Energy funds for computing research to hold steady

The Energy Department's fiscal 2005 budget request includes $204 million for its Advanced Scientific Computing Research program, a slight increase over 2004 funding.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham unveiled the department's entire $24.3 billion budget proposal yesterday, saying it was the largest in the Energy Department's history and a 4 percent increase over fiscal 2004.

The Energy Department's Office of Science oversees the ASCR program, which was set up to fund high-performance supercomputing, networking and software development.

The 2005 request includes $38 million for a next-generation computer architecture project aimed at developing more computing capacity for researchers.

The Science Office also requested $211 million for nanotechnology research, up just $8 million from 2004. Among other things, the money will fund ongoing construction of four Nanoscale Science Research Centers.

Other Energy Department 2005 budget highlights include:

* $107 million for the office of the chief information officer, an increase of more than 21 percent, to fund IT systems, certification and accreditation efforts, public key infrastructure operations and other initiatives

* $104 million to fund the Energy Department's cybersecurity efforts

* $99 million for first-responder programs to address threats from weapons of mass destruction

* $227 million for research into the development of hydrogen fuel

* $91 million to modernize the nation's electrical grid, a 12.5 percent increase

Secretary Abraham also said the Energy Department had begun its Megaports program, which was set up to detect trafficking of nuclear or radioactive materials in seaports worldwide. The department has requested $15 million to fund the program in 2005.

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