Task force seeks more access to supercomputers

Agencies that use supercomputers are being asked to join a task force to make high-end systems more accessible for federal uses.

The National Science and Technology Council will guide the new high-end computing revitalization group, said William T. Turnbull, deputy CIO of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Turnbull, who also heads NOAA's High-Performance Computing and Communications Office, spoke last month at the National High-Performance Computing and Communications Council's annual conference in Newport, R.I.

Impetus for the task force came from an Office of Management and Budget comment on NOAA's fiscal 2004 budget request, Turnbull said: 'Due to its impact on a wide range of federal agency missions ranging from national security and defense to basic science, high-end computing'or supercomputing'capability is becoming increasingly critical.'

NOAA depends on supercomputers for daily weather forecasts and long-range climate predictions. Other agencies use them to simulate weapons systems, study the human genome, and look for new types of medicines and materials.

Turnbull said the task force will consider:
  • An interagency R&D road map for core high-end computing technologies

  • A federal high-end computing capacity survey and accessibility improvement plan

  • Recommendations for procurement of high-end computing systems.

Turnbull said he expects the results to guide hardware investments and improve software used for scientific simulations and other tasks.

The interagency task force will operate 'on a very compressed, tight schedule' and may finish its work as early as October, Turnbull said.

For more information about the task force, visit www.itrd.gov/hecrtf-outreach/index.html.

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