Alexander Applauds House Action On Supercomputing Bill

Legislation Now Goes To President For His Signature

Posted on November 18, 2004

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today commended the House of Representatives for passing the High-End Computing Revitalization Act of 2004. The bill authorizes $165 million over the next three years to the Department of Energy's Office of Science to support high-performance computing. It also authorizes the Secretary of Energy to establish and operate a leadership facility for high-performance computing and establishes a software development center to support the software needed for high-end computing platforms. Earlier this year the Energy Secretary announced Oak Ridge National Laboratory would be the site for the leadership class facility. "The passage of this bill is good news for Oak Ridge and the entire nation," said Alexander. "While the U.S. has recently recaptured the lead in high-performance computing from Japan, our latest high-performance supercomputers are not generally available to the broader scientific community. This legislation will authorize DOE to pursue a leadership class facility at Oak Ridge that will be made available to all U.S. scientists, including our nation's industries, based on a rigorous peer review process." Recently, the BlueGene/L supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which is devoted to nuclear weapons simulations, took over the top spot on the list of most powerful supercomputers from Japan's Earth Simulator. NASA's Columbia supercomputer, which is devoted to NASA missions, became the second most powerful supercomputer in the world. While these supercomputers represent significant advances for the U.S., these systems are not generally available to the broader scientific community. The BlueGene/L supercomputer is nearly 2 times more powerful than Japan's Earth Simulator, and NASA's Columbia supercomputer is nearly 1.5 times more powerful than the Earth Simulator. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences released a report last week urging the federal government to accelerate advances in supercomputing and recommended a need for greater focus on software development for supercomputers. Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL), Lincoln Davis (D-TN) and Bart Gordon (D-TN) are House sponsors of the bill, H.R. 4516. The Senate bill was sponsored by Sens. Alexander, Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA). It was amended in the Senate to include the establishment of a software development center. The legislation now goes before President Bush for his signature to become law.