Will SC15 Talk Provide Glimpse into NSCI Implementation Plans?

By John Russell

October 15, 2015

With Randy Bryant (OSTP) and Tim Polk (NIST) slated the to give an invited talk at SC15 explaining the National Strategic Computing Initiative, the timing seems perfect for an early preview of specifics contained in NSCI’s implementation plan. The talked is highlighted on today’s SC15 Blog.

President Obama’s Executive Order establishing NSCI was issued at the end of July and mandates “The [NSCI] Executive Council shall, within 90 days of the date of this order, establish an implementation plan to support and align efforts across agencies in support of the NSCI objectives.” That would be no later than the end of October.

Currently the HPC industry enthusiasm for NSCI remains high but the devil is the details and not surprisingly there have been lots of questions around governance, industry-government collaboration, IP, and funding to name but a few. Many of these concerns were raised at the HPC User Forum meeting run by IDC in September. (See HPC User Forum Presses NSCI Panelists on Plans)

NSCI, of course, is extraordinarily ambitious. As outlined in the executive order, the NSCI has four overarching principles and five objectives, both bulleted out below.

NSCI principles:

  1. The United States must deploy and apply new HPC technologies broadly for economic competitiveness and scientific discovery.
  2. The United States must foster public-private collaboration, relying on the respective strengths of government, industry, and academia to maximize the benefits of HPC.
  3. The United States must adopt a whole-of-government approach that draws upon the strengths of and seeks cooperation among all executive departments and agencies with significant expertise or equities in HPC while also collaborating with industry and academia.
  4. The United States must develop a comprehensive technical and scientific approach to transition HPC research on hardware, system software, development tools, and applications efficiently into development and, ultimately, operations.

NSCI objectives:

  1. Accelerating delivery of a capable exascale computing system that integrates hardware and software capability to deliver approximately 100 times the performance of current 10 petaflop systems across a range of applications representing government needs.
  2. Increasing coherence between the technology base used for modeling and simulation and that used for data analytic computing.
  3. Establishing, over the next 15 years, a viable path forward for future HPC systems even after the limits of current semiconductor technology are reached (the “post- Moore’s Law era”).
  4. Increasing the capacity and capability of an enduring national HPC ecosystem by employing a holistic approach that addresses relevant factors such as networking technology, workflow, downward scaling, foundational algorithms and software, accessibility, and workforce development.
  5. Developing an enduring public-private collaboration to ensure that the benefits of the research and development advances are, to the greatest extent, shared between the United States Government and industrial and academic sectors.

Distinguished HPC leaders and co-editors of HPCwire’s Exascale Edition, Thomas Sterling and William Group, wrote in HPCwire, “Not since the signing of legislation in 1991 for the HPCC initiative has the nation articulated a bold and specific goal for the advancement of HPC and the benefits to be derived.”

The SC15 blog states “The Federal Government is moving forward aggressively to realize that vision. This presentation will describe the NSCI, its current status, and some of its implications for HPC in the U.S. for the coming decade.”

The SC15 talk by Bryant and Polk may provide the first look at NSCI plan details; if so, it will not only be fascinating but also will no doubt generate a loud chorus of widely varying opinion. Click here to review the official Executive Order from President Obama and click here for the official fact sheet.

Speaker Backgrounds:

Randal E. Bryant
Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy
The United States of America
Randal Bryant has been on the computer science faculty at Carnegie Mellon University for over 30 years, serving as Dean of the School of Computer Science from 2004 to 2014. Starting in 2014, he also has been at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he serves as Assistant Director for IT R&D.

William (Tim) Polk    
Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy
The United States of America
Tim Polk joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 1982, where he has concentrated on Internet security since 1987. In 2013, he joined the Office of Science and Technology Policy, where high performance computing complements his duties as Assistant Director for Cybersecurity.

Sampling of HPCwire NSCI Coverage

Speak Up: NSF Seeks Science Drivers for Exascale and the NSCI

HPC User Forum Presses NSCI Panelists on Plans

Podcast: Industry Leaders on the Promise & Peril of NSCI

New National HPC Strategy Is Bold, Important and More Daunting than US Moonshot

White House Launches National HPC Strategy

 

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