Commission wants European Union to invest 1bn in supercomputing

BRUSSELS

It will also allow to build a joint European infrastructure of High Performance Computers (HPC), a branch of computing that allows to deliver much higher performance than a typical desktop and deal with challenging scientific and engineering tasks.

The EU's contribution in EuroHPC will be around Euro 486 million under the current Multiannual Financial Framework, matched by a similar amount from Member States and associated countries.

The Commission expects that member states will chip in another €500m-plus for a total spend of over €1 billion by the year 2020.

The move has been marked as a step forward in the European ambitions to be competitive and independent in the global data economy, with the Gaggle of Red-tapers looking to bring work back into the continent.

The research effort will include "the development of ... the first generation of European low-power microprocessor technology".

In a European Commission press release on Thursday, the Commission's Vice President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said the EU is "lagging behind" when it comes to supercomputers.

Expertise built up in the first phase would help Europe go beyond petaflops for the second stage of its research project and aims, by 2023, to make a machine that can breach the exaflop barrier. Of that amount, $589 million will come from the EU. "Private members of the initiative would also add in-kind contributions", the release states.

For the moment, most of the scientists and European enterprises handle their data out of the EU, according to the European executivem, a lack of independence that supposes a threat to security.

The Commission's initiative is a crucial project since the fastest supercomputer in the European Union at present ranks only 14 on the global list, New Europe reports. IDC recommends that Europe extends the end date for its HPC strategy from 2020 to 2022, to match the exascale time frames of the U.S., Japan and China, and that Europe plans to acquire two exascale systems, one of which stresses innovative European technologies (such as those being advanced within ETP4HPC). "Supercomputers are already at the core of major advancements and innovations in many areas directly affecting the daily lives of European citizens", said Gabriel, in response to the new EuroHPC framework. "They can help us to develop personalised medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more efficiently. A better European supercomputing infrastructure holds great potential for job creation and is a key factor for the digitization of industry and increasing the competitiveness of the European economy".

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