HPC in Europe is problematic, says 85% of respondents of the targeted public consultation

Stakeholder distribution20 Oct 2017 Brussels - Preliminary findings of the targeted stakeholder consultation on the HPC initiative in Europe and the EuroHPC inception impact assessment that ran from 3 August to 5 September 2017 show that almost any respondent (85%) sees the current state of HPC in Europe as problematic. There is limited interaction between industry and academia. They note there is a deep fragmentation of HPC programmes and uncoordinated activities, and Europe's supercomputing capabilities depend on non-EU suppliers.

The online consultation gathered 92 replies from organisations in 17 Member States and 4 non-EU countries. The largest number of responses came from Spain (14.1%), France (13%), Germany (12%), UK (9.8%) and Italy (6.5%), totalling 55% of responses.

34% of responses came from the other Member States (Portugal, Sweden, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Slovenia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Greece) and about 11% from the participating non-EU countries (Israel, Norway, Switzerland, USA).

85% of respondents found the current state of HPC in Europe problematic; 2% saw no problem, while 13% were undecided. The majority of those who saw a problem, pointed out these three issues as being the most relevant:

  • Limited interaction between industry and academia on the exploitation of high-end computing systems, application codes and services especially in using HPC for industrial and service innovation (55.6%)
  • Deep fragmentation of HPC programmes and uncoordinated activities and the lack of a common procurement framework result in wasted resources (55.6%)
  • Europe's supercomputing capabilities depend on non-EU suppliers for critical technologies and systems (47.8%).

In addition to the lack of sufficient resources and insufficient access to HPC resources for science, a recurring perception was that too little emphasis is given on software developments given Europe's recognised world leading role in HPC applications.

Only ~2% of respondents found that no EU action should be taken to improve HPC in Europe, 15% were satisfied with current EU actions; 83% of respondents confirmed the need for EU action beyond the current level.

Those who favoured EU action beyond the current level made two arguments:

  • EU coordination and cooperation of HPC initiatives is insufficient, resulting in strong fragmentation between current EU initiatives, individual Member States' and stakeholders' efforts.
  • The EU is bound to trail its global competitors (USA, China) in this strategic field if it continues its fragmented efforts.

The full findings which are also of relevance to EuroHPC will be made available later this year.

Ad Emmen