European Union invests 1 billion euros in world-class supercomputers

science SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY
Published:

The EU is set to spend a billion euros on supercomputers as it looks to become more competitive in the high-powered computing field.

The European Commission has revealed it plans to purchase two “world-class” supercomputers and two mid-range systems by 2020. These machines would help the EU stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of China, the US and Japan. The EU will ultimately look to build a next-gen “exascale” system by 2022.

The project itself kicked off in March last year, but the funding wasn’t unveiled until just now.

The EU will supply half a billion euros for the project (486 million), with the other half coming from member states and “associated countries”. Companies could also join in, the Commission said.

High-Performance Computing is a critical tool for understanding and responding to major scientific and societal challenges, such as early detection and treatment of diseases or developing new therapies based on personalised and precision medicine. HPC is also used for preventing and managing large-scale natural disasters, notably for forecasting the paths which the hurricanes are following or for earthquake simulations.

The EuroHPC infrastructure will provide European industry and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a better access to supercomputers to develop innovative products. The use of High Performance Computing has a growing impact on industries and businesses by significantly reducing product design and production cycles, accelerating the design of new materials, minimising costs, increasing resource efficiency and shortening and optimising decision processes. For example, car production cycles can be reduced thanks to supercomputers from 60 months to 24 months.

High-Performance Computing is also essential for national security and defence, for example when developing complex encryption technologies, tracking and responding to cyberattacks, deploying efficient forensics or in nuclear simulations


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