European Commission Looks to Invest a Billion Euros in HPC

European Commission Looks to Invest a Billion Euros in HPC

EU proposes spending €1bn on supercomputers

The European Union plans to spend €1 billion (US$1.2bn) on supercomputing by 2020, with half the funds coming from member states and the other half from the European Commission.

While presenting the Euro High Performance Computing (EuroHPC) initiative, Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, stressed that the project is a key initiative for the EU Digital Single Market. "We can not risk being dependent on third countries for these computers", she said.

According to the Commission, the aim of the project is to develop Europe into a world leader of supercomputing technology - but it faces stiff competition. The announcement of the European Commission (EC) put on the table the importance of the technological future, above all in topics such as computer science.

The European Commission has proposed allocating €1bn in the upcoming EU budget to build two supercomputers capable of a quintillion calculations per second, as well as another two mid-range machines.

Buying and developing supercomputing technology is insane expensive, with exascale machines expected to cost up to a half billion dollars.

The EuroHPC funding structure will be used for deployments of pre-exascale systems, as well as for development of technology that will go into subsequent European-built exascale systems.

Supercomputers are a crucial research tool for medicine, aviation, robots and weapons, but there are only three dominant players: The US, Japan and China.

Mark Parsons of the University of Edinburgh said that it would make much more sense for the United Kingdom to work on supercomputer development with other countries and that a lot of the viability would depend on the country's political status post-Brexit.

Simon McIntosh-Smith, a professor of high-performance computing at the University of Bristol, said: "Brexit has thrown a lot of uncertainty around the UK's participation and it is really unfortunate and causing delay and confusion".

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

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

The EU's contribution in EuroHPC will be around €486 million under the current multiannual fnancial framework, matched by a similar amount from member states and associated countries.

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.

While the Top500 tables are always great to be at the head of, more powerful supercomputers are a massive boon to people around the world due to the advantages that they bring.

Latest News