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As nanoscience has advanced and discoveries in the field of applied science have multiplied, the potential contributions of nanotechnology to future economic growth has brought increasing government attention. Today, nanotechnology is a top research priority for the US government as well as numerous commercial organizations around the globe.

AMT, Inc., an industry-leading Information Technology organization founded by Amir Sepahban located in Houston, TX, in 1995, and headquartered in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, in 1999, began its endeavours in the field of Nanotechnology in 1996 by forming a dedicated Nanotechnology study group under AMT's Division of Advance Research & Technology, led by Michael McDonald - a.k.a. Captain Nano. The organization soon began hosting an array of nanotechnology study group meetings, events, and conferences, and thereafter becoming the official NASA JSC Nanotechnology Study Group. This group consisted of local community research and "rocket" scientists, as well as worldwide investors, inventors, and innovators. In the beginning, group meetings were held regularly to unite scientists and organizations involved in the early stages of nanotechnology, including keynote contributors such as Dr. Richard Smalley of Rice University (who even appeared on the weekend to address a group of independent nanotechnology scientists and enthusiasts at AMT) as well as scientist from around the world such as Joseph Michael of Robodyne Cybernetics Ltd. London, referred to as the "Pablo Picasso of Robotics" by Business Week Magazine (see article: "Shapes of Robots to Come" - Business Week Magazine). The Study Group identified and accomplished the task of connecting nanotechnology prospects around the world, informing and inspiring not only the international science community but such corporate icons as Bill Gates of Microsoft Corporation as well as international government agencies such as DARPA who participated in the early stages of Joseph Michael's "Fractal Shape Changing Robot" technology events.

Meanwhile, the federal government had begun an informal pursuit in the field. In November 1996, staff members from several federal agencies decided to meet regularly to discuss their plans and programs in nanoscale science and technology. This group continued informally until September 1998, when it was designated as the Interagency Working Group on Nanotechnology (IWGN) under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). The IWGN sponsored numerous workshops and studies to define the state of the art in nanoscale science and technology and to forecast possible future developments. Two relevant background publications were produced by the group between July and September 1999: Nanostructure Science and Technology: A Worldwide Study, a report based on the findings of an expert panel that visited nanoscale science and technology laboratories and scientists around the world; and Nanotechnology Research Directions, a workshop report with input from academic, private sector, and government participants. These documents laid the groundwork and provided the justification for seeking to raise nanoscale science and technology to the level of a national initiative.

In August 1999, IGWN completed its first draft of a plan for an initiative in nanoscale science and technology. The plan went through an approval process involving the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy . Subsequently, in its 2001 budget submission to Congress, the administration raised nanoscale science and technology to the level of a federal initiative, officially referring to it as the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Once the NNI had been set up, the IWGN was disbanded and the Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee was established as a component of the National Science and Technology Council's (NSTC) Committee on Technology (CT). The CT is composed of senior-level representatives from the federal government's research and development departments and agencies and provides policy leadership and budget guidance for multi-agency technology programs. The NSET is responsible for coordinating the federal government's nanoscale research and development programs. The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) was established to serve as the secretariat for the NSET, providing day-to-day technical and administrative support. The NNCO supports the NSET in multiagency planning and the preparation of budgets and program assessment documents. It also assists the NSET with the collection and dissemination of information on industry, state, and international nanoscale science and technology research, development, and commercialization activities. The NNCO serves as the point of contact on federal nanotechnology activities for government organizations, academia, industry, professional societies, foreign organizations, and others. The importance of a coordinated Federal program for nanotechnology R&D was given greater recognition in 2003 with the enactment of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act (Public Law 108-153).

After a decade of commitment, AMT DART was reorganized into a network of affiliated scientists, government agencies, and commercial entities. This reorganized collaboration, now known as NanoNewsBoard.com, is an independent on-line service provided by AMT, Inc.


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