OSTP Pushes High-Performance Computing

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released its National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) Strategic Plan on Tuesday, which outlines its effort to improve high-performance computing (HPC).

“The NSCI strives to establish and support a collaborative ecosystem in strategic computing that will support scientific discovery and economic drivers for the 21st century, and that will not naturally evolve from current commercial activity,” Altaf Carim, William Polk, and Erin Szulman, officials at the OSTP, wrote in a blog post.

The NSCI wants to develop a system capable of exascale computing by the mid-2020s.The initiative seeks to work on this goal by making exascale computing systems that are cheaply powered, programmable, reliable, and contain adequate memory.

The NSCI requires HPC software that can accommodate interaction between data analysis and simulations. In the past, these two capabilities were separated.

The initiative encourages forging new directions for computing technologies, including digital computing and alternative computing standards. Over a 10- to 20-year span, the NSCI will research ways to move digital computing past the “theoretical limits” of complementary metal-oxide semiconductors and develop alternative models for large-scale computing.

Superconducting computing is one method for advanced digital computing; however, other low-energy, low-latency alternatives could emerge as research continues. As investment strategies shift, other options could also become apparent.

The NSCI seeks to create a HPC ecosystem that’s trustworthy, reusable, and sustainable. The initiative wants to widen access to HPC technologies to increase the systems’ exposure to a full array of cyber threats.

The initiative encourages cooperation among Federal, private, and academic entities in order to enable scientific innovation, economic growth, and national security. HPC could contribute to advancements in medicine, more accurate weather predictions, reduction of concept-to-market time for economic ventures, and improvements in university-based research and training.

The Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation are the lead agencies tasked with carrying out the objectives that the NSCI sets forth. Seven supporting agencies will assist those agencies with research and development.

The NSCI seeks to maintain the United States’ leadership of the world in computing capabilities, which has lasted for more than 60 years.

“A combination of broad commercial drivers and government action is necessary to achieve the vision of the NSCI, but the success of the initiative depends upon deeper collaboration among the Federal government, industry, and academia in the development, commercialization, and deployment of new HPC technologies and infrastructure,” wrote Carim, Polk, and Szulman.

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