European Union will Invest in Supercomputers

European Union will Invest in Supercomputers

Despite the EU's ambitions, China has said it plans to have an exascale computer ready in 2018, five years before the EU. The announcement of the European Commission (EC) put on the table the importance of the technological future, above all in topics such as computer science.

A new legal and funding structure, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, will acquire, build and deploy high performance computing infrastructure across Europe.

The EU will spend around €486 million (US$589m) on the initiative, which will be matched by member states, along with additional investment from industry members.

The commission expects to have this system in place by 2022 and said the programme is "crucial for the EU's competitiveness and independence in the data economy".

In a European Commission press release on Thursday, the Commission's Vice President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said the EU is "lagging behind" when it comes to supercomputers.

Today, Europe does not have any supercomputers in the world's top ten, but the European Union aims to change that by raising a lot of money to build some.

"This lack of independence threatens privacy, data protection, commercial trade secrets, and ownership of data in particular for sensitive applications".

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These computers will aid the development of artificial intelligence and function to improve health, security and engineering.

Expertise built up in the first phase would help Europe go beyond petaflops for the second stage of its research project and aims, by 2023, to make a machine that can breach the exaflop barrier. The Commission hopes that the EuroHPC will result in Europe having two supercomputers that are among the top 10 in the world and capable of tens of millions of billions of calculations per second.

Although the €1 billion investment is only created to extend out to 2020, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking is supposed to remain operational until the end of 2026, which presumably will require another round of investments. "Our progress report on the European HPC strategy, done for the Commission, contained a related recommendation". Most of the others in the top 10 are found in the United States and Japan.

China now leads with the fastest supercomputer in the world: the Sunway TaihuLight has over 10 million computer cores.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said in a statement: "Supercomputers are already at the core of major advancements and innovations in many areas directly affecting the daily lives of European citizens". "They can help us to develop personalized medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more efficiently".

"Supercomputers are the engine to power the digital economy".

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