Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

European Commission reveals its plan to invest Euro 486 million in supercomputers

European Commission reveals its plan to invest Euro 486 million in supercomputers European Commission reveals its plan to invest Euro 486 million in supercomputers
Patty Aguilar | 13 January, 2018, 10:50

"We want to give European researchers and companies world-leading supercomputer capacity by 2020", Ansip said in a statement.

The four supers will comprise a pair of "pre-exascale" machines capable of 10 calculations per second, plus at least two smaller machines that limp along at 10 calculations per second.

Brussels says it will help develop artificial intelligence and applications to improve health, security and engineering, plus help forecast hurricane routes and simulate earthquakes.

European officials first detailed the initiative, named EuroHPC, in March 2017 but today is the first time that they've spoken about the project's funding details. This will involve it supporting "the development of European supercomputing technology", including the software that could run on HPC machines, the Commission said.

"Supercomputers are the engines to power the digital economy", he said. That poses a risk that sensitive personal information, trade secrets and other data could leak or be stolen.

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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.

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.

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. "A better European supercomputing infrastructure holds great potential for job creation and is a key factor for the digitisation of industry and increasing the competitiveness of the European economy".

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. Meanwhile, a development of the exascale machine, which is the current frontier for supercomputers, "based on European Union technology", is eyed for 2022-2023.

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. For example, auto production cycles can be reduced thanks to supercomputers from 60 months to 24 months. Other members can join this cooperation at any moment, provided their financial contribution.

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