NIH angles for $6 million to fund biomedical computing projects

President Clinton's proposed fiscal 2000 budget includes $6 million for the National Institutes of Health to spend on biomedical computing projects.

Among these projects, the agency would:

Develop new software and algorithms to design high-end computing applications that can be transferred to labs nationwide.

Create software components that can be assembled into project-specific applications.

Begin formulating a "cookbook" for assembling high-performance computing clusters from low-cost processors.

The spending would be part of Clintons' Information Technology for the 21st Century initiative, called IT2. The program was formed to carry out the recommendations of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, which concluded the government did not spend enough on basic computing research. Other agencies involved include the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Defense Department, the Energy Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Also included in the proposed NIH budget is about $2 million for the National Library of Medicine to complete a five-year reinvention project. Kent Smith, NLM's deputy director, said the money would go in part toward customizing NLM's Integrated Library System, which will allow integration of the agency's internal databases. The project also has involved expanding public access to NLM's resources, including putting its flagship Medline database of medical journal citations on the World Wide Web.

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