Science,Technology Will Suffer If US Goes Over Fiscal Cliff

By Ian Armas Foster

December 11, 2012

Since the US elections in November, all the political talk has shifted to the looming “fiscal cliff.” The term refers to two things: the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for profitable corporations and wealthy individuals and a comprehensive spending decrease across all aspects of government in 2013. The former had been planned by the Obama administration for a few years while the latter is a result of the negotiations that allowed for the debt ceiling to be raised in August of 2011.

The big issue for the IT industry is that these sequestration cuts happen across the board. Institutions like the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), which reward grants and indirectly drive the IT industry in the US, do not get a reprieve despite the fact that the research they oversee is key to the country’s long-term future.

“I think the federal agencies and the congressional appropriators have worked hard to carefully evaluate scientific research programs,” said Robert Gropp, director of public policy at the American Institute of Biological Sciences, who was quoted in recent article in Discovery News. “I think they have made the cuts to programs that were underperforming or of lower priority. I am not sure that there is much more that can be cut without very real and long-term negative ramifications.”

The spending cuts would, according to the AIBS, drop the grant proposal success rate in the NSF from 22 percent to 16 percent while the NIH proposal success rate drops from 19 to 14 percent.

Obviously, less funding from the government means research institutions and universities have to turn to the private sector, a sector that would not exactly come away from the tumble unscathed. After all, the removal of the Bush-era tax cuts directly affects those with the most power to invest and direct capital toward struggling researchers. Company execs would feel as if they have less money to spend and would probably choose to fund fewer new projects.

Further, with the public sector drying up, the private corporations would be flooded with proposals. That situation becomes problematic even before those corporations take on fewer projects, according to a Network World story published this week. “If you have a company that’s solely involved in government contracting and therefore their business is cut off, they’re going to try to branch out into other forms of business, at least in the near term, which will squeeze out other companies,” said Lamar Whitman, director of public advocacy for CompTIA.

In essence, with less money to go around the market gets crowded. If those conditions persist, the market shrinks. With that said, vendors adapting to new tax codes that would essentially eliminate write-offs for large purchases could adapt their pricing model such that they keep their client base intact, according to Richard Davis, managing director covering enterprise software for investment bank Canaccord Genuity.

Davis said that even with a freeze on government projects, vendors will find a way to power through. Some of the smaller or under-performing companies may diminish or be absorbed while profit margins decrease at larger vendors. The real trouble, however, lies in long-term national scientific achievement.

First of all, the lower grant acceptance rate means scientists have to devote more of their time to grant writing instead of focusing on actually planning and performing experiments. “In essence, they start doing less science – their time is going to preserving funding. This can certainly slow scientific progress,” said Gropp.

The long-term threat lies also simply in the number of people available to train the next generation for the jobs of the future. For example, there are currently 227,000 unfilled IT jobs in the United States today according to Indeed.com. That makes the IT industry third in the country behind healthcare and retail regarding vacancies.

For the most part, IT jobs go to people who have been trained in computer technology, math, and science. The data scientist job in particular, which the United States at its current rate (not the sequestered rate) is projected to fall a few hundred thousand short in filling over the next decade, comes largely from those interested in computational physics.

Going over the fiscal cliff would axe 31,000 jobs in the sciences alone, according to a George Mason study. That means 31,000 fewer people able to educate the youth and inspire interest in technology.

In short, a spending freeze would hamper the country’s already stammering science education system. This in turn would add to the country’s failure in filling its highly technical jobs, giving countries like China an opportunity to race ahead of the United States in technology research.

If precedent holds, some deal between the administration and Congress will be struck at the 11th hour, and the sequestration will be averted. If not, the short-term effect on tech vendors will be minimal, but the long-term effect on technology innovation in the United States could be ominous.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

European Commission Declares €8 Billion Investment in Supercomputing

September 18, 2020

Just under two years ago, the European Commission formalized the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU): a concerted HPC effort (comprising 32 participating states at current count) across the European Union and supplanting HPC Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Google Hires Longtime Intel Exec Bill Magro to Lead HPC Strategy

September 18, 2020

In a sign of the times, another prominent HPCer has made a move to a hyperscaler. Longtime Intel executive Bill Magro joined Google as chief technologist for high-performance computing, a newly created position that is a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Swiss Supercomputer Enables Ultra-Precise Climate Simulations

September 17, 2020

As smoke from the record-breaking West Coast wildfires pours across the globe and tropical storms continue to form at unprecedented rates, the state of the global climate is once again looming in the public eye. Owing to Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Future of Fintech on Display at HPC + AI Wall Street

September 17, 2020

Those who tuned in for Tuesday's HPC + AI Wall Street event got a peak at the future of fintech and lively discussion of topics like blockchain, AI for risk management, and high-frequency trading, as told by a group of l Read more…

By Alex Woodie,Tiffany Trader and Todd R. Weiss

Legacy HPC System Seeds Supercomputing Excellence at UT Dallas

September 16, 2020

What happens to supercomputers after their productive life at an academic research center ends? The question often arises when people hear that the average age of a top supercomputer at retirement is about five years. Rest assured — systems aren’t simply scrapped. Instead, they’re donated to organizations and institutions that can make... Read more…

By Aaron Dubrow

AWS Solution Channel

Next-generation aerospace modeling and simulation: benchmarking Amazon Web Services High Performance Computing services

