EuroHPC Joint Undertaking in action: the first steps to acquiring world-class supercomputers
Supercomputing, also known as high performance computing (HPC), involves thousands of processors working in parallel to analyse billions of pieces of data in real time, performing calculations much faster than a normal computer, and enabling scientific and industrial challenges of great scale and complexity to be met. The EuroHPC JU has the target of equipping the EU by the end of 2020 with a world-class supercomputing infrastructure that will be available to users from academia, industry and small and medium-sized enterprises, and the public sector. These new European supercomputers will also support the development of leading scientific, public sector and industrial applications in many domains, including personalised medicine, bio-engineering, weather forecasting and tackling climate change, discovering new materials and medicines, oil and gas exploration, designing new planes and cars, and smart cities.
The EuroHPC JU was established in 2018, with the participation of 25 European countries and the European Commission, and has its headquarters in Luxembourg. By 2020, its objective is to acquire and deploy in the EU at least two supercomputers that will rank among the top five in the world, and at least two others that today would be in the top 25 machines globally. These supercomputers will be hosted and operated by hosting entities (existing national supercomputing centres) located in different Member States participating in the EuroHPC JU.
To this purpose, the EuroHPC JU has now opened two calls for expressions of interest:
- Call for hosting entities for petascale supercomputers (with a performance level capable of executing at least 1015 operations per second, or 1 Petaflop)
- Call for hosting entities for precursor to exascale supercomputers (with a performance level capable of executing more than 150 Petaflops).
In addition to these plans, the EuroHPC JU aims to acquire by 2022/23 exascale supercomputers, capable of 1018 operations per second, with at least one being based on European HPC technology.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said:
“Deciding where Europe will host its most powerful petascale and precursor to exascale machines is only the first step in this great European initiative on high performance computing. Regardless of where users are located in Europe, these supercomputers will be used in more than 800 scientific and industrial application fields for the benefit of European citizens.”
In the acquisition of the petascale supercomputers, the EuroHPC JU’s financial contribution, from the EU’s budget, will be up to EUR 30 million, covering up to 35% of the acquisition costs. All the remaining costs of the supercomputers will be covered by the country where the hosting entity is established.
For the precursor to exascale supercomputers, the EuroHPC JU’s financial contribution, from the EU’s budget, will be up to EUR 250 million and will enable the JU to fund up to 50% of the acquisition costs, and up to 50% of the operating costs of the supercomputers. The hosting entities and their supporting countries will cover the remaining acquisition and operating costs. The EuroHPC JU will be the owner of the precursors to exascale supercomputers it will acquire.
The Call for Expression of Interest for the selection of Hosting Entities for Precursors to Exascale Supercomputers will close on 4 April 2019 at 12h00 (CET). The Call for Expression of Interest for the selection of Hosting Entities for Petascale Supercomputers will close on 15 April 2019 at 12h00 (CET). Both calls can be found here.
Benefits of supercomputing
Supercomputing is at the heart of the digital transformation of science. It enables leading-edge research to answer fundamental science questions and make new discoveries and breakthroughs. Today, hundreds of scientific applications depend on it.
Supercomputing and big data analysis provide scientists with deeper insights into previously unexplored areas and systems of the highest complexity, driving the innovation and discovery of almost all scientific disciplines. Major scientific challenges that supercomputing helps to address include decoding the functioning of the human brain or predicting the development of the Earth’s climate. It is also critical for discovering new drugs, and developing and targeting medical therapies for the individual needs and conditions of patients experiencing cancer, cardiovascular or Alzheimer’s diseases and rare genetic disorders.
Supercomputing is a critical tool for understanding and responding to complex challenges: for example, creating simulations that predict the evolution of weather patterns, as well as the size and paths of storms and floods. This is key to activating early warning systems to save human lives and reduce damages to property and public infrastructure.
Supercomputing also enables traditional sectors to become more productive and to scale up to higher value products and services. It is having a growing impact on industries and businesses by significantly reducing product design and production cycles, accelerating the design of new materials, minimising costs, increasing resource efficiency and shortening and optimising decision processes.