The House today re-passed HR 4516, the High End Computing Revitalization Act of 2004, which would authorize the creation of a “leadership class” supercomputer at DOE and a “High-end Software Development Center.” The House action means that the bill will now head to the President, who is expected to sign it.
We’ve covered the bill in detail in this space previously. Because it’s an authorization, it doesn’t actually include any money (just “authorizes” sums to be spent should the money get appropriated). Funding for a “leadership class” computer ($30 million, including $25 million for hardware) is included in the House version of the FY 2005 Energy and Water appropriations bill. However, it’s unlikely that bill will make it into the Omnibus Appropriations bill expected to be considered later this week because portions dealing with the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository are deemed too contentious to get resolved before Congress adjourns. This means those agencies funded under the Energy and Water bill may not get an appropriation for FY 05 and may instead operate under a special “continuing resolution.” It’s not clear at this point what that continuing resolution might look like and whether or not it would contain any funding for the proposed supercomputer.
We’ll have a better idea by Thanksgiving when the 108th Congress is expected to adjourn for good.
The House Science Committee issued a press release marking the passage of HR 4516, but it doesn’t appear to be on their website yet. You can find it after the jump.
Update: The Chronicle of Higher Ed has more (sub req’d), including a quote from CRA board member Dan Reed:
Daniel A. Reed, vice chancellor for information technology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that the law would increase the political visibility of supercomputing in the United States. Mr. Reed and other supporters of the bill say that the American supercomputing industry has lost its competitiveness and is not making products that can be used for cutting-edge research.
“This will help put it back on the front burner,” Mr. Reed said.
Update (11/22): The Energy and Water appropriations bill referred to above did get included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill, and it did include $30 million for DOE’s Leadership Class computing effort — $25 million for hardware, $5 million for software development.
Update (11/30): The President has signed the bill!