New Digital Europe Programme proposed by the European Commission with 2,7 billion euro for HPC for 2021-2027 timeframe

6 Jun 2018 Brussels - The European Commission has proposed a new programme called "Digital Europe" for the next framework period. The total proposed budget for the 2021-2027 timeframe is 9,2 billion euro, of which 2,7 billion is planned for supercomputers (HPC) and 2,5 billion for artificial intelligence (AI). The proposal needs to be adopted by the European Union as part of the next framework programme. The programme is new and an addition to existing programmes, such as the Horizon Europe (which is the successor of Horizon 2020) and the Connecting Europe (CEF) facilities. The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking is expected to draw budget from both Digital Europe and Horizon Europe. Digital Europe focusing on infrastructures and applications for everyone: from SMEs to large research institutes. It is designed to increase European competitiveness in key digital areas.

For High-Performance Computing (HPC), Digital Europe shall implement the European strategy on HPC by supporting a full EU ecosystem that provides the necessary HPC and data capabilities for Europe to be able to compete globally. The strategy aims to deploy a world-class HPC and data infrastructure with exascale capabilities by 2022/2023, and post-exascale facilities by 2026/27. This should be based on European technology, so that the European Union can develop its own independent and competitive HPC technology supply and can achieve excellence in HPC applications. Usage of HPC should be broadened and the technology should be made available to a much broader usage base, including SMEs.

The initial activities will include:

  1. A joint procurement framework for an integrated network of world-class HPC including exascale supercomputing and data infrastructure. It will be accessible on a non-economic basis to public and private users and for publicly funded research purposes.
  2. A joint procurement framework of a post-exascale supercomputing infrastructure, including the integration with quantum computing technologies.
  3. EU-level coordination and adequate financial resources to support the development, procurement and operation of such infrastructure.
  4. Networking of Member State HPC and data capacities and support for Member States wishing to upgrade or acquire new HPC capacities.
  5. Networking of HPC Competence Centers, one per Member State and associated with their national supercomputing centres to provide HPC services to industry (in particular SMEs), academia and public administrations.
  6. The deployment of ready to use/operational technology: supercomputing as a service resulting from Research and Innovation to build an integrated European HPC ecosystem, covering all scientific and industrial value chain segments, including hardware, software, applications, services, interconnections and advanced digital skills.

For HPC the following performance indicators are identified:

  1. Number of HPC infrastructures jointly procured
  2. Usage of the exascale and post-exascale computers in total and by various stakeholder groups (universities, SMEs etc.)

The Commission sees that for High-Performance Computing, the continuation of the EuroHPC joint undertaking which is currently under discussion with the Council seems to be the most effective and efficient instrument to implement the objectives of the EuroHPC initiative. In particular EuroHPC JU seems the best way to coordinate national and European Union strategies and investments in HPC infrastructure and Research and Development, pooling resources from public and private funds, and safeguarding the economic and strategic interests of the European Union. The Commission expects the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking to draw budget from both Digital Europe and Horizon Europe.

Ad Emmen