H.R. 2495, American Super Computing Leadership Act

H.R. 2495

American Super Computing Leadership Act

Date
September 8, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, September 8, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 2495, the American Super Computing Leadership Act, under a suspension of the rules. H.R. 2495 was introduced on June 25, 2013 by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2495 amends section 3 of the Department of Energy (DOE) High-End Computing Revitalization Act of 2004 (15 U.S.C. 5542) to require the Secretary of Energy to: 1) partner with universities, national laboratories, and industry to ensure the broadest possible application of the technology developed in the high-end computing research and development program to other challenges in science, engineering and industry; and 2) conduct research in computer technologies that show the promise of substantial reductions in power requirements and substantial gains in parallelism of multicore processors, concurrency, memory and storage, bandwidth, and reliability. Moreover, it requires the Secretary of Energy to conduct a coordinated research program to develop exascale computing systems to advance the missions of the DOE. Exascale computing systems have a computing capacity 1,000 times greater than petascale computing systems. The program would be established through competitive merit review of two or more partnerships (among National Laboratories, industry, and universities) to conduct integrated research, development, and engineering of exascale computing systems.

H.R. 2495 requires the Secretary, within 90 days of enactment of this legislation, to submit a report outlining an integrated strategy and program management plan, which includes: 1) target dates for prototypical and production exascale platforms; 2) interim milestones for reaching these targets; 3) functional requirements, roles and responsibilities of national laboratories and industry; 4) an acquisition strategy; and 5) estimated resources required to achieve exascale system capability. The report is also required to include the Secretary’s plan for Departmental organization to manage and execute the Exascale Computing Program as well as a plan for ensuring balance and prioritizing across Advanced Scientific Computing Research subprograms in a flat or slow-growth budget environment. Additionally, at the time of the budget submission for the DOE for every fiscal year, the Secretary is required to submit a report to Congress that describes the status of milestones and costs in achieving the objectives of the exascale computing program. Finally, at least 18 months prior to the initiation of construction or installation of any exascale-class computing facility, the Secretary is required to submit a plan to Congress detailing: 1) the proposed facility’s cost projections and capabilities to significantly accelerate the development of new energy technologies; 2) the technical risks that must be overcome to achieve the completion and operation of the facility; and 3) an independent assessment of the scientific and technological advance expected from such a facility relative to those expected from a comparable investment in expanded research and applications at terascale-class and petascale-class computing facilities.

Background

In 2013, the Chinese government developed the Tianhe-2, the world’s fastest supercomputer, which surpassed the speed of the U.S.-developed Cray Titan supercomputer.[1] Its speed is nearly twice that of the Cray Titan supercomputer.[2] The United States currently owns six of the ten fastest supercomputers in the world.[3] Many of the fastest supercomputers built in the U.S. were developed by the DOE at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory.[4]

The DOE’s Office of Science administers the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program, which is the “leading supporter of non-military high-performance computing within the Federal government.[5] In the FY 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress expressed support for exascale computing, and noted it as a “crucial component of long-term U.S. leadership.”[6] The Conference Report directed the DOE to submit a joint, integrated strategy to develop exascale computing. However, DOE has not yet submitted a report to Congress. The ASCR’s FY 14 budget request for High Performance Computing and Network Facilities subprogram includes funding to “expand investments in critical technologies for exascale,” but no specific budget has been requested.[7]

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[1] http://hultgren.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/hultgren-introduces-american-super-computing-leadership-act
[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2014/06/23/chinas-tianhe-2-remains-the-worlds-fastest-supercomputer/
[3] http://www.top500.org/list/2014/06/
[4] http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-113-SY20-20130522-SD001%20.pdf, at 2.
[5] http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-113-SY20-20130522-SD001%20.pdf, at 2.
[6] Id. at 2.
[7] Id. at 4.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable. However, no cost is expected.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.