European Commission wants €1 billion investment in European supercomputers

European Commission wants €1 billion investment in European supercomputers

It is a tough race and today the EU is lagging behind: "we do not have any supercomputers in the world's top-ten", Andrus Ansip, European Commission VP for the Digital Single Market, said.

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

The European Commission proposed on Thursday that in the next three years the EU and its member states invest around?1bn of public money in a new fund for developing supercomputers.

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 will put €486m towards the project by 2020, with a similar figure being sourced from other member states and "associated countries".

The research effort will include "the development of ... the first generation of European low-power microprocessor technology".

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The four computers that result from this first phase will be made available to businesses and research groups across Europe, said the Commission. As it stands, many scientists process their data outside the European Union because their needs are not matched by the computation time or computer performance available. "They can help us to develop personalised medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more efficiently".

The EU has said it'll contribute €486 million to the project, with the rest will coming from member states and other countries that sign up to the project. "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".

A total of 13 countries have signed up for the plan: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and non-EU Switzerland.

Although the €1 billion investment is only created to extend out to 2020, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking is supposed to remain operational until the end of 2026, which presumably will require another round of investments. HPC is also used for preventing and managing large-scale natural disasters, notably for forecasting the paths which the hurricanes are following or for quake simulations.

The third is that, according to an FAQ about the project, "The European HPC technology supply chain is weak and the integration of European technologies into operational HPC machines remains insignificant".

It predicts that with the use of a supercomputer, auto production cycles could be reduced "from 60 months to 24 months".

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