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Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington DC

By Mr. BINGAMAN (for himself, Mr. ALEXANDER, and Mr. DURBIN):

S. 3459. A bill to amend the Department of Energy High-End Computing Revitalization Act of 2004 to improve the high-end computing research and development program of the Department of Energy, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I am pleased to introduce the Department of Energy High-End Computing Improvement Act of 2012, along with my co-sponsors, Senators Alexander and Durbin. This bipartisan bill addresses the need for ongoing high performance computing and the establishment of an exascale program within the Department of Energy, DOE.

America's leadership in high performance computing, HPC, is essential to a vast range of national priorities in science, energy, environment, health, and national security. For decades the U.S. was the leader in HPC through collaborative efforts led by the DOE between national laboratories, academia, and industry. Investments in HPC have facilitated extraordinary scientific and technological advances that have enabled a wide range of simulation and analysis saving time, money, energy and fuel, which has strengthened the U.S. economy and contributed to national security.

U.S. leadership in HPC has recently been challenged through significant governmental investment in HPC programs in Japan, China, South Korea, Russia, and the European Union, and the race to exascale computing is on. Exascale computers will be able to perform 10 to the 18th power floating point operations per second making them 1000 times more powerful than the most advanced computers today. These new computers will require the development of new software and computer architectures with improved power consumption, memory, and reliability.

This bipartisan bill updates the Department of Energy High-End Computing Revitalization Act of 2004 to preserve DOE HPC and to distinguish the exascale initiative from other high-end computing efforts. Based on input from the DOE, appropriate funding levels are established through this bill to support the exascale initiative through fiscal year 2015. This bill will ensure that the U.S. remains competitive in the race to exascale and as with previous generations of HPC systems, the resulting technological advances will further support Federal priorities like research and national security and will be integrated into electronics industries strengthening high-tech competitiveness and driving economic growth.

I would like to conclude by taking a moment to acknowledge the exceptional efforts of a few staff members who have worked diligently to help craft this important piece of legislation. Jonathan Epstein, a former staff member on my Energy and Natural Resources Committee and current staff member on the Armed Services Committee and Jennifer Nekuda Malik, a AAAS Science Policy Fellow on my Energy and Natural Resources Committee worked with Neena Imam, a Legislative Fellow on Senator Alexander's staff and Tom Craig, a staff member on the Appropriations Committee, to update the DOE's high-end computing program to account for changes since the Department of Energy High-End Computing Revitalization Act of 2004 and establish the exascale computing program. I appreciate the efforts of these staff members and I thank them for their work.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.


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