Draft work programme for 2018 - 2020 of the European Horizon 2020 funding programme shows strong commitment to HPC and exascale with over 450 million euro funding available

9 Oct 2017 Brussels - The draft of the work programme for 2018 - 2020 of the Horizon 2020 Research and Development funding programme has been published. The work programme gives details of the topics for which proposals are invited, and the amount of budget available. Although it is still a draft, not many changes are to be expected in the final version.

There are several places in the work programme that explicitly mention HPC and exascale as topics. We provide a summary in this article.

There are other topics where HPC related project proposals could be submitted, but then these have a different focus.

The three main work programme sections with an HPC component are:

  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • European research infrastructures (including e-Infrastructures)
  • Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)

These three are, however, intertwined, each covering sometimes a sub topic of a broader HPC topic, like the goal of reaching exascale in the early twenties.

Work programme for Information and Communication Technologies

The European Union programme has a broad topic which is called European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The technology infrastructure that is at the basis of this European Open Science Cloud is called European Data Infrastructure (EDI).

The aim of the activities under this section is to enable the creation of a world-class High Performance Computing (HPC)/Big Data (BD) European ecosystem. This ecosystem will strengthen the European technology supply in these areas and will provide innovative, usable and competitive technology that satisfies the demands of users of the European Data Infrastructure.

The European Data Infrastructure technology is developed in the "Information and Communication Technologies" part of Horizon 2020. The 2018 - 2020 work programme contains a topic called "European Data Infrastructure: HPC, Big Data and Cloud technologies" with the following subtopics:

  • ICT-11-2018-2019: HPC and Big Data enabled Large-scale Test-beds and Applications
  • ICT-12-2018-2020: Big Data technologies and extreme-scale analytics
  • ICT-13-2018-2019: Supporting the emergence of data markets and the data economy
  • ICT-14-2019: Co-designing Extreme Scale Demonstrators (EsD)
  • ICT-13-2018-2019: Supporting the emergence of data markets and the data economy
  • ICT-14-2019: Co-designing Extreme Scale Demonstrators (EsD)
  • ICT-15-2019-2020: Cloud Computing
  • ICT-16-2018: Software Technologies

The latter two are not directly related to HPC. The other ones are either HPC or a mix of HPC and Big Data or HPDA (High-performance data analytics).

The total budget for the HPC, Big Data and Cloud technologies is a bit over 300 million euro.

HPC and Big Data enabled Large-scale Test-beds and Applications:The Internet of Things and the convergence of HPC, Big Data and Cloud computing technologies are enabling the emergence of a wide range of innovations. Building industrial large-scale application test-beds that integrate such technologies and that make best use of currently available HPC and data infrastructures will accelerate the pace of digitization and the innovation potential in Europe's key industry sectors.

Big Data technologies and extreme-scale analytics:Rapidly increasing volumes of diverse data from distributed sources create challenges for extracting valuable knowledge and commercial value from data. This calls for novel methods, approaches and engineering paradigms in analytics and data management. As the success will require not only efficient data processing/management but also sufficient computing capacity and connectivity, a coordinated action with all related areas (e.g. analytics, software engineering, HPC, Cloud technologies, IoT) is necessary and will contribute to a European leadership in these areas.

In addition to the European Data Infrastruture topis, there is one specific action defined: The "Framework Partnership Agreement in European low-power microprocessor technologies" which aims to develop a microprocessor that can be used in European HPC machines. The Framework arrangement was actually part of the previous work programme 2016 -2017 in which a consortium will be selected that will be the only invitee for the call in the 2018 - 2020 work programme.

Within the Framework Partnership Agreement in European low-power microprocessor technologies that will be awarded later this year, the selected consortium will be invited to submit a Research and Innovation Action proposal for the design and development of European low-power processors and related technologies for extreme-scale, high-performance big-data and emerging applications, in the automotive sector for example, in accordance with the research roadmap defined in the Framework Partnership Agreement. The designs should follow a modular approach that would allow a rapid scale-up or scale-down.

There will be two calls: one in 2018 for 80 million euroe, and one in 2020 for 40 million euro.

