Statement of John H.Gibbons

Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy

before the

Committee on Science, Space, and T echnology

U.S. House of Representatives

April 27, 1993


Mr. Chairman, Mem bers of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity toappear today to talk to you about the Computing and High Speed NetworkingApplications Act of 1993. Since the proposed legislation is designed tosupport the administration's proposal to develop the nation's informationinfrastructure, let me begin with some remarks on the goals that we sharebefore addressing the bill that you have drafted to help us accomplish thesegoals.

When then-Senator Albert Gore led the Congress to adopt the High Pe rformanceComputing Act of 1991 the goals of the program were to support and promote thedevelopment of very powerful computing so that problems faced by researchers inscience and engineering would have access to the tools they need through aNational Ed ucation and Research Network, commonly known as the NREN. Sincethen, however, while that goal has been retained, a very broad consensus hasbeen achieved that these computing resources should be made more widelyavailable to people beyond the research a nd higher education communities. Thateffort has been announced in the President's Technology Initiative of February22 and made a part of the administration's proposed FY 1994 budget. Yourproposed legislation would move us still further in the directi on of providingwidespread access to the NREN and to the development of applications of thenetwork in the areas of primary and secondary education, health care,libraries, and access to government information. In brief, while we began bybuilding the ne twork up, in terms of the power it offered to researchers, nowwe will continue to build it up while building it out at the same time, makingit available to ever-increasing numbers of users.

The HPCC program will play a key role in the Administra tion's effort toaccelerate the development of the National Information Infrastructure. TheNational Information Infrastructure is the platform of advanced computing,communications, information, and human resources upon which industry,government, and a cademia can integrate their information functions. We use theterm information infrastructure to indicate that we are not just talking aboutthe telecommunications infrastructure--the physical layer--but the knowledgethat moves over it, the enterprises, universities, libraries, governmentagencies, national laboratories, and other entities that depend upon theacquisition, storage, processing, and dissemination of knowledge to performtheir missions, as well as the individuals who in their capacities as citizens,consumers, and workers may interact with information and with one another viathis infrastructure. Our initiatives in this area are designed to help weave asturdy fabric with all of these elements, since advanced technology itselftakes on it s greatest value only when network connections are widespread, therethe software tools are available to make it usable, the information that may beacquired is accurate, up-to-date, and valuable, and the people who wish to usethe network have the traini ng they need to understand how it may be helpful tothem.

To enable the NII Initiative to build on the HPCC Program, the HighPerformance Computing and Communications and Information Technology (HPCCIT)Subcommittee of the Federal Coordinating Cou ncil for Science, Engineering andTechnology has made several strategic and programmatic modifications for 1994.The most significant of these is the inclusion of a new program component,Information Infrastructure Technology and Applications (IITA). It consists ofkey research and development to enable the integration of critical informationsystems and the applications of these systems to National Challenges.

These collaborations will develop and apply high performance computing andcommunicati ons technologies to improve information systems for NationalChallenges such as design and manufacturing, health care, education, digitallibraries, environmental monitoring, energy demand management, public safety,and national security. Working with in dustry, IITA will support thedevelopment of the NII and the development of the computer, network, anddatabase technology needed to provide appropriate privacy and securityprotection for users.

The President's FY 1994 budget requests $1 billion for the HPCC Initiative plus$96 million for the new IITA component.

Let me outline for you the HPCC goals and strategic priorities for FY 1994.

The HPCC Program is organized into five integrated components. They are:

1. HPCS (High Performa nce Computing Systems) - - Its goal is to extend U.S.technological leadership in high performancecomputing through the development of scaleable computing systems, withassociated software, capable of sustaining at least one trillion operations persecond (teraops) performance. Scaleable parallel and distributed computingsystems will be able to support workstation users through the largest- sca lehighest- performancesystems. Workstations will extend into portable wireless interfaces astechnology advances.

2. NREN ( National Research and Education Network) -- Its goal is to extend leadership in computer communications by a program of research anddevelopment that advances the leading edge of networking technology andservices. NREN will widen the res earch and education community's access tohigh performance computing and research centers and to electronic informationresources and libraries. This will accelerate the development and deploymentof networking technologies by the telecommunications indu stry. This includesnationwide prototypes for terrestrial, satellite, wireless and wirelinecommunications systems, including fiber optics, with common protocol supportand application interfaces.

3. ASTA (Advance Software Technology and Algorithm s) - - Its purpose is to demonstrate prototype solutions to Grand Challenge problemsthrough the development of advanced algorithms and software and the use of HPCCresources. Grand Challenge problems are computationally intensive problemssuch as forecasting weath er, predicting climate, improving environmentalquality, building more energy- efficientcars and airplanes, designing better drugs, and conducting basic scientificresearch.

4. IITA (Information Infrastructure Technology and Applications) - - Its purpose is to demonstrate prototype solutions to National Challengeproblems using HPCC enabling technologies. This will support integratedsys tems technology demonstration projects for critical National Challengeapplications through development of intelligent systems interfaces. These willinclude systems development environments with support for virtual reality,image understanding, language and speech understanding, and data and objectbases for electronic libraries and commerce.

5. BRHR (Basic Research and Human Resources) - - This element supports research, training, and education in computer science,computer engineering and the computation al sciences and enhance theinfrastructure through the addition of HPCC resources. Initiation of pilotprojects for K- 12and lifelo ng learning will support expansion of the NII.

Close cooperation between the federal government and industry is essential iftechnology developed by the HPCC Initiative is to be effectively used to buildan advanced NII. Both individually and as members of the HPCC Initiative, theparticipating agencies collaborate with industrial partners, fund research anddevelopment in the private sector, and work with representatives to plan theHPCC Program. We plan to name a High Performance Computing Advisory Committeeconsisting of representatives from the private sector and academia and we notewith approval your proposed legislation's broadening of the membership of theadvisory group to include representation from the K-12 education community and from consumer and public interest groups.

