Budget cut for Digital Europe could seriously temper EuroHPC ambitions to bring Europe back on the forefront of supercomputing

22 Jul 2020 Brussels - The European member state leaders have put severe cuts on the proposed budget for research and development in the coming 2021-2027 timeframe. The main research programme Horizon Europe is only to get 80,9 billion euro instead of the 94,4 billion euro proposed by the European Commission. Research into supercomputing is to be funded from Horizon Europe.

Digital Europe that includes the EuroHPC supercomputing programme, is left with 6,76 billion euro instead of 8,2 billion. This amount of money that has tp be split over several activities, including not only supercomputing but also AI, seems to put an end to Europe's ambition to become a top-3 leader on the world scale. Japan, with the Fugaku supercomputer has shown the usefulness of a near-exascale supercomputer in doing simulations that directly benefit COVID-19 research. Current supercomputers in Europe seriously lag behind, and also the planned pre-exascale EuroHPC supercomputing systems that are expected to come online will most likely be no match for the Fugaku.

Even in the reduced plans from the Commission only one exascale supercomputer from the 2021 Digital Europe budget was guaranteed. Whether there will still be enough money left in Digitial Europe to plan for a competitive exascale supercomputer to be rolled out somewhere in 2023, remains to be seen.

Ad Emmen