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October 12, 2004

Senate Passes DOE Supercomputing Bill

As expected, the Senate yesterday passed HR 4516, the High End Computing Revitalization Act of 2004, which would authorize the creation of a "leadership class" supercomputer at DOE and a "High-end Software Development Center." The bill is expected to be re-passed in the House during a lame-duck session and signed by the President.

The bill is a melding of the House version of HR 4516, introduced by Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Lincoln Davis (D-TN) and Senate bill S. 2176, introduced by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). Both bills are loosely based on the recommendations from the High End Computing Revitalization Task Force Workshop CRA hosted in June, 2003. (We've covered both bills here recently.)

The compromise bill adopts the House's less prescriptive (and lower) authorized funding amounts ($50 million in FY 05, $55 million in FY 06, $60 million in FY 07), but adds the software development center from the Senate bill and strips language added at the insistence of Rep. Brad Sherman that would have required a study on the implications of artificial intelligence research.

The House Science Committee issued a press release after the Senate passage, which I've included after the jump...

SENATE PASSES BIGGERT DOE COMPUTING BILL Legislation Expected to be Sent to the President for Signature

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate last night approved legislation, introduced by Energy Subcommittee Chairman Judy Biggert (R-IL), that would revitalize the federal government's high-performance computing efforts and advance U.S. competitiveness.  The House is expected to give final approval to the bill after the election, sending it to the President to be signed into law. 

H.R. 4516, the Department of Energy High-End Computing Revitalization Act of 2004, would further U.S. computing capabilities by establishing a research and development program within the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop more advanced computers.  The bill would also authorize DOE to establish supercomputer user facilities that would be available for use to U.S. researchers on a competitive, peer-reviewed basis. 

"We cannot imagine the kinds of problems that the supercomputers of tomorrow will be able to solve.  But we can imagine the kind of problems we will have if we fail to provide researchers in the United States with the best computing resources," said Biggert.  "The Senate recognized that this bill will support continued U.S. leadership in high-performance computing.  Our nation's scientific enterprise, and our economy, will be stronger for it."

Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) said, "I applaud Chairman Biggert for recognizing the importance of high-performance computers to our nation's competitiveness and for her leadership in pushing legislation through Congress that would revitalize the government's efforts in the realm of supercomputing.  By helping DOE develop some of the world's fastest computers, and ensuring U.S. researchers have access to them, this bill will further strengthen America's position as the global leader in computing capabilities." 

Biggert's bill was approved by the Science Committee on June 16 and it passed the House on July 7 as part of the Republican Conference's Competitiveness Agenda.  The Senate made relatively minor changes to the bill during negations with the House.  The final Senate-passed version will need to be re-passed in the House before it can be sent to the President, who fully supports the legislation.  The House is expected to take up the bill and pass it during a lame duck session in November.

Posted by PeterHarsha at October 12, 2004 11:28 AM | TrackBack
Posted to Research