Allow me next to briefly outline for you the roles, accomplishments to date,the implementation plans, and the FY 1994 proposed activities for the agenciesthat take part in HPCC. While no individual age ncy has either the mission orthe expertise to develop all components of the infrastructure, each plays aunique role. Agencies participate in the HPCC Program in support of theirindividual missions, overall Program goals, or both. The 10 participating agencies will develop a coordinated strategy for the formal evaluation of theHPCC Program in FY94. The agencies and their roles are:

-- The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) coordinates the advancedcomputing and networking technologies n eeded by the program. ARPA supportsprojects throughout academia and industry to accelerate innovation and thetransition of advanced concepts into new technologies for use within theprogram and the defense and national technology base. The projects ar edeveloping the full range of technologies needed for a scaleable technologybase of interoperating workstations, networks, and parallel computing systemswith mass storage, systems software and development tools. This will enablesolution of the Grand Challenges and other National Challenges while providingthe foundation for a NII.

-- The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports advanced fundamental researchin HPCC technologies and their application to science and engineering problems.While coordinating the NREN component, NSF is upgrading NSFNET backboneservices, deploying networking information services, increasing networkconnections, and expanding gigabit research and development. NSF supercomputercenters are collaborating towards a "metacenter." NSF enables coordinatedapproaches to Grand Challenge problems, and addresses algorithm and softwaretechnology issues. Expanded IITA research includes distributed databases anddigital libraries, multimedia computing and visualization, and imagerecognition.

-- The Department of Energy (DOE) funds HPCC research on parallel systems,software, and gigabit networks technology. It funds Grand Challenge researchin future energy sources, fusion energy, combustion, environmental remediat ion,ground water flow, petroleum reservoir modeling, atmospheric and oceanmodeling, and structural biology. DOE supports high performance computingcenters and the Energy Sciences network, ESNET. Collaborations between DOEinvestigators and industry i nclude a joint effort by DOE, NASA, six majorindustrial firms, and the National Storage Laboratory to address the pressingmass storage problems. IITA research includes areas such as energy demandmanagement and telecommuting.

-- The National Aer onautics and Space Administration's (NASA) high performancecomputing centers address Grand Challenge problems such as improving advancedaerospace vehicles (including high speed civil transport); modeling theinteractions among the atmosphere, oceans, an d land masses; deploying NASA'shigh performance NREN; and managing huge volumes of space data. NASAcoordinates the ASTA component's software sharing activity, and participatesin gigabit network research. IITA efforts include increasing accessibility ofremotely sensed data, and developing technologies to manipulate these largevolumes of data.

-- The National Institutes of Health (NIH), through its National Library ofMedicine, National Center for Research Resources, Division of Computer Rese archand Technology, and the Biomedical Supercomputer Center of the National CancerInstitute, develops algorithms and software in molecular biology (includingcomparison of genetic and protein sequence data) and biomedical imaging forhigh performance sy stems; develops prototype biomedical digital imagelibraries; provides NREN access to researchers and medical centers. NIH IITAefforts will expand technology development for telemedicine, medical recordmanagement, and medical imagery.

-- The Nat ional Security Agency (NSA), Department of Defense, conducts researchin all aspects of highly heterogeneous computing environments, includingspecialized high speed hardware. NSA focuses on interoperability, increasedperformance, network and computer se curity, mass storage, and gigabit networks.NSA promotes research in high performance computing including superconductivityand ultra high- speed- switchingat its own facilities, in industry, and at universities.

-- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admini stration (NOAA), Department ofCommerce, conducts Grand Challenge research in climate prediction and weatherforecasting, and disseminates environmental data. By exploiting the computingpower of scaleable parallel systems, global ocean and atmosphere mo dels willaccurately represent weather fronts and ocean eddies, and distortions due toclouds can be eliminated. In support of this research, NOAA is acquiringscaleable systems and enhancing NREN connectivity. Within the IITA component,NOAA is investi gating environmental monitoring, prediction and assessmentapplications, and expanding efforts to make its environmental data moreaccessible.

-- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts Grand Challenge researchin air and water pollution management. The research focuses on improvingenvironmental decision-making and policy support tools, improving NRENconnectivity, and developing and implementing training programs, particularlyfor state and environmental groups. EPA is integrating us er-friendly advancedassessment tools into a high performance computing environment, which willinclude a scaleable parallel system to enable more complex multipollutant andmultimedia assessments.

-- The National Institute of Standards and Techn ology (NIST), Department ofCommerce, develops instrumentation and performance measurement methods for highperformance computing and networking systems; develops security policies andtechnologies for the NREN; facilitates the development of appropriate voluntary standards; and designs and implements methods for organizing,documenting, and disseminating software. As coordinating agency formanufacturing applications, NIST will establish an advanced manufacturingsystems and networking testbed. NIST will work closely with DOC's NationalTelecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA has a key rolein developing Federal telecommunications policy and funding networking pilotprojects at schools, libraries, and other non-profit institut ions.

-- The Department of Education (ED) sponsors program initiatives and activitiesthrough its regional laboratories and research centers. The Department willprovide information to educators and students in K- 12and lifelong learning about high performance computing and networkingapplication resources. It promotes initiatives in training, curriculumdevelopment, library connectivity and research and development projects thatsupport the emerging information infrastructure.

We believe that the work of the HPCCIT Subcommittee significantly meets theCommittee's interest, expressed in your draft bill, for a coordina ted,interagency effort to manage this large and complex initiative. The need foreffective coordination among these participating agencies has been met in partby the creation, last September, of the National Coordinator's Office thatoversees HPCC. Dr