V.P. Conspicuously Absent As HPCC Committee Unveiled
Source: High Performance Computing and Communications Week, February 13, 1997
Despite all the administration's talk about America's leading the world in computer technology, President Clinton's long-awaited Advisory Committee on High-Performance Computing and Communications, Information Technology and the Internet was announced with little fanfareã well, actually, no fanfareãthis week in an Executive Order released to the press.
In a nutshell, the advisory committee is to review the progress and efficacy of the administration's Computing, Information and Communications program, the successor to the HPCC program, which grew from the High Performance Computing Act of 1991, an initiative driven by then-Sen. Al Gore.
"I'm really excited about this," said John Toole, director of the U.S. government's National Coordination Office for the Computing, Information and Communications program. "We always need to evaluate whether our research strategies are targeted in the right direction, and this panel represents the industry's best-and-brightest to make those recommendations."
The committee has scheduled its first meeting for Feb. 27 and 28, and throughout its two year charter - which can be extended at Clinton's request - it will produce a series of reports for the National Science and Technology Council, which is chaired by the president. The committee will work through the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, though its modest budget will come from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, under the direction of Director of Defense Research and Engineering Anita Jones.
Conspicuously absent from the announcement was a live body: specifically, that of Vice President Gore, the man who sponsored the HPC act and who is likely to campaign as the "Technology President" when he makes a go for the Oval Office in 1999.
Conspicuously present was the insertion, into the advisory committee's title, of the words "Information Technology and the Next-Generation Internet." That inclusion is feeding some HPCC professionals' fears that the administration is diluting its high-performance computing effort, which itself has fallen on hard times, while elevating Clinton's challenge to connect "every 12-year-old in America" to the Internet. Those same critics feel that, given public demand for faster Internet connections, the private sector is capable of developing the next-generation Internet.
In fairness to the president and vice president, there was a great deal happening in Washington surrounding the day of the announcement - the two were lobbying Congress for a quick and cordial passage of the president's fiscal year 1998 budget, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in town to talk peace in the Middle East. Still, after waiting some two years for the announcement, many felt that the advisory committee deserved its day in the sun.
"We expected that the announcement would have a bit more sizzle," commented one disappointed HPC expert. "I hope this isn't indicative of the administration's view of high-performance computing," added another insider, who also requested anonymity. Because right now, it looks like a committee set up so that the administration can say it's doing something about HPCC."
So far, 20 members have been announced to the committee (see pg. 3), including the first co-chair, Rice University Computer Science Professor Ken Kennedy. However, sources close to the committee said that an additional six members will be announced, including the second co-chair, who likely will come from industry as a balance to Kennedy's academic background.
Kennedy, who also serves as director of the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), headquartered at Rice, expects that the committee, will "focus on federal programs of research investment in high-end computer, information, and communication technologies, like the Next Generation Internet," but will "stay away from regulatory issues."
Throughout his career, Kennedy has made major contributions to the field of high-performance computing. As director of the CRPC, an NSF-funded Science and Technology Center, Kennedy coordinates seven participating institutions and six affiliated sites across the country in a program of research to make scalable parallel computer systems as usable as sequential systems are today.
Kennedy's research accomplishments with the CRPC include developing effective machine-independent parallel programming interfaces. He and CRPC collaborators proposed Fortran D, an extended version of Fortran that permits the specification of data distributions for arrays across the processors of a parallel machine.
Kennedy directed a prototype compiler development effort at Rice that validated the concept. This effort led to the establishment, under his direction, of the High-Performance Fortran Forum, of a broad-based consortium to develop extensions to Fortran 90 aimed at high performance on parallel machines. The resulting standard for High-Performance Fortran has found wide acceptance in the HPCC community.
In addition to his research contributions, Kennedy has led numerous technology and knowledge transfer efforts in his role as CRPC director. Notable among these is the National HPCC Software Exchange, an online distribution system that provides a central access point for HPCC technologies and facilitates the development of discipline-oriented software repositories. He also spearheaded the CRPC Retooling Project, an effort to develop educational materials that can be used by supercomputer-center staff trainers to teach new concepts in parallel computation.
Kennedy is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, in 1995 he received the W. Wallace McDowell Award, the highest award of the IEEE Computer Society.
MEMBERS OF THE PRESIDENT'S ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON HIGH- PERFORMANCE COMPUTING AND COMMUNICATIONS, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, AND THE NEXT GENERATION INTERNET
President Clinton has designated Ken Kennedy of Rice University as co-chairman of the Advisory Committee on High-Performance Computing and Communications, Information Technology, and the Next Generation Internet. Kennedy is the director of Rice's Center for Research on Parallel Computation (see story, pg. 2). While Clinton also announced his intention to appoint 19 members to this new committee, sources say as many as six additional members will be named, including a co-chair, who likely will come from industry.
The advisory committee is to provide guidance and advice on all areas of high performance computing, communications and information technologies. Specifically, the committee will "provide guidance to the administration's efforts to accelerate development and adoption of information technologies that will be vital for American prosperity in the 21st century."
The President announced the following individuals as members:
Office of the Press Secretary
- - - - - - -
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON HIGH-PERFORMANCE
COMPUTING AND COMMUNICATIONS, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY,
AND THE NEXT GENERATION INTERNET
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-194) ("Act"), and in order to establish an advisory committee on high-performance computing and communications, Information Technology, and the Next Generation Internet it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Establishment. There is established the "Advisory Committee on High-Performance Computing and Communications, Information Technology, and the Next Generation Internet" ("Committee"). The Committee shall consist of not more than 25 nonfederal members appointed by the President, including representatives of the research, education, and library communities, network providers, and representatives from critical industries. The President shall designate co-chairs from among the members of the Committee.
Sec. 2. Functions. The Committee shall provide the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), through-the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy ("Director"), with advice and information on high-performance computing and communications, information technology, and the Next Generation Internet. The Committee shall provide an independent assessment of: (1) progress made in implementing the High-Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Program; (2) progress in designing and implementing the Next Generation Internet initiative; (3) the need to revise the HPCC Program; (4) balance among components of the HPCC Program; (5) whether the research and development undertaken pursuant to the HPCC Program is helping to maintain United States leadership in advanced computing and communications technologies and their applications; and (6) other issues as specified by the Director.
Sec. 3. Administration. To the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, the Department of Defense shall provide the financial and administrative support for the Committee. Further, the Director of the National Coordination Office for Computing Information, and Communications ("Director of the NCO") shall provide such coordination and technical assistance to the Committee as the co-chairs of the Committee may request. (a) The heads of executive agencies shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide to the Committee such information as it may require for the purpose of carrying out its functions. (b) The co-chairs may, from time to time, invite experts to submit information to the Committee and may form subcommittees or working groups within the Committee to review specific issues. (c) Members of the Committee shall serve without compensation but shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by law for persons serving intermittently in the Government service (5 U.S.C. 5701-5707).
Sec. 4. General. (a) Notwithstanding any other Executive order, the functions of the President under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, except that of reporting to the Congress, that are applicable to the Committee shall be performed by the Director of the NCO in accordance with guidelines that have been issued by the Administrator of General Services. (b) The Committee shall terminate 2 years from the date of this order unless extended by the President prior to such date.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON THE WHITE HOUSE, February 11, 1997
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