Update: National Labs Continue HPC During Shutdown, But What About SC13?

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WPTV_Government_Shutdown_20130929175934_320_240Over at Computerworld, Patrick Thibodeau writes that while the National Labs have money to keep HPC up and running during the current government shutdown, there is a limit.

The national labs are technically contractors and have some budget flexibility that other government agencies do not. But one source said that there is contingency planning to conserve funding, including canceling some travel and an extreme-scale research conference that was due to start next week. A national lab source said officials are deciding what do if the shutdown goes on much longer. At some point, “it may come down to choosing what equipment to keep powered up, and if employees should be furloughed.”

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Given that we are just six weeks away from SC13 in Denver, this all begs the question: what effect the Government Shutdown will have on the conference? Agencies with SC13 booths such as NASA have already furloughed non-essential personnel.

As you may recall, the National Labs pulled their booths from the SC12 conference last year and have not returned. And attendance numbers were definitely down last year.

As of this writing, insideHPC has heard of a number of government contractors who have already canceled plans to travel to SC13. We’re working on getting an update from the SC13 conference committee.

The SC13 site just posted this note from Conference Chair Bill Gropp.

SC13 and the US Government Shutdown

The SC family is diverse, and includes many volunteers and committee members who are directly affected by the shutdown of the US government – our thoughts and concerns are with these families and their communities during this difficult time.

We understand that SC13 is a vital part of annual planning for many of you, and we are beginning to get questions from you about possible impacts of the shutdown on this November’s conference. Today I can say that the US Government shutdown has not had a significant impact on SC13. In fact, registration remains very strong.

SC13 remains confident that the shutdown will be resolved before the conference begins. However, in the event that it is not resolved, SC13 will waive the conference cancelation fees for those directly affected by the shutdown, including federal employees and federal contractors who must follow US government travel rules. We are also considering extending the early registration period for those attendees as well.

SC13 is committed to making this year’s conference the best ever and will do everything we can to ensure everyone can attend.

Bill Gropp
SC13 General Chair