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Technology / Emerging Technology

Europe to Member States: Who Wants to Host New Supercomputers?

The European Commission has called for expressions of interest from member states as it seeks to decide which countries will host and maintain a petascale level supercomputer and a precursor to an exascale supercomputer.

The EU plans to build two of each machine as part of its drive to create High Performance Computing (HPC) centres within the EU.

Mariya Gabriel Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society said today: “Deciding where Europe will host its most powerful petascale and precursor to exascale machines is only the first step in this great European initiative on high performance computing.”

She added: “Regardless of where users are located in Europe, these supercomputers will be used in more than 800 scientific and industrial application fields for the benefit of European citizens.”

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Read this: Met Office Back in the Market for a New Supercomputer

A petascale supercomputer is capable of performing operations per second at 1015 or one Petaflop. Exascale-level computing refers to a computer system that can compute a billion billion calculations a second or a thousand raised to the power of six (1018) operations per second, which is more than 150 Petaflops.

If selected to host the petascale supercomputer the member state will be allocated 35 percent of the acquisition cost from the EU’s budget, with the remaining cost being covered by the host state.

However, those selected to build the infrastructure for an exascale supercomputer will only have to cover half of the acquisition. As part of the exascale venture the EU will also cover up to 50 percent of the operating cost of the exascale precusor.

Europe Supercomputers: EC Will Pay 35%

The European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU), headquartered in Luxembourg, is a funding and legal body set-up to pool EU resources for the creation of supercomputer centres.

Established in 2018 it expects to accumulate around €1 billion Euros in the next two years; half from the Commission and half from the countries participating in the project. So far 22 countries have signed up to the joint undertaking, Latvia and Estonia being the latest.

See Also: EU Council of Ministers Backs €1B 25-Nation Supercomputer Initiative, Leaves out UK

These financial resources will be used to create the infrastructure for building a world-class supercomputer centre and data infrastructure.

A significant part of that budget will be allocated towards research and innovation that will look into using the HPC for advanced applications, while also keeping a focus on integrating the existing technology into the next generation of supercomputers known as exascale level.

European High-Performance Computing
The IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer installation at Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, USA.

Thomas Skordas EU Director for digital excellence and science infrastructure wrote last year that: “EuroHPC represents a unique opportunity for Europe to step forward and reap the benefits of mastering advanced digital technologies that rely on supercomputing.

“The convergence and combination of HPC with other technologies such as big data, the cloud, and artificial intelligence is a catalyst for the fourth industrial revolution, and a key element of the European road to digitisation.”

“This is why the European Commission has proposed an ambitious new Digital Europe programme for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2028), which includes 2.7 billion Euros for high performance computing in Europe.”

The budget that was set aside for HPC projects in the Horizon 2020 plan will now be moved into the newly created European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking.
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CBR Staff Writer

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