EC's I4MS initiative provides opportunities to SMEs for HPC Cloud-based simulation

24 Jun 2014 Leipzig - In the session on HPC Cloud-based simulation services for Mid Caps and SMEs at ISC'14 in Leipzig, Max Lemke from the European Union, presented the first results and the future opportunities, offered by the I4MS initiative, a programme funded by the European Commission (EC), to support SMEs with HPC Cloud-based services for the industry. Max Lemke told the audience that there is a need vor innovation schemes. The focus lies on connecting innovators across the value chain.

Indeed, the EC's upcoming Horizon2020 Programme aims to connect innovators across value chains and is specifically targeting SMEs and Mid Caps, both on the demand- and supply-side, according to Max Lemke. The programme is clustered around pan-EU networks of competence centres but is also addressed to flexible light and SME-friendly implementation in the organisation of the Open Calls.

There were already some pilots started in the former FP7 Framework Programme, including the ECHORD and I4MS initiatives. Their action points will be more broadly applied now in Horizon2020, highlighting the principle of smart anything everywhere and focusing on compute-intensive embedded and cyber-physical systems, Max Lemke explained.

The Horizon2020 focus concentrates on a fast adoption of the strategic selection of ICT technologies expected to have particularly high impact on the target sectors.

A first Open Call is scheduled in October 2014.

When we take a look at the implementation of a typical project, the European Commission insists on the critical role to be played by a pan-European Union network of competence centres to provide expertise and skills. They play a key role as the broker or facilitator across value chains, regions, and sectors.

Special attention is paid to the technology transfer, the dissemination, the multiplier factor, and the management in the upcoming Open Calls, stated Max Lemke.

A critical mass of experiments with flexible partnerships will function as a proof of concept to share the lessons learnt for the industrial partners across the value chain.

As an example of the application experiments, Max Lemke cited three important guiding rules to concentrate upon.

At the user level, there will be a one stop shopping access to simulation services including expertise and Cloud resources. At the suppliers' level, software porting on the Cloud is a critical factor, as well as experimenting new business models. At the level of the HPC resource providers, the EC is aiming at establishing a commercially sustainable European Cloud of HPC resources.

The actors in the Open Call opportunities are SME first-time users of simulation codes; innovation centres and clusters; application experts, and established simulation code providers.

The I4MS projects that already started, are Cloud-Flow, Fortissimo, and Cloud-SME.

Max Lemke told the audience that there is 77 million euro funding available over 3 years for about 150 experiments in which 50% of the partners should be SMEs.

The next call will hook upon competence in the areas of HPC Cloud-based modelling, simulation and analytics services for modelling multiple interconnected phenomena, the integration of CPS modules in manufacturing processes and the process chain, and highly flexible and near autonomous robotic systems.

Max Lemke concluded by saying that the European Union asks for innovation actions in all the above mentioned areas of technology.

Leslie Versweyveld