The aerospace industry has been using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for decades to create and optimize designs digitally, from the largest passenger planes and fighter jets to gliders and drones. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Berlin Institute of Health: Putting HPC to Work for the World

Researchers from the Center for Digital Health at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) are using science to understand the pathophysiology of COVID-19, which can help to inform the development of targeted treatments. Read more…

IBM’s Quantum Race to One Million Qubits

September 15, 2020

IBM today outlined its ambitious quantum computing technology roadmap at its virtual Quantum Summit. The eye-popping million qubit number is still far out, agrees IBM, but perhaps not that far out. Just as eye-popping is IBM’s nearer-term plan for a 1,000-plus qubit system named Condor... Read more…

By John Russell

European Commission Declares €8 Billion Investment in Supercomputing

September 18, 2020

Just under two years ago, the European Commission formalized the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU): a concerted HPC effort (comprising 32 participating states at c Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Google Hires Longtime Intel Exec Bill Magro to Lead HPC Strategy

September 18, 2020

In a sign of the times, another prominent HPCer has made a move to a hyperscaler. Longtime Intel executive Bill Magro joined Google as chief technologist for hi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Future of Fintech on Display at HPC + AI Wall Street

September 17, 2020

Those who tuned in for Tuesday's HPC + AI Wall Street event got a peak at the future of fintech and lively discussion of topics like blockchain, AI for risk man Read more…

By Alex Woodie,Tiffany Trader and Todd R. Weiss

IBM’s Quantum Race to One Million Qubits

September 15, 2020

IBM today outlined its ambitious quantum computing technology roadmap at its virtual Quantum Summit. The eye-popping million qubit number is still far out, agrees IBM, but perhaps not that far out. Just as eye-popping is IBM’s nearer-term plan for a 1,000-plus qubit system named Condor... Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Commits to Buy Arm for $40B

September 14, 2020

Nvidia is acquiring semiconductor design company Arm Ltd. for $40 billion from SoftBank in a blockbuster deal that catapults the GPU chipmaker to a dominant position in the datacenter while helping troubled SoftBank reverse its financial woes. The deal, which has been rumored for... Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss and George Leopold

AMD’s Massive COVID-19 HPC Fund Adds 18 Institutions, 5 Petaflops of Power

September 14, 2020

Almost exactly five months ago, AMD announced its COVID-19 HPC Fund, an ongoing flow of resources and equipment to research institutions studying COVID-19 that began with an initial donation of $15 million. In June, AMD announced major equipment donations to several major institutions. Now, AMD is making its third major COVID-19 HPC Fund... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPC Strategist Dave Turek Joins DNA Storage (and Computing) Company Catalog

September 11, 2020

You've heard the saying "flash is the new disk and disk is the new tape," which traces its origins back to Jim Gray*. But what if DNA-based data storage could o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google’s Quantum Chemistry Simulation Suggests Promising Path Forward

September 9, 2020

A much-anticipated prize in quantum computing is the ability to more accurately model chemical bonding behavior. Doing so should lead to better chemical synthes Read more…

By John Russell

Supercomputer-Powered Research Uncovers Signs of ‘Bradykinin Storm’ That May Explain COVID-19 Symptoms

July 28, 2020

Doctors and medical researchers have struggled to pinpoint – let alone explain – the deluge of symptoms induced by COVID-19 infections in patients, and what Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia Said to Be Close on Arm Deal

August 3, 2020

GPU leader Nvidia Corp. is in talks to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from parent company Softbank, according to several reports over the weekend. If consummated Read more…

By George Leopold

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel’s 7nm Slip Raises Questions About Ponte Vecchio GPU, Aurora Supercomputer

July 30, 2020

During its second-quarter earnings call, Intel announced a one-year delay of its 7nm process technology, which it says it will create an approximate six-month shift for its CPU product timing relative to prior expectations. The primary issue is a defect mode in the 7nm process that resulted in yield degradation... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Keeps Cray Brand Promise, Reveals HPE Cray Supercomputing Line

August 4, 2020

The HPC community, ever-affectionate toward Cray and its eponymous founder, can breathe a (virtual) sigh of relief. The Cray brand will live on, encompassing th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Powers Fugaku’s Storage, Scores IO500 Win

August 28, 2020

In June, RIKEN shook the supercomputing world with its Arm-based, Fujitsu-built juggernaut: Fugaku. The system, which weighs in at 415.5 Linpack petaflops, topp Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DOD Orders Two AI-Focused Supercomputers from Liqid

August 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense is making a big investment in data analytics and AI computing with the procurement of two HPC systems that will provide the High Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Joliot-Curie Supercomputer Used to Build First Full, High-Fidelity Aircraft Engine Simulation

July 14, 2020

When industrial designers plan the design of a new element of a vehicle’s propulsion or exterior, they typically use fluid dynamics to optimize airflow and in Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Japan’s Fugaku Tops Global Supercomputing Rankings

June 22, 2020

A new Top500 champ was unveiled today. Supercomputer Fugaku, the pride of Japan and the namesake of Mount Fuji, vaulted to the top of the 55th edition of the To Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Azure Adds A100 GPU Instances for ‘Supercomputer-Class AI’ in the Cloud

August 19, 2020

Microsoft Azure continues to infuse its cloud platform with HPC- and AI-directed technologies. Today the cloud services purveyor announced a new virtual machine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This