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Supercomputing EU The Almighty Buck Science Hardware Technology

Europe Plans Exascale Funding Above U.S. Levels 70

dcblogs writes "The European Commission last week said it is doubling its multi-year investment in the push for exascale computing from €630 million to €1.2 billion (or the equivalent of $1.58 billion). They are making this a priority even as austerity measures are imposed to prevent defaults. China, meanwhile, has a five-year plan to deliver exascale computing between 2016-20 (PDF). The Europeans announced the plan the same week the White House released its fiscal year 2013 budget, which envisions a third year of anemic funding to develop exascale technologies. Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy science budget asked for nearly $91 million in funding for the efforts in the current fiscal year; it received $73.4 million. DOE science is trying for about $90 million for exascale for 2013. There's more funding tucked in military and security budgets. The U.S. wants exascale around 2018, but it has yet to deliver a plan or the money for it."
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Europe Plans Exascale Funding Above U.S. Levels

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  • More waste (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @02:48AM (#39121647)

    Such government "grand" plans are good to distract the crowds, entertain the peons, and prop politicians and their friend's pet projects and corporations up. But the fact that such project requires forcing people to "invest" in them is proof that these resources are misaligned to the current needs and preferences of the people.

    I'm sure that we'll get to exascale at some point, but trying to push it too early (before investors find ways to fund it voluntarily) means wasted opportunities. Unfortunately, as Bastiat pointed out, such project yields easily seen results whereas the opportunity cost tends to be ignore, as it is difficult to know. Don't forget this unseen cost.

  • by jpapon ( 1877296 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:12AM (#39121765) Journal
    Try not to forget that most of Europe was rubble in 1945. A good portion of the second half of the 20th century was spent building houses and infrastructure that had been obliterated by American, German, and Soviet bombs. It's only natural that they had to play catch-up in many aspects of technology. That has come to an end now, with Europe at or exceeding American levels in most areas of research & technology.
  • by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:22AM (#39121813)
    The USA is well on it's way to 3rd world status. We will fall behind because we are not funding fundamental research.

    We have no ability to put humans in space.

    We no longer host any major sub-atomic research facility. The generation after the CERN will not be in the US. We're not even in the running.

    The next big ground based radio telescope will not be in the US.

    The NASA planetary exploration budget is being diverted to fund private launch companies. If there was a viable economic model for space transport, then private sector equity funding would be available. It's not. Many of the commercial space ventures are funded by individuals who made fortunes in software (Musk, Carmac, Bezos, Allen. Branson, but in music and transportation), Wall Street is not betting on making money in the launch sector. Putting NASA money into launch ventures is not basic science R&D.

    We are, however teaching creationism and climate change denial in schools. Most of the Republican presidential candidates are anti-evolution. Santorum just said that he is "pro-science", and the Democrats are anti-science. This is clearly in 1984 territory: Ignorance Is Strength.

    Most Slashdot readers will experience the slide into 3rd world status during the course of their lives.

  • Bullshit doomism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:52AM (#39121999)

    I'll just address one point:

    We have no ability to put humans in space.

    Temporarily, because we have MULTIPLE private companies working to that end. In just a few years we'll have multiple private companies that can put way more people in space than any government ever has, a far superior situation to be in.

    Do not mistake transition for defeat.

  • Re:More waste (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @04:01AM (#39122039)
    Some examples of wasteful, government-enforced research: man in space, GPS, the Internet.
  • by crutchy ( 1949900 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @04:16AM (#39122151)

    most of their planes are uninspired boeing clones

    Boeing was actually a partner in the A380 project at one point, but it bailed and started the Dreamliner. I bet they're still sulking about that decision.

    The only project Europe can be commended on is ITER

    ...apart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, fresh water system, and public health (and that's just the Romans)

    the only other thing they contributed to was maybe was European settlement of the west (what is now the United States), but that doesn't really matter I guess; I’m sure the native Indian population would have eventually established NASA, NIF, etc anyway

  • by dutchd00d ( 823703 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @05:11AM (#39122439) Homepage

    NASA went to space...

    ... using the expertise of a bunch of German rocket scientists.

    The US has Boeing...

    ... thanks to the jet engine, invented by a Brit.

    America's special talent seems to be taking inventions from others and making them fit for mass consumption(*). But I'm not so sure they're the great innovators you claim they are.

    (*) A trend that was curiously reversed with the Internet and the World Wide Web.

  • by loufoque ( 1400831 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @05:48AM (#39122615)

    You know what's worse about this?

    The fact that it matters to you.

    The US doesn't need to be the best at everything to be a good country to live in. You should be happy of technological improvement wherever it happens.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.