July 01, 2013
The amount of money received by the Department of Energy to spend on supercomputers and HPC programs will decrease by nearly 2 percent if the fiscal 2014 spending bill approved by a House subcommittee last week becomes law. Spending on other supercomputing programs, such as those used to maintain nuclear weapons, will be flat year over year.
The Energy Department's spending proposal for fiscal year 2014 called for $465.59 million to go to its Advanced Scientific Computing Research program, which directly funds HPC computing and research at National Laboratories across the country.
When the $30.4 billion energy and water bill came out of the House Appropriations Committee, lawmakers had voted to cut spending on the ASCR program by $33.23 million, to $432.36 million. That is 1.9 percent less than what the program received for fiscal year 2013, and 7 percent less than the department requested.
Not all programs under the ASCR will fare equally, with some getting their funding slashed, others escaping the knife, and still others getting more than the DOE requested.
For example, the committee decided that it should fully fun the development of an exascale supercomputer, at $68.58 million for the year, according to the House Appropriations Committee report. The High Performance Network Facilities and Testbeds (ESnet) effort also should receive full funding of $32.61 million for the year.
Some of the programs will get more than requested, such as the Leadership Computing Facilities at the Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, which is budgeted to receive $148.5 million, $1.5 million more than the DOE asked for. The High Performance Production Computing program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, however, is slated to get $62 million, $3.6 million less than requested.
The bill also covered spending on other supercomputing programs at the DOE, including the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which is a semi-autonomous agency within DOE that's responsible managing and operating the nation's nuclear weapons complex, naval reactors, and nuclear nonproliferation activities.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended giving the NNSA the full amount requested to run its Advanced Simulation and Computing Campaign, which uses supercomputers to help maintain the nation's nuclear weapons. The ASC program will receive $564.33 million. That's actually lower than current spending level, the report says.
"Funding is reduced from the fiscal year 2013 level to account for savings that are available due to completion of Sequoia at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the existence of $40,000,000 in prior-year balances," the committee's report states.
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