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house Bill H.R. 874

Does The U.S. Need To Build The Ultimate Super Computer?

Argument in favor

America’s computing power is stagnant. Building a exascale system will have major benefits for national security, health care, engineering and other fields of science — bringing the U.S. back to its rightful place as the world's supercomputing innovator.

Lomeli's Opinion
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05/19/2015
Science drives a country's development and improvements. A single breakthrough by one scientist on one experiment can trigger a massive wave of new technologies bettering our entire wellbeing and prosperity.
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Steve's Opinion
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05/19/2015
I for one welcome our publicly funded computer overlords. In all seriousness, it *SHOULD* be the job of government to use taxpayer money to fund scientific and technological innovations. Government is the expression of what we can build together; let's use it to make the world a better place.
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Spider-Man's Opinion
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05/19/2015
I say yes. Regardless of the time it takes, we need to get back in the game when it comes to STEM. We also need to get rid of common core and over-testing students.
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Argument opposed

Creating an exascale system would require a comprehensive and costly transformation in computing that could take years to implement, and even longer before taxpayers will see tangible benefits.

Allen's Opinion
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03/10/2015
Let private enterprise do it if it is needed. Stop government involvement as they will only use it to further infringe on our liberties.
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RobertAllport's Opinion
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03/09/2015
The U.S. needs to feed the hungry children on the streets, dismantle the computers already in use to violate our privacy, resolve immigration, settle a 17 trillion debt, amend relations with Israel, reaffirm Religious Liberty and family values. That's what America needs to do. I see no need for the expenditure of 10 billion dollars for another info collection database.
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ThomasParker's Opinion
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05/23/2015
It is not the role of the government to do this. I can just see it now: as soon as they finish, they will have spent a fortune, and the technology will be a decade outdated.
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What is House Bill H.R. 874?

This act would authorize the development of more powerful computing systems for advanced U.S. scientific and engineering research.

Specifically, the Department of Energy (DOE) would create an “exascale computing system.” Exascale systems increase a computer's processing power one thousandfold (compared to current petascale computers). For context, this is a level of computer processing that is close to the level of neural activity in the human brain.  

To create this system, the Secretary of Energy would be required to:

  • Coordinate the creation of an advanced computing system for the DOE, used to integrate research and development projects.
  • Partner with universities and labs dedicated to scientific, medical and industrial research, as well as integrate research between DOE labs.
  • Conduct research into technologies that reduce power needs for computers, and that improve memory, storage space, and bandwidth.
  • Co-design activities to advance exascale computing platforms. In plain English, this means developing the algorithms, codes and computer technology that would form the body of an exascale system.
  • Green light any software or hardware upgrades needed to produce a practical exascale system.
  • Write a plan for Congress before beginning the first phase of the project. This should include cost projections, technical challenges, and an assessment of the scientific advancements that can be expected from investing in an exascale system.

Impact

American universities, computing industries, The Department of Energy, and current supercomputers.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 874

$105.00 Million
Under current efforts to research and develop high-end computing systems, the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program (an arm of the Dept. of Energy’s Office of Science) has $105 million for 2015 efforts to develop exascale computing. The CBO found that this bill would not result in a significant expansion of current exascale research and development activities.

More Information

Of Note: Creating an exascale system would vastly increase the power of computing processes. Right now, however, it’s strictly theoretical. Exascale systems would require a radical change in the traditional way computing is done. 

One of the biggest challenges to constructing an exascale system is the sheer amount of data that would have to be stored and moved. To get a sense of the scale, it’s helpful to look at FLOPS, otherwise known as Floating-point Operations Per Second, which measure the performance of a computing system by looking at the instructions being issued each second. In an exascale system, each exaflop would really be 10 quintillion FLOPS. That kind of computing would require roughly 100 megawatts of power, the equivalent of the energy needed to power tens of thousands of homes.

So, how likely is it that an exascale system will be developed? It’s not clear, but the outlook for the immediate future is not good. The Deputy Director of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at University of California, Berkeley bet $2,000 that an exascale system won’t be achieved before 2020.

(Photo Credit: Andy Field (Field Office))

AKA

American Super Computing Leadership Act

Official Title

To amend the Department of Energy High-End Computing Revitalization Act of 2004 to improve the high-end computing research and development program of the Department of Energy, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house Passed May 19th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    IntroducedFebruary 11th, 2015

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    Science drives a country's development and improvements. A single breakthrough by one scientist on one experiment can trigger a massive wave of new technologies bettering our entire wellbeing and prosperity.
    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
    Let private enterprise do it if it is needed. Stop government involvement as they will only use it to further infringe on our liberties.
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    I for one welcome our publicly funded computer overlords. In all seriousness, it *SHOULD* be the job of government to use taxpayer money to fund scientific and technological innovations. Government is the expression of what we can build together; let's use it to make the world a better place.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    The U.S. needs to feed the hungry children on the streets, dismantle the computers already in use to violate our privacy, resolve immigration, settle a 17 trillion debt, amend relations with Israel, reaffirm Religious Liberty and family values. That's what America needs to do. I see no need for the expenditure of 10 billion dollars for another info collection database.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    I say yes. Regardless of the time it takes, we need to get back in the game when it comes to STEM. We also need to get rid of common core and over-testing students.
    Like (8)
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    It is not the role of the government to do this. I can just see it now: as soon as they finish, they will have spent a fortune, and the technology will be a decade outdated.
    Like (7)
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    This is where we should draw the line between where the government funds research and development verse the private sector funding it to be able to make a profit.
    Like (3)
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    It is particularly important to maintain US prominence on the forefront of computer advancement; computers are the future so by maintaining a leading role in that sector we also maintain leadership for future generations.
    Like (3)
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    The growing trend across 1st world countries is to digitalize. It could be from moving things from a hard disk storage to the "cloud", increased automation in mundane proceses, or computational power to get things done quicker. Weither it is now or later, an advancment needs to be made on our end that allows us to keep up. Scientific advancments, such as this, are what allow a country to move forward presenting opportunities that were not even an option (or theorized) before.
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    The US federal government does not have to have it's finger in everything. The prestige of the accomplishment is sufficient for private enterprise.
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    Get back to constitutional priorities, please.
    Like (3)
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    Do they have a bathroom here, or do they put their turds up in the cloud?
    Like (2)
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    Want to see a cost estimate first
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    Invest in tech and you will get a return on that investment. Worst case we know not to pursue that avenue again. But the best case results might not be fully understood for years, while spurring innovation and progress. That's a risk well worth taking.
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    While in theory this seems a wonderful idea when looking at who is backing this bill and understanding the scale of the research and the potential uses of this computer, i have to say no.
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    And then it might be able to teach us how to have a productive government
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    Let's get our costs under control BEFORE spending in this area.
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    No more borrowing! Cut the budget and stop welfare. Work for your pay or die!!
    Like (1)
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    Better than money spent on the f-35. The Chinese will probably end up stealing the plans and building it for 10% of the cost.
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    Because we need for our research
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