4 Jan 2019 Jülich - With a total of around 36 million euro by the year 2020, the shareholders of Forschungszentrum Jülich, the federal government and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, want to accelerate the development of computer technologies of the future in the research centre. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) wants to take over about 32.4 million euro, the Ministry of Culture and Science NRW another 3.6 million euro. The funds will flow into the long-term strategic expansion of future-oriented social and economic topics such as quantum computing and neuromorphic computing.
"In addition to data, infrastructures are also used to make this data usable for a large number of applications. Investments in the area of computer technologies are thus strengthening our innovation and competitiveness. With investments planned at Forschungszentrum Jülich with a federal share of around 32.4 million, as a federal government, we want to further develop the technological basis of digitization and, in particular, Artificial Intelligence, in order to safeguard the future of Germany as a federal state", stated the Parliamentary State Secretary in the BMBF, Thomas Rachel MdB, explaining the special commitment of the Federal Government.
"In order to be internationally competitive in simulation-driven sciences as well as in industrial applications, scientists and engineers need access to state-of-the-art computer technologies. The development of these technologies at Forschungszentrum Jülich is accorded the highest scientific priority by the state in order to make North Rhine-Westphalia an attractive location for science", stated Annette Storsberg, State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Science NRW. She said that this would secure the outstanding position of Forschungszentrum Jülich in the long term.
For several decades, the research centre, together with its national partners in the Gauss Center for Supercomputing, has been a world leader in the fields of high-performance computing, simulation and modelling, and the development of information technologies of the future. Currently, the Jülich researchers' particular aim is to develop completely new types of computers: neuromorphic computers whose architecture is based on the functions of the human brain and which are expected to result in enormous performance improvements in image processing and machine learning, as well as quantum computers that provide access to previously unsolvable scientific and technical problems.
With this federal and state funding in the areas of high-performance computing for simulation and data analysis, quantum computing, and neuromorphic computing, among others, will be set up new scientific sub-institutes and working groups with more than 100 additional scientists in the medium term, and new experimental and user platforms for quantum computing are planned. In addition to the further development of the subject areas, the aim is to gain outstanding scientific talent for the research centre.
Jülich's brain researchers headed by Prof. Katrin Amunts, Director of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM), are already working together with an international technology company in the field of machine learning. Together, they want to realize the detailed digital mapping of the structure and function of the human brain - a project which, in addition to its use in clinical practice, also provides valuable information for neuro-inspired computing technologies. Jülich also wants to develop into a leading location in the field of quantum computing. For example, a team of scientists headed by Prof. Kristel Michielsen from the Jülich Supercomputing Center (JSC), has succeeded in simulating a quantum computer with 48 quantum bits using supercomputers. This is the current world record.
"These investments will be used to explore technologies that will make ground-breaking discoveries in science and society, such as a comprehensive understanding of the structure and function of the human brain, or the simulation of drugs against common diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. With the support of the state and federal governments, Forschungszentrum Jülich intends to make an important contribution to researching and making use of these technologies, which are of outstanding importance for Germany as research and business location", stated Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt, CEO of Forschungszentrum Jülich.