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Supercomputing in the US Senate stimulus bill

A PAC called the Senate Conservatives Fund, who according to their website are “dedicated to electing true conservatives to the United States Senate,” is highlighting what it calls “disguised earmarks” in the Senate version of the stimulus bill. Their comments are of specific interest to us not because they might be earmarks, but because they fund HPC

Maryland Supercomputer Center, Page 14/15 of the report.
“Within these funds, $70,000,000 directed to specifically support supercomputer activities, especially as they relate to climate research.”

That one goes to NOAA at the National Center for Environmental Prediction in Maryland. NASA gets named, too

Texas and California NASA Space Centers, Page 20 of the report.
“The Committee recommends $250,000,000 for high priority hurricane repair and mitigation and facility repair projects. Funding is recommended to repair NASA facilities damaged by Hurricane Ike and to reduce the significant backlog of maintenance and repair projects at NASA facilities nationwide. Within the funds provided, $70,000,000 is to improve NASA’s supercomputing capabilities”

For convenience, here is the draft bill and the committee report.

This got me to thinking, and I wondered whether they have called all supercomputing in the Senate bill. They have not. Other references to supercomputing in the committee report NOT identified as earmarks by the Senate Conservatives PAC which I found in going through the text are:

Page 21 ( NSF)
The Foundation is encouraged to renovate and maintain existing NSF facilities, including the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System vessels and associated property. NSF shall also include $50,000,000 for supporting advancements in supercomputer technology.

Page 33 (DOE, Science)
The Committee provides $430,000,000 for the Science Program. Of the total, $330,000,000 is for laboratory infrastructure and construction, and $100,000,000 is for advanced computer research and development.

Page 34 (DOE, NNSA)
The Committee provides $1,000,000,000, of which $900,000,000 is to be applied to address maintenance and general plant project backlogs, other construction activities, and various energy projects throughout the weapons complex. The remaining $100,000,000 is for advanced computer research and development.

You can read and search the House bill, committe report, and amendments here. I searched and found no references to HPC, supercomputers, or supercomputing, although as the CRA points out there are certainly many items that could end up going to HPC.


  1. […] time we can ignore it. Some of the time, bad ideas emerge. John West at pointed out some of the rhetoric circling about the massive spending bill under consideration in the US government. I for one would […]

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