Quick Take: Trump’s 2020 Budget Spares DoE-funded HPC but Slams NSF and NIH

By John Russell

March 12, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget request, released yesterday, proposes deep cuts in many science programs but seems to spare HPC funding by the Department of Energy. Less fortunate were the National Science Foundation whose funding would be cut $1 billion (~13 percent) and the National Institutes of Health with a cut of roughly $4.5 billion (~12 percent). Full details of the proposed budget will become clearer next week with release of the budget tables. It’s important to remember that Congress has reworked Trump’s budgets in the past, resisting sweeping reductions in science spending.

The new budget provides, “$5.5 billion for [DoE’s] Office of Science to continue its mission to focus on early-stage research, operate the national laboratories, and continue high priority construction projects. Within this amount, $500 million is budgeted for Exascale computing to help secure a global leadership role in supercomputing, $169 million for Quantum Information Science, $71 million for artificial intelligence and machine learning, and $25 million to enhance materials and chemistry foundational research to support U.S.-based leadership in microelectronics.” (2020 Budget Request, page 37)

The full DoE Budget request is $31.7 billion, a $1.1 billion increase. Among highlights made public on a DoE fact sheet posted are:

  • $119 million for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve the robustness, reliability, and transparency of Big Data and AI technologies, as well as quantification and development of software tools for DOE mission applications. This includes $71 million for the Office of Science (SC) and $48 million for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
  • $809 million for the Exascale Computing Initiative, including $500M for SC and $309M for the NNSA, which will enable the deployment of an Exascale computer system in calendar year 2021.
  • $168 million for Quantum Funding, to understand how quantum systems behave and to address scientific challenges beyond the capabilities of classical computers.

One government watcher suggested the $309 million from NNSA called out for exascale is a good sign and NNSA is getting serious about exascale.

Looking at other science activities, the Washington Post reported:

“NIH would face a roughly $4.5 billion budget cut, according to an HHS document. Among the big losers, if Congress were to sign off on the budget request, would be the National Cancer Institute, dropping from $6.1 billion to $5.2 billion, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, going from $5.5 billion to $4.75 billion.

“The administration is highlighting its request for $1.3 billion for opioid and pain research “as part of the government-wide effort to combat the opioid epidemic.”

“The NSF, which funds roughly a quarter of all federally supported basic science and engineering research in the U.S., would see its budget fall from $8.1 billion this year to $7.1 billion in 2020.

“NASA faces a modest cut — 2.3 percent lower than the agency’s 2019 funding, which was approved last month by Congress. The $21 billion for NASA is more than the Trump administration asked for last year, as administrator Jim Bridenstine pointed out Monday in a statement describing the FY2020 budget as “one of the strongest on record for our storied agency.” Bridenstine said the budget keeps NASA on track for putting humans on the moon again by 2028.”

As proposed, the full 2020 budget ($4.7 trillion) increases military spending while cutting domestic programs like education and environmental protection. Noteworthy, these are fairly early days in the budget building process. With Democrats controlling the House of Representatives and Republicans controlling the Senate, any bill that emerges is likely to differ significantly from the President’s initial proposal. HPCwire will provide updated coverage as more budget detail is released.

Link to budget: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/budget-fy2020.pdf

Link to DoE fact sheet: https://www.energy.gov/articles/department-energy-fy-2020-budget-request-fact-sheet

Link to HHS document: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/fy-2020-budget-in-brief.pdf

Link to Washington Post article on the budget (Trump budget seeks cuts in science funding): https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/03/11/trump-budget-seeks-cuts-science-funding/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d163e35bbf96

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