Es­to­nia joins Euro­pean ini­tia­tive to de­velop su­per­com­put­ers

The Malta Business Weekly - - LEADER / NEWS -

Es­to­nia yes­ter­day be­come the 21st Euro­pean country to sign the Euro­pean dec­la­ra­tion on high-per­for­mance com­put­ing.

The aim is to pool Euro­pean and na­tional re­sources to build and de­ploy world-class su­per­com­put­ers that would be ranked in the world’s top three by 2022-2023.

High-per­for­mance com­put­ing is needed to process ever larger amounts of data and help re­searchers make sci­en­tific break­throughs in many ar­eas from health­care and re­new­able en­ergy to car safety and cybersecurity.

Mailis Reps, Es­to­nian Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion and Re­search, signed the EuroHPC dec­la­ra­tion in Tartu, Es­to­nia, in the pres­ence of An­drus An­sip, Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Vice-Pres­i­dent for the Dig­i­tal Sin­gle Mar­ket.

With this sig­na­ture, Es­to­nia marks its in­ten­tion to join the EuroHPC Joint Un­der­tak­ing pro­posed by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, once it is for­mally adopted by the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union in Septem­ber.

Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Vi­cePres­i­dent An­sip wel­comed Es­to­nia’s sig­na­ture: “Su­per­com­put­ers are be­com­ing the en­gine of our econ­omy, fu­elled by large amounts of data. The EU is cur­rently lag­ging be­hind: we do not have any su­per­com­put­ers in the world’s top ten. Es­to­nia can­not reach the top alone, and we need to work to­gether at EU level. This is why we have launched the EuroHPC ini­tia­tive. It will give Es­to­nian re­searchers, pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion and com­pa­nies ac­cess to world-lead­ing su­per­com­puter ca­pac­ity – to de­velop and use tech­nolo­gies such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and build new ap­pli­ca­tions in ar­eas like health, se­cu­rity and engi­neer­ing.”

Sign­ing the dec­la­ra­tion, Es­to­nian Min­is­ter Mailis Reps said: “The ini­tia­tive broad­ens op­por­tu­ni­ties for Es­to­nia’s so­ci­ety, as the re­search ca­pac­ity in­creases, and al­lows to de­velop ar­eas that we even may not be able to imag­ine to­day. Although Es­to­nia’s re­searchers are al­ready in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized and thor­ough co­op­er­a­tion with for­eign in­sti­tu­tions has been es­tab­lished, this ini­tia­tive surely opens up new lev­els of co­op­er­a­tion and com­pe­tence shar­ing. I am con­fi­dent that Es­to­nia’s re­searchers and their coun­ter­parts are max­i­miz­ing this op­por­tu­nity for the greater good.”

The EuroHPC Joint Un­der­tak- ing, which is due to be­gin op­er­a­tions be­fore the end of this year, will cover the whole value chain from tech­nol­ogy com­po­nents to sys­tems and ma­chines, and to ap­pli­ca­tions and skills. It will of­fer ex­per­tise and train­ing with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on help­ing small and medium-sized com­pa­nies.

Ben­e­fits of su­per­com­put­ing

High-per­for­mance com­put­ing is a crit­i­cal tool for un­der­stand­ing and re­spond­ing to ma­jor sci­en­tific and so­ci­etal chal­lenges, such as the early de­tec­tion and treat­ment of dis­eases and the de­vel­op­ment of new ther­a­pies based on per­son­alised and pre­ci­sion medicine. High-per­for­mance com­put­ing is also used for pre­vent­ing and manag­ing large-scale nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, no­tably for fore­cast­ing the paths of hur­ri­canes or for earth­quake sim­u­la­tions.

The EuroHPC in­fra­struc­ture will pro­vide Euro­pean in­dus­try and in par­tic­u­lar small and medi­um­sized en­ter­prises with bet­ter ac­cess to su­per­com­put­ers to de­velop in­no­va­tive prod­ucts. The use of high-per­for­mance com­put­ing is hav­ing a grow­ing im­pact on 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. For ex­am­ple, car pro­duc­tion cy­cles can be re­duced from 60 months to 24 months.

