The High Performance Computing R&D Act, which we’ve reported on previously, was approved by the House today on a voice vote. The bill would amend the original High Performance Computing and Communications Act of 1991 (HPCC) to attempt to provide sustained, transparent access for the research community to federal HPC assets, assure a balanced research portfolio and beef up interagency planning. We like the bill and have endorsed it. (Here’s what it does (pdf) to current law.)
The bill now heads to the Senate. Previous versions of the bill in prior sessions of Congress have not fared well in the Senate, usually for reasons unrelated to the actual bill (Senate traffic jams and disputes between the House Science and Senate Commerce committees over other legislation are the most-often cited difficulties). But, talking with Senate staff, it appears the path to enactment this session is a bit smoother and freer of obstructions than in previous years. We understand that a bill very similar to the HPC R&D Act will be introduced soon in the Senate with a bipartisan set of co-sponsors — and we’ll have more detail soon.
For now, here’s a link to the House Science and Technology Committee’s press release marking the passage of the bill, and a snippet:
Research and Science Education Subcommittee Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA) sponsored the bill along with co-sponsor, Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) who proposed similar legislation in both the 108th and 109th Congress.
“Information technology is an engine that drives economic growth in this country,” said Chairman Baird. “It creates high-wage jobs, provides for rapid communication throughout the world, and provides tools for closing the knowledge gap. This bill will help develop and deploy the fastest, most up-to-date, and technologically advanced super-computing systems that are essential for U.S. scientific, industrial, and military competitiveness.”