Ya turns yer back fer justa minute …

[in his best Brooklyn accent]

… and stuff happens. /. linked to a story on supercomputing procurement. The article is in the New York Times, and it is worth a read.

Short version is that the procurement appears to have been decided 4 years in advance, and the NSF will give the DOE the machine.

Well, this assumes that the reporting is in fact correct. My own experience with various media interactions tends to suggest that misquoting/rewording and semantic shift are the norm, not the exception. Which unfortunately means that there may be information buried within the report, but separating fact from … well … creative writing to sell newspapers/advertisements, may be a difficult proposition.

That said, some blog posters, who, when given the opportunity, provide unfiltered, undigested, raw information to the world, had an interesting take on things. Again, assuming the NYT quoted this correctly, without any rewording/editing (which is a stretch).

A researcher for the Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center who identified himself as ???grouchyoldcoot??? in a Web blog posting, last week wrote: ???Having the N.S.F. buy a machine and hand it to the D.O.E. is, well, very unexpected ??? the D.O.E. has plenty of machines of its own, and the N.S.F. wants to get its work done, not the D.O.E.???s.??? The posting was removed on Thursday, but not before it was circulated among supercomputer researchers.


Ya know, this deterministic bidding sounds really nice. How can my company get into this? Just two weeks ago, we lost a bid it looks like we would have been likely to win had our email gotten to the right person. Thats too much chance for me. Determinism reduces risk. Yeah, thats the ticket.

Well that other bit about the relatively poor NSF buying the relatively well off DOE a machine … Whats next, the department of education buying 3D baggage scanners for homeland security?

I’ve got a dumb idea here. Really quite silly.

Why not give the NSF more money. Specifically money to invest in new supercomputing technologies. And to help invest in SBIR or similar projects in supercomputing, to encourage development of, I dunno, accelerator based machines. The idea behind that is to fill a fundamental void in the funding of such things, as the venture money appears to be focused on following herds into “Web N+1”. And while we are at it, why not do the same thing with the DOE, so that focused projects can be pursued in a manner that will be additive to the GDP, by creating incentives for small companies to develop products.

Yeah, a dumb idea. $0.2B here, $0.4B there , and soon you are talking real supercomputers.

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