Fed funding essential for supercomputing

Appropriate and sustained federal funding is essential to the future of supercomputing in the United States, according to an interim report published by the National Research Council.

The council's Committee on the Future of Supercomputing began a two-year study on the state of supercomputing six months ago. The study is sponsored by the Energy Department's Office of Science and its Advanced Simulation and Computing program. The final report will be released in late 2004. The interim report, published Aug. 12, stresses the need for federal resources to ensure a strong U.S. supercomputing technology base. According to the report, the federal government is the single largest purchaser of supercomputers in the world. Supercomputing will become increasingly important to homeland security efforts, the report states. Federal spending on supercomputer research would increase significantly under legislation awaiting final congressional action this fall. The House passed legislation that would provide $213 million for Energy's supercomputing research, while the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $183 million.

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