Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

European Union wants world's fastest supercomputer by 2023 for €1B

European Commission reveals its plan to invest EUR 486 million in supercomputers European Commission Looks to Invest a Billion Euros in HPC
Kenny Thornton | 13 January, 2018, 13:27

The European Commission on Thursday announced a plan to invest 1 billion euros (1.19 billion US dollars) with European Union (EU) member states to build a world-class European supercomputers infrastructure. 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. "We can not risk being dependent on third countries for these computers", she said.

"To achieve the goal of HPC leadership-meaning at minimum parity in HPC capabilities with the best in the world-Europe needs to acquire at least one exascale supercomputer in the same timeframe as the U.S., Japan and China".

Two of the supercomputers will be "world-class pre-exascale supercomputing machines", capable of at least a hundred million billion calculations per second.

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.

Formally, the United Kingdom is not part of the project, and some are fearing the country might be missing out on a great opportunity.

Today, Europe does not have any supercomputers in the world's top ten, but the European Union aims to change that by raising a lot of money to build some.

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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.

Ansip said the move will help in the development of technologies, including artificial intelligence and the building of applications for use in areas such as health, security, and engineering.

Simon McIntosh-Smith, a computer scientist at the University of Bristol, told Bloomberg: "Brexit has thrown a lot of uncertainty around the UK's participation and it is really unfortunate and causing delay and confusion".

The commission expects to have this system in place by 2022 and said the programme is "crucial for the EU's competitiveness and independence in the data economy".

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).

In a statement laying out its plans, the Commission said initial work would concentrate on developing machines that match the computational capacities of the world's most powerful machines. 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 digitisation of industry and increasing the competitiveness of the European economy".

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