European Union invests in 'supercomputers'

European Commission Looks to Invest a Billion Euros in HPC

Around half the funding from the EuroHPC project will come from the Commission, including existing Horizon R&D funds, and the remainder from ongoing HPC work in member states, with the entire amount to be invested by 2020. Pooling resources at the European Union level to build better local infrastructure will support the development of the Digital Single Market as well as help address major economic and social challenges with the advanced computing power, the Commission said.

A new legal and funding structure, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, will acquire, build and deploy high performance computing infrastructure across Europe. Today, European scientists and industry increasingly process their data outside the EU because their needs are not matched by the computation time or computer performance available in the EU.

The EC plan san investment of 486 million euros, to which will be added a similar amount contributed by 13 European states (France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia and Switzerland). That poses a risk that sensitive personal information, trade secrets and other data could leak or be stolen. This will involve it supporting "the development of European supercomputing technology", including the software that could run on HPC machines, the Commission said. Companies are also being invited to make contributions.

Brussels says it will help develop artificial intelligence and applications to improve health, security and engineering, plus help forecast hurricane routes and simulate earthquakes. "They can help us to develop personalized medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more efficiently".

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The resulting systems will be shared by EuroHPC states, which now consist of France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Greece and Croatia.

Although the €1 billion investment is only created to extend out to 2020, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking is supposed to remain operational until the end of 2026, which presumably will require another round of investments. 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 EuroHPC Joint Undertaking will operate in 2019 to 2026.

The EuroHPC infrastructure will provide European industry and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a better access to supercomputers to develop innovative products. They agreed to build a pan-European integrated exascale supercomputing infrastructure and welcomed other member states and associated countries to sign the declaration. For example, auto production cycles can be reduced thanks to supercomputers from 60 months to 24 months.

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