I was going over the 2007 budget supplement for the “Network and Information Technology Research and Developement Program“, Ya I need a life I know, anyhow, I found a few intereresting items mixed in with all the jargon and double talk.

 As a quick overview. The NITRD program is a blanket organization over a lot of the high performance computing groups in the government. In fact the NITRD program controls the budgets, etc of eight major “Program Component Area’s” or groups as it were. These are.

  1. High End Computing infrastructure and applications.
  2. High-end computing research and developement
  3. Cyber Security and information assurance
  4. Human-Computer interaction and information management
  5. Large-Scale networking
  6. High-Confidence Software and systems
  7. Social, economic and workforce implications of IT and IT workforce developement
  8. Software design and productivity

 To give you an idea of the government agencies that are effected by this here’s a short list. NSF (National Science Foundation), NIH (National Institute of Health), DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency), NASA, NSA, DoD, DOE, NOAA, EPA, OMB, etc etc etc. We’re talking some big hitters here. ALL are effected by this supplemental budget.

Some of the highlights of the new budget are.

  • Chartering of a High End Computing working group. This new group will report to the NITRD Subcommittee.
  • Chartering of the Cyber Security and Information Assurance Working Group.
  • Reporting from the High Performance Computing Modernization Program Office (HPCMPO, whom I used to work with)
  • A doubling over the next 10 years of the budgets that support basic research in the physical sciences and engineeering.

Highlights that I personally found interesting:

     In the High End Computing Infrastructure and Applications Working Group.

  1. NSF: Petascale resources by 2010. (That’s almost a factor of 10 increase in performance over our current large scale systems)
  2. NERSC to aquire a 100-150 Tera Flop computing system.
  3. ORNL to upgrade current systems to over 250 TeraFlops. (Here’s a plug for an ex co-worker of mine. Go Richard Barrett! The man is a Nuclear Hero. Truly, he has the plaque and all.)
  4. ANL to get a 100+ TeraFlop Blue Gene system.
  5. NSF to have a new Office of Cyberinfrastructure.

This list goes on and on. This is truly a good sign for us. Getting High End computing systems out to the different agencies and departments means more research is done, which means new and exciting items get created, and it means I get to keep playing with some really cool toys. (-:


Now one VERY interesting item in the budget supplement was the complete lack of mention of any specific computer company or computer company project, outside of purchases/upgrades that is. With one very glaring exception. Three Cray  projects are mentioned by name. THREE, and not another computer company mentioned AT ALL. Hmmmm………

High End Computing (HEC) Research and Developement (R&D) Working Group

  • Vector processor system: Continue cooperative developement- NSA, with other NITRD agencies. (As far as I know Cray is still the ONLY U.S. company making/designing vector machines.)
  • Black Widow performance reviews: Assess progress on developmental milestones- NSA, with DARPA, DOE/NNSA, DOE/SC, NASA, NSF, OSD. (Why do I say this  is Cray? Well, the Black Widow project is the follow on project to the Cray X1e supercomputer no less. I think this is about the only U.S. based vector system currently under serious development, and there are a couple of three letter inteligence agencies that just love love love! the way vector systems run their code.)
  • NSA: Eldorado– work with vendor on XT3 modifications, fully funding development in 2005-2006, available in 2006-2007. (The Eldorado project is a modification on the Cray XT3 system which is the commercialized version of the Red Storm system at Sandia National Labs. By the way, did you catch that fully funding part?)

So, Cray is looking pretty good considering they were darn near ready to go belly up not too long ago. In fact things were so ugly they put an ex IBM’r in charge. Someone I’ve actually met no less. Go Peter GO! Peter Ungaro left IBM to be a VP at Cray and before you know it , WHAM!, he’s the CEO and President. I’ve heard many rumours that the Govt. wouldn’t let an asset like Cray go poof, and gee, what do you know……

 Well, enough for now. I need to get back to making money and paying bills. By the way, next on my reading list is the “Federal Plan for High-End Computing.” I’ll do a partial review of that shortly. Till then, Ta ta….