Supercomputers

NSIAD-97-54R: Published: Dec 16, 1996. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 1996.

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GAO summarized its preliminary findings on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) plans to consolidate the management and operation of its supercomputer resources and the potential for similar governmentwide efforts. GAO noted that: (1) NASA is using a multi-step process to study its use of supercomputers; (2) NASA's consolidation team, formed with representatives from NASA's field centers that operate supercomputers, recommended that the management of NASA's supercomputers be consolidated under a single office, reducing NASA's supercomputer sites, increasing inter-unit sharing of supercomputers, and conducting cost-benefit analyses to identify consolidation opportunities and requirements that could be met by commercial supercomputers; (3) there could be similar consolidation opportunities at other federal agencies; (4) supercomputer personnel at NASA and three other agencies indicated that some interagency sharing of supercomputers is being done, but they agreed there were further opportunities for more efficient use of supercomputer resources and that a governmentwide study of such opportunities was desirable; (5) some of the managers cautioned that not all supercomputers should be consolidated; (6) further support for exploring the potential of supercomputer consolidation is provided by the High Performance Computing and Communications Program; and (7) GAO believes that the Office of Management and Budget is well positioned to sponsor a governmentwide study of supercomputer consolidation and sharing opportunities, which would be consistent with Executive Order 13001.

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