European Union invests in 'supercomputers'

Elias Hubbard
January 14, 2018

Under the plans, a new EuroHPC Joint Undertaking will be established to lead on the acquisition and operation of four new supercomputing machines - two of which will be "world-class pre-exascale" machines, and two which will be "mid-range". As it stands, many scientists process their data outside the European Union because their needs are not matched by the computation time or computer performance available.

"We do not have any supercomputers in the world's top ten", he said.

The EU will spend around €486 million (US$589m) on the initiative, which will be matched by member states, along with additional investment from industry members. "Before the new structure was put in place, the Commission was effectively limited to contributing 20 percent to HPC initiatives undertaken with member states", noted Steve Conway, Research Vice President, Hyperion Research.

The goal is come up with €1 billion of public funding to be spent on supercomputing infrastructure over the next couple of years - until 2020.

At present, only 13 Member States out of 28 signed the EuroHPC declaration, which main objective is to have the EU's supercomputers in the global top 3 ranking by 2022-2023.

Research and innovation programme on HPC: to support the development of European supercomputing technology including the first generation of European low-power microprocessor technology, and the co-design of European exascale machines, and to foster applications, skills development and a wider use of High-Performance Computing. "They can help us to develop personalized medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more efficiently".

Thirteen countries have signed up so far, including Belgium, France, Croatia, Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Slovenia.

European scientists and industry risk yielding secrets or sensitive information as they increasingly process data outside the EU to perform tasks in the absence of the best supercomputers, the commission said.

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking will operate in 2019 to 2026.

The third is that, according to an FAQ about the project, "The European HPC technology supply chain is weak and the integration of European technologies into operational HPC machines remains insignificant". For example, vehicle production cycles can be reduced thanks to supercomputers from 60 months to 24 months. The project is open for other member states and private partners to join.

High-performance computing is also essential for national security and defence, for example when developing complex encryption technologies, tracking and responding to cyberattacks, deploying efficient forensics or in nuclear simulations.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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