European Union will Invest in Supercomputers

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

The European Commission, hereafter known as the Gaggle of Red-tapers, has unveiled plans for a €1 billion investment in supercomputer infrastructure. Various reasons have been cited for the creation of the supercomputer, including privacy, data protection, commercial trade secrets, and ownership of data, but it another instance of Europe trying to remove any dependence on other regions.

The EU Reporter write-up quotes Andrus Ansip, EC Vice President for the Digital Single Market, who lays out the rationale for the larger contribution from the EC. Access to these supercomputers will be available to a wide range of public and private users starting from 2020.

The Commission has announced that it will invest approximately €486 million of central EU funds into a new European high-performance computing (HPC) by 2020, with that funding to be matched by a "similar amount" from individual EU member states and added to by further contributions from the private sector. The US and Japan dominate most of the rest of the top 10. The responsible on Economy and Digital Society, Mariya Gabriel, said for her part that in 2012 Europe had four of the 10 main supercomputers of the world. "It is a tough race and today the European Union is lagging behind".

High-Performance Computing is a critical tool for understanding and responding to major scientific and societal challenges, such as early detection and treatment of diseases or developing new therapies based on personalised and precision medicine. HPC is also used for preventing and managing large-scale natural disasters, notably for forecasting the paths which hurricanes follow or for quake simulations.

The European Commission is proposing that the sum be allocated for the systems in the upcoming EU budget, with the aim of building two "world class" "pre-exascale" machines capable of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second, and another two mid-range machines in development. We want to finance the development of competitive European High Performance Computing.

It predicts that with the use of a supercomputer, auto production cycles could be reduced "from 60 months to 24 months".

Today, the two fastest supercomputers are in China.

Brussels officials said Europe was "lagging behind" on supercomputers, noting that none of the world's top ten most powerful machines were in the EU.

According to the Commission, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking is expected to operate between 2019 and 2026 and will be owned and operated by the countries that sign the EuroHPC declaration. Other members can join this cooperation at any moment, provided their financial contribution.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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