By Making the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory a Federal Computer Center, the Department of Energy Can Save Millions While Serving Government Agencies

EMD-78-30: Published: Feb 2, 1978. Publicly Released: Feb 2, 1978.

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In order to consolidate agency automatic data processing resources, legislation was passed in 1965 calling for multiagency service centers, referred to as federal data processing centers. The Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Computer Facility, now owned by the Department of Energy (DOE), has been operating essentially as a data processing center for many years, although it was not designated so officially. In 1976, GAO recommended that it be designated as a center, thereby saving an estimated $18.2 million annually. A consultant, under contract with the former Energy Research and Development Administration to review the GAO report concluded that it was not necessary to designate the Berkeley facility as a center because there was no demand for scientific computing which was not being met by federal facilities.

GAO questioned the validity of the contractor's conclusion because inadequate information was used in its study and because the conclusion seemed to be contradicted by private industry attempts to meet computing needs in the Berkeley area. Berkeley has been increasingly concentrating on meeting DOE needs rather than the needs of outside users. This has caused outside users to seek more costly alternatives. The Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) has proposed its own computer services facility. Most of DNA computing needs could be met by designating Berkeley as a federal center, although DNA classified work load may present a problem. The General Services Administration agreed with GAO that Berkeley should be designated as a center.

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