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3.1.5 Fourth Generation (1972--1984)     continued...

An important event in the development of computational science was the publication of the Lax report. In 1982, the US Department of Defense (DOD) and National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored a panel on Large Scale Computing in Science and Engineering, chaired by Peter D. Lax. The Lax Report stated that aggressive and focused foreign initiatives in high performance computing, especially in Japan, were in sharp contrast to the absence of coordinated national attention in the United States. The report noted that university researchers had inadequate access to high performance computers. One of the first and most visible of the responses to the Lax report was the establishment of the NSF supercomputing centers. Phase I on this NSF program was designed to encourage the use of high performance computing at American universities by making cycles and training on three (and later six) existing supercomputers immediately available. Following this Phase I stage, in 1984--1985 NSF provided funding for the establishment of five Phase II supercomputing centers.