Federally supported research sparks game-changing innovation, according to a U.S. Capitol forum on the future of federal research moderated by Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis von Ahn. He says in an interview that the forum used the iPad as an example, as most of its components came from federally supported research. Von Ahn argues against a Senate proposal to cut the budget of science research funding, saying that a reduction could hurt the sustainability of U.S. technological leadership. He notes that private tech companies cannot do research on their own, as they have a priority to deliver commercial products in the short term. However, federal research projects take a long-term view and are borne out of the pursuit of basic questions. "If you look at lot of the game-changers [new technologies] over the last few years, it's not because someone was trying to solve a specific problem, it was just because somebody was trying to understand something better," von Ahn says.
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