28 Sep 2018 Brussels - The Council of the European Union has adopted a regulation aimed at giving a boost to high-performance computing by setting up a new European joint undertaking. This undertaking will oversee the pooling of resources within Europe to develop supercomputers for processing Big Data, which is an essential tool to help tackle the challenges of today's world.
"High-performance computing is key to research as well as to the digitisation of industry and the data economy. It has many practical applications which can help a wide range of industrial and business sectors, as well as users from academia, scientific communities and the public sector. Europe's scientific capabilities, industrial competitiveness and autonomy depend on having access to world-class supercomputers and data infrastructure. High Performance Computing plays a vital role in helping us address issues such as climate change forecasting, advanced medicine modelling and artificial intelligence. But we have to coordinate our approach and pool our resources in Europe to be a relevant global player. Today's decision will enable the Union to develop, deploy, extend and maintain an integrated world-class supercomputing and data infrastructure", stated Heinz Faßmann, Austrian Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research.
The European High-Performance Computing (EuroHPC) joint undertaking will take the form of a public-private partnership. It will provide a legal, contractual and organisational framework to its members.
The members of the joint undertaking will be the EU, individual EU countries, third countries associated to the Horizon 2020 framework programme and private associations.
The joint undertaking will remain open to the participation of new members. It will run until the end of 2026 and be based in Luxembourg.
The EuroHPC joint undertaking will be financed from several sources: the EU's general budget, individual contributions from participating EU member states, participating third countries and private investment.
The joint undertaking is expected to start operating at the latest by early 2019 in order to reach the target of equipping the EU with a pre-exascale and petascale infrastructure by 2020, and developing the necessary technologies and applications for reaching exascale - which allows at least 1018calculations per second - capabilities around 2022 to 2023.
The aim is to network existing and new centres of excellence and to set up a long-term ecosystem for supercomputing in Europe.
A development cycle of the next generation of technology typically takes 4-5 years.
High-performance computing refers to the technologies and the use of powerful supercomputers - interconnecting in a single system or in close proximity of hundreds of thousands or millions of computing units working in parallel - to perform massive and fast computations that are so demanding that they cannot be performed by general-purpose computers.
On 11 January 2018, the Commission proposed a regulation for the establishment of the EuroHPC joint undertaking based on articles 187 and 188 of the EU treaty.
On 23 March 2017, several member states signed the EuroHPC declaration, committing to work towards the development of an integrated supercomputing infrastructure of the next generation.