August 2, 2007: SUPERCOMPUTER BILL WILL LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR SMALL & MEDIUM SIZED MANUFACTURERS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-17) introduced legislation on Friday to help small- and medium-sized American manufacturers compete in the increasingly competitive global marketplace. U.S. Senators George V. Voinovich (R-OH) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) are sponsoring the Senate companion bill.
Today, almost all Fortune 500 companies use supercomputers and advanced computational science to solve complex technical problems, including the design and testing of new products. Yet, small- and medium-sized manufacturers do not have access to the same tools for product design and development. The Ryan bill in the House and Voinovich-Kohl in the Senate would help these smaller businesses develop better products and bring those products to the market as quickly as their competitors.
“If we are serious about ensuring that all businesses and all Americans share in the prosperity that globalization can create, then we need to provide them with the tools necessary to take advantage of the new economy,” said Congressman Ryan. “These advanced super computer centers are going to allow the 12 million Americans employed by small and medium manufacturers to have the same computing power as big industry.”
"We all know that intensifying global competition has caused a steady decline in our manufacturing economy,” Sen. Voinovich said. “No where is that more apparent than in states like Ohio and throughout the Midwest. Yet, we have tools that can help reverse the trend and refocus American manufacturing on the ingenuity that made this nation great. Our bill would help small and medium sized manufacturers by investing in the creation and dissemination of world class manufacturing technology to help them regain their edge quickly."
“We’ve seen small and mid-sized manufacturers, which provide good paying, family-supporting jobs for skilled workers, dwindle in number and decline in productivity because they don’t have access to the same high-tech equipment that giant companies rely on,” Sen. Kohl said. “It makes sense to establish these regional high-tech centers where expertise can be shared and experience can be tapped – one-stop shopping for small businesses and manufacturers who want to make sure their enterprises thrive in an evolving marketplace.”
Specifically, the bill would provide $25 million per year to create up to five Advanced Multidisciplinary Computing Software Centers at academic supercomputer sites, such as the Ohio Supercomputer Center at the Ohio State University. There are 18 sites that would be eligible for the grants. The Department of Commerce would be responsible for naming each center based on its expertise in various specialties, location and relationship with industry.
The Advanced Multidisciplinary Computing Software Centers would:
· Create a repository of advanced federally-funded software for businesses;
· Work with independent software companies to transform the results of federal research into software that small and medium size businesses can use for high performance computing; and
· Help businesses learn about the value of the technology and provide access to the new computational tools and techniques they need to compete.
Research teams at the Centers would be required to test and validate new software for the benefit of businesses, and also be responsible for outreach to small and medium sized businesses and manufacturers who may be unfamiliar with the potential of the supercomputer applications. These research teams would be comprised of graduate and professional students at the academic Centers and would help to build a stronger workforce familiar with supercomputer applications.