President Trump’s 2020 Department of Energy budget request has spared high performance and quantum computing programs, whilst making deep cuts to other scientific programs.

The National Science Foundation took the brunt of the potential cuts, with the foundation’s budget reduced by $1 billion, 13 percent down from last year.

Department of Energy
– Sebastian Moss

A cut above

Full details of the proposed budget will become clearer next week with release of the budget tables. These figures are by no means set in stone - Congress rejected two previous attempts to cut funding for the DOE, and even increased funding for areas like ARPA-E.

The new budget proposal provides “$5.5 billion for Department of Energy’s Office of Science to continue its mission to focus on early-stage research, operate the national laboratories, and continue high priority construction projects.

“Within this amount, $500 million is budgeted for exascale computing to help secure a global leadership role in supercomputing, $169 million for quantum information science, $71 million for artificial intelligence and machine learning, and $25 million to enhance materials and chemistry foundational research to support US-based leadership in microelectronics.”

The full DOE budget request is $31.7 billion, a $1.1 billion increase from last year.

Earlier this year, DCD senior reporter Sebastian Moss spoke to some of the leading figures in supercomputing across the world to find out about the race to build the first exascale supercomputer, with the US, China, Europe and Japan launching various initiatives to build exascale systems.

Last April, the US Department of Energy sent out request proposals for $1.8 billion to fund “at least two” new exascale supercomputers.

“These new systems represent the next generation in supercomputing and will be critical tools both for our nation’s scientists and for US industry,” Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said at the time.

“They will help ensure America’s continued leadership in the vital area of high performance computing, which is an essential element of our national security, prosperity, and competitiveness as a nation.”

Elsewhere, the National Institute of Health could have its budget cut by $4.5 billion, down 12 percent from last year.