Summary: S.272 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (11/20/1991)

High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 - Title I: High-Performance Computing and the National Research and Education Network - Directs the President to implement the National High-Performance Computing Program.

Sets forth Program requirements, including: (1) setting goals and priorities for Federal high-performance computing research, development, and networking; (2) providing for interagency coordination; (3) providing for oversight of the operation and evolution of the National Research and Education Network provided for in this Act; (4) improving software; (5) acceleration of high-performance computer system development; (6) technical support and research and development of software and hardware needed to address fundamental problems in science and engineering (Grand Challenges); (7) educating undergraduate and graduate students; and (8) providing for security.

Establishes an advisory committee on high-performance computing.

Requires identifying Program elements in the annual budget requests for each Federal agency and department participating in the Program.

Requires participating agencies to support the establishment of the National Research and Education Network, to link research and educational institutions, government, and industry in every State.

Sets forth Network requirements, including: (1) fostering and maintaining competition and private sector investment in high-speed data networking within the telecommunications industry; (2) promoting the development of commercial data communications and telecommunications standards; (3) providing security, including protecting intellectual property rights; (4) developing accounting mechanisms allowing users to be charged for the use of copyrighted materials; and (5) purchasing standard commercial transmission and network services from vendors whenever feasible.

Requires the Department of Defense, through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to support research and development of advanced fiber optics technology, switches, and protocols for the Network.

Requires the Director to coordinate agency and department activities to promote the development of information services that could be provided over the Network.

Authorizes all Federal agencies and departments to allow Federal research grant recipients to use grant monies to pay for computer networking expenses.

Mandates a report to the Congress on Network funding, including user fees, industry support, and Federal investment.

Title II: Agency Activities - Requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to: (1) provide computing and networking infrastructure support for all science and engineering disciplines and support basic research and human resource development in high-performance computing and advanced high-speed computer networking; (2) have primary responsibility for assisting colleges, universities, and libraries to connect to the Network, to the extent that they cannot do so with the help of the private sector; (3) serve as the primary source of information on access to and use of the Network; and (4) upgrade the NSF funded network, assist regional networks to upgrade, and provide Federal departments and agencies the opportunity to connect to the NSF funded network. Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to conduct basic and applied research in high-performance computing, particularly in computational science, with emphasis on aerospace sciences, earth and space sciences, and remote exploration and experimentation. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary of Energy to: (1) perform research and development on and evaluation of high-performance computing and communications systems; (2) conduct computational research with emphasis on energy applications; (3) support basic research, education, and human resources in computational science; (4) provide for networking infrastructure support for energy-related mission activities; and (5) establish High-Performance Computing Research and Development Collaborative Consortia. Sets forth requirements for the Consortia. Authorizes appropriations.

Requires NIST to: (1) conduct basic and applied measurement research to support high-performance computing systems and networks; (2) develop standards, guidelines, measurement techniques, and test methods for interoperability of high-performance computers in networks and common user interfaces to systems; and (3) develop benchmark tests and standards for high-performance computers and software.

Requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct basic and applied research in weather prediction and ocean sciences.

Makes NIST responsible for developing and proposing standards and guidelines for the cost-effective security and privacy of sensitive information in Federal computer systems.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce to conduct a study regarding Federal procurement regulations and software development.

Authorizes appropriations for NIST and NOAA.

Requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct basic and applied research on computational techniques and software tools which form the core of ecosystem, atmospheric chemistry, and atmospheric dynamics models. Authorizes appropriations from sums otherwise authorized to be appropriated for the EPA.

Authorizes the Secretary of Education to conduct basic and applied research in computational research. Authorizes appropriations from sums otherwise authorized to be appropriated.

Declares that, except to the extent the appropriate Federal agency or department head determines applicable, the provisions of this Act shall not apply to computer systems that process classified information or are used in connection with certain defense purposes.

Allows participating Federal agencies and departments, in accordance with Federal contracting law, to require prototype and early production models of new high-performance computing systems to stimulate hardware and software development.

Mandates a report to the Congress: (1) annually on any grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or cooperative research and development agreement under the Program involving foreign entities or foreign procurement; and (2) on the revised "Procedures to Introduce Supercomputers" and the accompanying letters between the United States and Japan, commonly referred to as the "Supercomputer Agreement."