White House Touts High-End Computing In R&D Budgets - InformationWeek

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White House Touts High-End Computing In R&D Budgets

It's instructing executive-branch heads to give priority to supercomputing and cyberinfrastructure research and development in their fiscal 2006 budgets.

The White House is instructing executive-branch heads to give priority to supercomputing and cyberinfrastructure research and development over other IT-related R&D initiatives as they prepare their budgets for fiscal year 2006, which begins Oct. 1, 2005. The administration also calls for more coordinated investment among agencies in nanotechnology R&D.

The administration has issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies strongly suggesting how to allot their R&D funds in their budgets for fiscal 2006, which must be submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget this fall. The memo, dated Aug. 12, emphasizes that agencies should seek R&D programs that could benefit multiple government agencies.

In the memo signed by Office of Science and Technology Policy director John Marburger III and OMB director Joshua Bolten, the administration says supercomputing and cyberinfrastructure R&D "should be given higher relative priority due to the potential of each in further progress across a broad range of scientific and technological applications."

Agency plans in supercomputing should be consistent with a recent report of the High-End Computing Revitalization Task Force that describes a coordinated R&D plan for high-end computing, the memo says. Cyberinfrastructure R&D should encompass research on hardware and software tools aimed at strengthening the connections between new and existing computers, databases, scientific instruments, researchers, and facilities. "Agency requests should reflect these two program priorities by reallocating funds from low-priority efforts," the memo says.

The White House sees nanotechnology as offering great promise across many scientific fields and most sectors of the economy--and continued federal investment in agency programs that make up the National Nanotechnology Initiative is key to advancing future breakthroughs and maintaining U.S. competitiveness. "Because research at the nanoscale offers natural bridges to interdisciplinary collaborations, especially at the intersection of the life and physical sciences, the administration encourages novel approaches to accelerate interdisciplinary and interagency collaboration," the directors wrote.

Specifically, the administration says, agencies should place high priority on research on human health and environmental issues related to nanotechnology and develop, where appropriate, cross-agency approaches to the funding and execution of such research.

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