HPC in the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill

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On Saturday Congress gave final approval to the Defense spending bill for fiscal year 2010 — only 3 months late, but whatever.

The DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program comes out with $237,406,000, which includes a $3,120,000 earmark for High Performance Computational Design of Novel Materials (see table below). This is apparently an increase over FY2009 of about $17M (I say apparently because I don’t have access to their actual budget, only their FY09 estimate as part of the FY10 RDT&E Budget Item Justification).

I did a search through the FY2010 Defense Explanatory Statement that was issued along with the bill (the bill itself is actually not very helpful in this regard) for HPC terms in earmarks, here’s what I came up with (if you want to do your own research on earmarks in this bill, scroll through to the section called “Congressionally Directed Spending Items”).

Account Project Amount House Req. Senate Req.
RDTE,DW  Initiative to Advance Adaptive Petascale Supercomputing (described on p 327 as a classified program) $8,000,000  Ruppersberger; Wu Alexander; Corker
RDTE,A Smart Sensor Supercomputing Center $8,000,000 Byrd
RDTE,DW High Speed Optical Interconnects for Next Generation Supercomputing $1,200,000 Dent Specter
RDTE,A High Performance Computing in Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences $1,200,000 Watt
RDTE,DW High Performance Computational Design of Novel Materials (this is primarily a software and technology effort that uses HPC) $3,120,000 Cochran, Wicker

None of these projects was funded at the full amount; the Biomedical request was $1.5M; the Novel Materials Senate request was $3.9M; the Petascale request was for $10M, Interconnects was $1.5M, and Smart Sensors was $10M.

The list of supporters on the Petascale effort shows the power of the Tennessee HPC community. That money will reportedly “go to a Cray Inc. supercomputer project in Tennessee.” The house sponsors are Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD) and Rep. David Wu (OR); in the Senate we have Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) and Sen. Bob Corker (TN). In Maryland’s case this earmark was the largest earmark sponsored by a lawmaker from that state, and the money doesn’t even go to MD. Corker’s website shows that the effort was originally a much more ambitious $60M project

Item: Initiative to Advance Adaptive Petascale Supercomputing

Request: $60,000,000

Suggested Recipient: Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) & National Security Agency (NSA)

Suggested Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Purpose: Funding would continue to expand NSA’s partnership and investments in computing facilities, high-end computing systems, advanced technology, and research at ORNL.


  1. Once again I am wondering why we tax payers are being asked to fund Cray and his cronies when the TN Mafia can do it so much better/cheaper.

    Take a look at the wonderful job that Cray did with his consolidation to a single contractor (my favorite part are all the unplanned downtimes) and one can easily make the argument that the HPCMP should cease to exist and DoE be made the cycle center of choice. After all the NOAA folks have figured it out, why can’t the DoD?