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Representative Darin LaHood

Representing the 18th District of Illinois

Congressman LaHood Questions University of Illinois Director in Sub-Committee Hearing

October 29, 2015
Press Release
Dr. Seidel of U of I testifies before House Sub-committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) welcomed Dr. Edward Seidel to Capitol Hill today to testify on a review of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program. Serving as a witness to the House Sub-committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Dr. Seidel, Director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), provided his expertise to the committee as they discuss the NITRD Program, as well as the funding for its breakthrough technologies supporting advanced information, networking, and software.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Dr. Seidel to Washington to learn more about the incredible strides the NITRD Program is making to advance scientists, researchers, engineers, and private companies.” LaHood stated.

Details of the Blue Waters supercomputer, housed on the campus of the University of Illinois-Urbana were also discussed. The Blue Waters supercomputer is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world and the most powerful in the academic world that is capable of performing quadrillions of calculations every second.

Western Illinois University, located in the 18th District, uses the Blue Waters supercomputer for research and educational purposes—specifically by Professor Laurence Leff to study “Genetic Algorithms and Participatory Democracy.” Leff uses a simulation of a genetic algorithm to optimize the tax code and budget based on ratings given by focus groups participating in the study.

Peoria’s own Caterpillar, Inc. will use the supercomputer to run test simulations on their new products and proposed designs for off-road trucks. The engineers at Caterpillar will use the supercomputer to enhance their development process by identifying potential advantages or disadvantages to various designs.

Rep. LaHood added, “Knowing the Blue Waters supercomputer will assist local entities like WIU and Caterpillar within our 18th District adds even more reward to the discussions held this morning.”

Dr. Eward Seidel also added to the experience, “I was extremely pleased to see the subcommittee’s tremendous bipartisan support for the NITRD Program. I particularly appreciated Congressman LaHood’s insightful questions and interest in the critical science infrastructure projects of Illinois, like the Blue Waters supercomputer at NCSA. NCSA’s long-standing partnership with Caterpillar and others exemplifies the enormous potential for U.S. industry to utilize the ecosystems we discussed in creating economic opportunities and impact.”

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Congressman Darin LaHood proudly serves the constituents of Illinois’ 18th Congressional District, consisting of more than 710,000 constituents across 19 counties throughout Central Illinois. Darin was born and raised in Central Illinois and currently resides in the Peoria area with his wife and three children.