2014 Pennsylvania State Budget Includes $500,000 for Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

July 2, 2013

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania budget signed by Gov. Tom Corbett on June 30 includes a $500,000 line item for PSC.

“This is very good news for PSC and for the Commonwealth,” says Ralph Roskies, scientific director for PSC, adding that the state’s return on its past investments in PSC has been excellent. “Since our inception we’ve brought over $500 million in outside funds into Pennsylvania, representing a 14:1 return on state funding for PSC.”

“We’re grateful to the members of the General Assembly, and especially the Allegheny County delegation,” Roskies adds. “The bipartisan support of Senators Randy Vulakovich and Jay Costa and Representatives Mark Mustio and Joe Markosek made this possible.”

The funding, says PSC’s leadership, will benefit the state’s technological and workforce infrastructures as well.

“PSC is responsible for generating 1,600 jobs and over $200 million in annual economic activity,” says Cheryl Begandy, PSC’s director of education, outreach, and training. “In addition, our place on the leading edge of computing technologies at the largest scale enables us to respond quickly to technological developments, giving the state, its researchers and its small and mid-sized companies a leg up in capitalizing on these advances.”

The state line item will also prove valuable to PSC’s ongoing competition for federal research funding. Local funding is often seen by granting agencies as concrete evidence of grassroots support for a research center.

“In our fight for federal awards, we’re competing with some of the best high performance computing centers in the world, many of which enjoy significant state funding,” Roskies says. “The state line item will help us retain a competitive edge over and above the excellence of our proposals themselves.”

The details of the line item have yet to be worked out with the state, Roskies says. Potential projects include

  • supporting the Commonwealth’s STEM Education initiative through PSC programs in Computational Reasoning and Bioinformatics
  • collaborating with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to support research and education at its 14 state universities
  • supporting small and mid-sized manufacturers in Pennsylvania through the introduction of Digital Modeling tools, resources and training
  • encouraging workforce development through internships for undergraduate or graduate students
  • continuing PSC core management and outreach efforts expected by federal and other granting agencies