High-per­for­mance com­put­ing is also es­sen­tial for na­tional se­cu­rity and de­fence, for ex­am­ple when de­vel­op­ing com­plex en­cryp­tion tech­nolo­gies, track­ing and re­spond­ing to cy­ber­at­tacks, de­ploy­ing ef­fi­cient foren­sics and in nu­clear sim­u­la­tions.

Pool­ing re­sources

The EuroHPC Joint Un­der­tak­ing will pool in­vest­ments to es­tab­lish lead­ing Euro­pean su­per­com­put­ers and big data in­fra­struc­ture. The Joint Un­der­tak­ing aims to ac­quire sys­tems with pre-ex­as­cale per­for­mance (a hun­dred mil­lion bil­lion or 1017 cal­cu­la­tions per sec­ond) by 2020, and sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of ex­as­cale (a bil­lion bil­lion or 1018cal­cu­la­tions per sec­ond) per­for­mance sys­tems based on Euro­pean tech­nol­ogy by 20222023.

The EU’s con­tri­bu­tion in EuroHPC will be around €486 mil­lion un­der the cur­rent Mul­tian­nual Fi­nan­cial Frame­work, which should be matched by a sim­i­lar amount from Mem­ber States and as­so­ci­ated coun­tries. Over­all, around €1 bil­lion of pub­lic fund­ing is planned to be in­vested by 2020, and pri­vate mem­bers of the ini­tia­tive will also add in-kind con­tri­bu­tions (of around €400 mil­lion). The Com­mis­sion has pro­posed to in­crease this amount un­der the next Mul­tian­nual Fi­nan­cial Frame­work (2021-2027), to make sure that the EU be­comes and re­mains at the fore­front of tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment (€2.7 bil­lion pro­posed un­der the Dig­i­tal Europe Pro­gramme).

The ac­tiv­i­ties of the Joint Un­der­tak­ing will con­sist of:

Ac­qui­si­tion and op­er­a­tion of two world-class pre-ex­as­cale su­per­com­put­ing ma­chines and at least two mid-range su­per­com­put­ing ma­chines (ca­pa­ble of around 1016 cal­cu­la­tions per sec­ond), and pro­vid­ing and manag­ing ac­cess to these su­per­com­put­ers to a wide range of pub­lic and pri­vate users start­ing from 2020.

Re­search and innovation pro­gramme on high-per­for­mance com­put­ing: to sup­port

the de­vel­op­ment of Euro­pean su­per­com­put­ing tech­nol­ogy in­clud­ing the first gen­er­a­tion of Euro­pean low-power mi­cro­pro­ces­sor tech­nol­ogy, and the co-de­sign of Euro­pean ex­as­cale ma­chines, and to foster ap­pli­ca­tions, skills de­vel­op­ment and a wider use of high-per­for­mance com­put­ing across the econ­omy and so­ci­ety.

The planned in­fra­struc­ture will be jointly owned and op­er­ated by the mem­bers of the Joint Un­der­tak­ing con­sist­ing at first of the coun­tries that have signed the EuroHPC dec­la­ra­tion and pri­vate mem­bers from academia and in­dus­try.

Other Mem­ber States or coun­tries as­so­ci­ated to the EU re­search and innovation pro­gramme Hori­zon 2020can join, pro­vided that they con­trib­ute to the EuroHPC Joint Un­der­tak­ing.

Coun­tries that have signed the EuroHPC dec­la­ra­tion: 21

Euro­pean coun­tries, in­clud­ing 20 EU Mem­ber States (Aus­tria, Bel­gium, Bul­garia, Croa­tia, Cyprus, Czech Repub­lic, Es­to­nia, Fin­land, France, Ger­many, Greece, Italy, Lithua­nia, Lux­em­bourg, Nether­lands, Poland, Por­tu­gal, Slove­nia, Spain Swe­den) and Switzer­land have signed the EuroHPC dec­la­ra­tion. Latvia has also com­mit­ted to be­com­ing a found­ing mem­ber of the EuroHPC Joint Un­der­tak­ing.

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