Exascale Blood Dries on U.S. Axe

By Nicole Hemsoth

April 11, 2013

The federal R&D budget figures for 2014 have been released and as many suspected following last year’s pushback on the exascale timeline, there was no room left in the government wallet for one quintillion FLOPS.

As John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy briefly noted following questions about the future of the program, “the budget does not set goals for exascale.”

He did his best to soften the news by pointing to a 6% increase for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Scientific Computing Program, with a sweetener that the Networking and IT R&D inter-agency program will also get a 4.2% increase.

In this U.S. post-sequester reality, however, it is worth noting that programs to boost computational capabilities haven’t all been wiped away. And for now, there is still a great deal of funding that’s been tossed about to various labs and vendors seeking cures to exascale-class problems following last summer’s FastForward program.

The lack of push to exascale represents a competitive loss for the U.S., which is under renewed pressure to keep up with China’s ambitions on that front. But as we learned around last SC season, the timeline, which was once very aggressive, was clicked from fast forward to slow motion. The new, perhaps more realistic target is around 2020 as more pressing needs, including clean energy, climate change research, and advances in human health targets keep the nation more grounded. Then again, supercomputing is critical to all of the above. But does it have to be at exascale to be useful?

As NSF chief Cora Marrett said about the upcoming computer science investments from her camp, they will continue to “draw on decades of funding leading-edge computer science research…supporting a comprehensive portfolio of advanced infrastructure, programs and resources to facilitate research in computational and data-intensive science and engineering.” In an effort not to leave out the supercomputing folk, she pointed quickly to the recent massive investments in three main supers, including Yellowstone, Stampede and Blue Waters as continuing development areas.

This is all assuming, of course, the economy can at least find some steady footing. From the outside, it looks like the faltering for overall R&D programs has halted—but numbers aren’t always what they seem.

All told, 2014 will mark a $142.8 billion spend toward federal R&D programs, which marks an increase of $1.9 billion over what was doled out in 2012. But before you get excited about a renewed emphasis on research and development, remember that these figures are given without the all-important measure of inflation. Take that into account and you’re left with a decline in spending in “real dollar” terms, although slight.

Holdren says that this tricky decrease “is small, but represents a continuing commitment to avoid eating our seed core and protecting what we can of our R&D and STEM education budget.”

Three departments were identified by the Obama administration as being crucial to the long-term economic, social and research goals of the nation—the National Science Foundation (NSF), The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Between the three of those, it almost sounds like the perfect storm for major supercomputing investment, but instead, key areas are focused on health, environmental and various other pressing areas, including space exploration. Naturally, these areas can’t be pushed forward without the aid of large-scale systems, but for now, the word “data-intensive” was bandied about in favor of exascale.

The National Institutes of Health is another area that will see some serious funding that will draw computational research into the funding fold. With the rise in electronic health records, genetic data goals and a slew of other research projects, including the recently-announced BRAIN Initiative, the agency is starting to see the appeal of the big data buzz. As NIH Director, Francis Collins noted, the health agency will be tapping into $41 million of its funding to launch the “Big Data to Knowledge” program to facilitate the sharing of large, complex biomedical datasets, new analytical methods and software, centers of excellence to support the research, and new resources dedicated to computational biology.

Holdren stressed that, “Throughout the budget, every new initiative is fully paid for, thus adding nothing to the deficit.” Further, he added, this goes a long way to achieving “another $1.8 trillion dollars in deficit reduction in a balanced way.”

He says that when combined with the deficit reduction already achieved, the president’s budget puts the nation on track to exceed the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction while growing economy and middle class through the various science, math and engineering (STEM) programs to create one million STEM nerds over the next decade.

And the term “nerds”  is being used lovingly, you all know that… *sigh* …Just trying to make you feel better, America.

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!

Long Flights to Cluster Fights: Meet the Asian Student Cluster Teams

November 22, 2017

Five teams from Asia traveled thousands of miles to compete at the SC17 Student Cluster Competition in Denver. Our cameras were there to meet ‘em, greet ‘em, and grill ‘em about their clusters and how they’re doi Read more…

By Dan Olds

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open question. The latest geo-region to throw its hat in the quantum co Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshop Read more…

By Andrew Jones

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE Wins “Best HPC Server” for the Apollo 6000 Gen10 System

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) was nominated for 14 HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards—including “Best High Performance Computing (HPC) Server Product or Technology” and “Top Supercomputing Achievement.” The HPE Apollo 6000 Gen10 was named “Best HPC Server” of 2017. Read more…

Turnaround Complete, HPE’s Whitman Departs

November 22, 2017

Having turned around the aircraft carrier the Silicon Valley icon had become, Meg Whitman is leaving the helm of a restructured Hewlett Packard. Her successor, technologist Antonio Neri will now guide what Whitman assert Read more…

By George Leopold

Long Flights to Cluster Fights: Meet the Asian Student Cluster Teams

November 22, 2017

Five teams from Asia traveled thousands of miles to compete at the SC17 Student Cluster Competition in Denver. Our cameras were there to meet ‘em, greet ‘em Read more…

By Dan Olds

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC Read more…

By Andrew Jones

SC Bids Farewell to Denver, Heads to Dallas for 30th Anniversary

November 17, 2017

After a jam-packed four-day expo and intensive six-day technical program, SC17 has wrapped up another successful event that brought together nearly 13,000 visit Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC17 Keynote – HPC Powers SKA Efforts to Peer Deep into the Cosmos

November 17, 2017

This week’s SC17 keynote – Life, the Universe and Computing: The Story of the SKA Telescope – was a powerful pitch for the potential of Big Science projects that also showcased the foundational role of high performance computing in modern science. It was also visually stunning. Read more…

By John Russell

How Cities Use HPC at the Edge to Get Smarter

November 17, 2017

Cities are sensoring up, collecting vast troves of data that they’re running through predictive models and using the insights to solve problems that, in some Read more…

By Doug Black

Student Cluster LINPACK Record Shattered! More LINs Packed Than Ever before!

November 16, 2017

Nanyang Technological University, the pride of Singapore, utterly destroyed the Student Cluster Competition LINPACK record by posting a score of 51.77 TFlop/s a Read more…

By Dan Olds

Hyperion Market Update: ‘Decent’ Growth Led by HPE; AI Transparency a Risk Issue

November 15, 2017

The HPC market update from Hyperion Research (formerly IDC) at the annual SC conference is a business and social “must,” and this year’s presentation at S Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Focuses Its Cloud Containers on HPC Applications

November 14, 2017

Having migrated its top-of-the-line datacenter GPU to the largest cloud vendors, Nvidia is touting its Volta architecture for a range of scientific computing ta Read more…

By George Leopold

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line

July 28, 2017

This week Cray announced that it is picking up Seagate's ClusterStor HPC storage array business for an undisclosed sum. "In short we're effectively transitioning the bulk of the ClusterStor product line to Cray," said CEO Peter Ungaro. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Advances Web-based Quantum Programming

September 5, 2017

IBM Research is pairing its Jupyter-based Data Science Experience notebook environment with its cloud-based quantum computer, IBM Q, in hopes of encouraging a new class of entrepreneurial user to solve intractable problems that even exceed the capabilities of the best AI systems. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Share This