum Workshop attendees (Picture credit: Dr. Kate Klemic)On August 25-26, the “Future Directions of Quantum Information Processing Workshop” was held at Arlington Va. It gathered 25 distinguished experts from academia, industry and government to discuss and debate the future of the emerging field of Quantum Information Processing. The two-day workshop was organized to encourage lively discussion and debate and to maximize the interaction of participants. The first day began with short, introductory presentations that framed the workshop goals, including remarks from both Dr. Robin Staffin, Director of the Basic Research Office, ASDR&E, and Dale Ormond, Principal Director of Research for ASDR&E who welcomed the participants and provided an overview of the goals of the workshop from the DOD perspective.
2016 Power and Energy: Advances from Photonic Sciences and Applications
January 19-20th, 2016, a workshop on Future Directions of Power and Energy: Advances from Photonic Sciences and Applications was held at the Keck Conference Center at the California Institute of Technology. The workshop gathered 30 distinguished academic and industry leaders in photonic science and technology to review recent and emerging research and to discuss how advances in optical phenomena, materials, and components and systems will impact power and energy technologies of the future. Power and Energy summarizes those discussions and presents the opportunities and challenges for photonic sciences, as well as the expected trajectory of research over the next 20 years.
2015 Compressed Sensing and Integration of Sensing and Processing
As it becomes possible to access ever larger amounts of data, it becomes increasingly important to develop methods of smart sensing that are able to support information-based decisions. A trend common to all disciplines and areas is the integration of sensing and (task-oriented) processing as one unit. At a workshop, held at Duke University on January 11–12, 2016, thirty distinguished researchers from academia and industry gathered to discuss the opportunities and challenges of Compressed Sensing research to intelligently address the ever increasing data produced by modern technology. Compressive Sensing captures those discussions and presents the consensus opinion about the state of the field, the challenges to progress and the trajectory of research for the next 10 and 15 years.
2015 Computer Vision
In November 2015, nineteen distinguished academic researchers met in Arlington Virginia to discuss future opportunities, challenges, and trajectories of the Computer Vision field. Participants included experts in computer vision, artificial intelligence, robotics, and cognitive psychology. The workshop provided a valuable forum for these experts to interact with their colleagues and engage in debate and discussion about the future research trends in computer vision and common sense reasoning. Computer Vision is the product of those discussions. Its purpose is to review the past, consider the present, and to frame the future of science and technology in Computer Vision.
2015 Foundations of Intelligent Sensing, Action and Learning
The nascent science of Intelligent Physical Systems entails the study of agents that can act upon their physical environment by use of perceptual and reasoning processes that also enable them to interact with human and other partners. This new discipline promises future generations of machines that exhibit unprecedented abilities to work for and with us, while fostering new understanding of physical science and engineering and of biology and human psychology.
On October 19–20, 2015, a workshop was held at the University of Pennsylvania to examine the prospects of Intelligent Physical Systems and to scope a research trajectory for the next two decades. Some two dozen prominent researchers in robotics, machine learning and perception, as well as allied areas of systems theory (control, signal processing) and life science (integrative biology, cognitive science) gathered to discuss and debate the opportunities and challenges of the field. They proposed a trajectory of research to overcome the challenges and meet the opportunities. FISAL is the outcome of those discussions, presented as "Foundations of Intelligent Sensing, Action and Learning (FISAL)".
2013 Future Directions in Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering Workshop
2012 Future Directions for Selected Topics in Mechanical and Civil Engineering Workshop
2012 Neuroscience Workshop
2011 Future Directions in Mathematics Workshop
2011 Future Directions for Selected Topics in Computer Science
2011 Future Directions in Engineered (Synthetic) Biology Workshop
This workshop highlighted many key areas of interest to the DoD including Quantum Computing and Control, Plasmonics, and Engineered Materials.
2011 Future Directions for Selected Topics in Physics and Materials Science Workshop