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EU invests €140 million for world leadership in supercomputing

Staff writer |
A special event this week in Rome brings together for the first time the main players in the European supercomputing ecosystem as the first step towards setting up synergies and starting building together a new vision for supercomputing in Europe.

The event also includes a presentation of a series of investments which the EU is making via the H2020 programme to achieve world-class, extreme scale computing capabilities, alongside 8 new Centres of Excellence on supercomputing applications and codes.

Supercomputing is one of the contributors to the Digital Single Market strategy aiming to adapt Europe's economy & society to eth digital age. A study shows that Europe has made big progress in the past 5 years in using supercomputers and sets out eth scale of investment needed for Europe to match its main competitors and become a world leader in supercomputing.

In Horizon 2020, the Commission will invest €700 million through the Public-Private Partnership on High Performance Computing (HPC). The newly launched projects and centres of excellence will receive €140 million in Commission funding to address challenges such as increasing the energy efficiency of HPC systems or making it easier to program and run applications on these complex machines.

Simulations and numerical experiments performed on HPC systems will give us a better insight into how gases and liquids flow (for instance the blood flow in our body, but also the air flow around cars, ships and airplanes, the patterns in cloud formations or the plankton transport in oceans). We will also deepen our understanding of climate change, the human brain, new materials, earthquake dynamics and seismic wave propagation, or study extreme events such as collision of stars in deep space.

A study also published today shows that Europe has made big progress in the past 5 years in using supercomputers to advance science and economic growth; with an additional investment of €3.3 billion over the 5 years to 2020, Europe could match its main competitors and become a world leader in supercomputing.

Europe is narrowing the gap with supercomputers in the U.S., China and Japan. In November 2010, only 9 of the world's 50 most powerful supercomputers were located in Europe; that figure has since more than doubled to 19. However, only one EU-based machine in Forschungszentrum Juelich (FZJ) in Germany features in the top 10.

European HPC investment is producing excellent returns-on-investment for science and industry. According to this study, based on 143 European HPC projects that generated financial returns, each euro invested on HPC on average returned €867 in income and €69 in profits.

Current estimates of public and private investments for Europe to achieve world leadership in HPC by 2020 are some additional €3.263 billion in 5 years (2016 to 2020) or €5.271 billion in 7 years (2016 to 2022) - roughly an additional €500 million to €750 million per year.

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