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Baldwin, Alexander Introduce Supercomputing Legislation to Make U.S. Safer and More Competitive

Wisconsin’s computer development and manufacturing industry stands to benefit from bipartisan legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would jumpstart research into exascale supercomputing that they said is “critical to U.S. competitiveness and national security.”

The ExaSCALE Computing Leadership Act of 2015 would create research partnerships between universities and the U.S. Department of Energy’s national labs to develop and build two exascale supercomputers, with the goal of having a computer system that has reached “exascale” – a measure of speed that is beyond any other system in the world – by 2023. It authorizes funding for these partnerships and requires the department to provide regular status reports to Congress on the progress of the project.

“If our nation is going to build an economy that competes with the rest of the world, we must make a strong commitment to supporting innovation, science, research and technology,” said Baldwin. “I’m proud to join Senator Alexander in introducing this bipartisan legislation to ensure that American computing innovation continues to lead the world, while also investing in the next generation of technology to keep our economy growing.” 

“The United States faces a choice between falling further behind competitors like China, or advancing technology that can make the United States safer and more competitive in a global, 21st-century economy,” said Alexander. “This legislation would resurrect the crucial technological advantage that has made our country dominant.”

“The technology developed and manufactured in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin has for decades provided world-leading computing capabilities for both scientific advancement and national security,” said Steve Scott, Cray, Inc. Chief Technology Officer. “The exascale initiative is poised to help the Chippewa Valley continue and expand this contribution.  Investment in exascale computing technologies will further develop the Chippewa Valley workforce as well as advancing our national strategic computing leadership.”

Cray, Inc. has been building the world’s leading supercomputers for decades at their Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin facility, and will be competing to develop and build this next generation. Currently, these computers are expected to be in the development phase until at least 2018.

The legislation announced today would further support supercomputing technology and build on the success of the High-End Computing Revitalization Act, which was introduced by Alexander and then-Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) in 2004.  

Learn more about the ExaSCALE Computing Leadership Act of 2015 here