Europe to spend €1bn on supercomputers and big data infrastructure

CSCS Piz Daint HPC

CSCS Piz Daint HPC

To fix that problem, the commission plans to use €1 billion ($1.2 billion) of public funding to invest in at least four supercomputers by 2020.

"Supercomputers are the engine to power the digital economy", said Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market in a statement. "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".

Although the European Commission is likely to refine the plan over the coming months, it'll aim to purchase these supercomputers by 2020.

Upon its establishment in Luxembourg in the second half of 2018, the EuroHPC operational structure will also support a research and innovation programme to develop the technologies and machines (hardware), as well as the applications (software) that operate on these supercomputers, to process several billion calculations per second.

Today's initiative will pool investments to establish leading European supercomputers and big data infrastructure.

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

EuroHPC shall acquire, build and deploy across Europe a world-class High-Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure.

Clifton did, however, tell Bloomberg that the United Kingdom has been taking "an active part in development" and whether the country would sign up to the initiative "is an open question".

"Other Member States and associated countries are encouraged to sign the EuroHPC declaration", the release states.

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".

These computers will aid the development of artificial intelligence and function to improve health, security and engineering.

The EU will contribute €486 million via the current Multiannual Financial Framework and the rest of the €1 billion will come from member and associated states. "Furthermore, we wish to jointly build a pre-access scale infrastructure, which will be among the most advanced in the world", Gabriel said. "They can help us to develop personalized medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more efficiently".

Such sentiments are now common with European Union bureaucrats, as reflected by comments from Digital Economy and Society Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

Latest News