Work programme European research infrastructures (including e-Infrastructures)

The work programme "European research infrastructures (including e-Infrastructures)" is focused on infrastructures and infrastructure developments. This includes three sub topics.

  • INFRAEDI-01-2018: Pan-European High Performance Computing infrastructure and services (PRACE)
  • INFRAEDI-02-2018: HPC PPP - Centres of Excellence on HPC
  • INFRAEDI-03-2018: Support to the governance of High Performance Computing Infrastructures
  • INFRAEDI-04-2020: Support to Public Procurement of innovative HPC systems

The "Pan-European High Performance Computing infrastructure and services (PRACE)" aim is to create a world-class pan-European High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure and to provide state-of-the-art services accessible by users independently of their location, by pooling, integrating and rationalising the HPC resources at EU level. Actually this call is intended to support the supercomputer infrastructure PRACE.

In total the budget for these topics is 178 million euro.

The "HPC PPP - Centres of Excellence on HPC" topic covers two interrelated and synergic areas:

1. Supporting Centres of Excellence (CoE) that promote the use of upcoming exascale and extreme performance computing capabilities in areas where user communities in collaboration with other HPC stakeholders can develop or scale up existing parallel codes towards exascale and extreme scaling performance, resulting into tangible benefits for addressing scientific, industrial or societal challenges.

2. Addressing the fragmentation of activities for excellence in HPC applications, broaden the use of HPC codes in Europe, by establishing a focal point for the consulting skills and training available from the Centres of Ecellence, and from other HPC centres or organisations, including PRACE.

The "Support to Public Procurement of innovative HPC systems" will most likely provide support similar to PP4HPC.

Work programmme "Future and Emerging Technologies" (FET)

The "Future and Emerging Technologies" (FET) part is involved with innovative, high risk research and development.

The FET Proactive initiative in High-Performance Computing (HPC) covers the co-design of the exascale machines integrating the European microprocessor part and addresses the development of scientific and engineering applications that will run on extreme scale HPC machines.

It also includes a call for International cooperation with Brazil and Mexico.

The sub topics of "FET Proactive - High Performance Computing" are:

  • FETHPC-01-2018: International Cooperation on HPC
  • FETHPC-02-2019: Extreme scale computing technologies, methods and algorithms for key applications and support to the HPC ecosystem
  • HPC PPP - Co-design of extreme scale HPC systems and applications

In total 172 million euro is the budget for these topics.

The FET programme also supports emerging technologies that could be used in the future for HPC. This includes Quantum computing and Neuromorphic computing. Also work in innovative microprocessor technology is funded.

The European Commission and the European Council, have adopted the policy to try to build a leading European High Performance Computing and Big Data (HPC/BD) research and industrial ecosystem by 2023 underpinned by a world-class European Data Infrastructure offering high performance computing and data capabilities, fast connectivity and high-capacity cloud solutions. The FET part of the work programme addresses this.

The "International Cooperation on HPC" calls for proposals with Brazil and Mexico. Although this may look strange (it has nothing to do with the exascale HPC initiative), it has just been put here because there did not seem to be a more appropriate place. There are more international collaboration calls spread over the work programme.

The "Extreme scale computing technologies, methods and algorithms for key applications and support to the HPC ecosystem" looks at developing world-class exascale, power-efficient and highly resilient HPC and data technologies, and to provide support for a sustainable exascale HPC ecosystem in Europe. Specific areas areas are:

  • System software and management;
  • Programming environments;
  • I/O and storage environment for data-centric extreme scale computing;
  • Data-intensive supercomputing and emerging HPC use modes; and
  • Mathematical methods and algorithms.

The "HPC PPP - Co-design of extreme scale HPC systems and applications" is not yet very detailed (the funding will be available in 2020). However, it is a considerable amount - 100 million euro - that will be invested in the acquisition of supercomputers. If that amount would be matched by HPC funding from the European countries, perhaps through the EuroHPC initiative, that could be sufficient to acquire one, perhaps two, exascale supercomputers shortly after 2020.

This article was edited on October 11 with info on the " Framework Partnership Agreement in European low-power microprocessor technologies" added.

Ad Emmen