Eight sites for supercomputing centres have been selected across the EU to host the first European supercomputers. They will support Europe’s researchers, industry and businesses in developing new applications in a wide range of areas, from designing medicines and new materials to fighting climate change.
In a major step towards making Europe a top supercomputing region globally, the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking – EuroHPC has selected 8 sites for supercomputing centres located in 8 different Member States to host the new high-performance computing machines. The hosting sites will be located in Sofia (Bulgaria), Ostrava (Czechia), Kajaani (Finland), Bologna (Italy), Bissen (Luxembourg), Minho (Portugal), Maribor (Slovenia), and Barcelona (Spain). They will support the development of major applications in domains such as personalised medicine, drug and material design, bio-engineering, weather forecasting, and climate change. In total, 19 of the 28 countries participating in the Joint Undertaking will be part of the consortia operating the centres. Together with EU funds, it represents a total budget of € 840 million. The exact funding arrangements for the new supercomputers will be reflected in hosting agreements that will be signed soon.
In today’s world, high-performance computing capabilities are crucial in generating growth and jobs but also for strategic autonomy and innovation in any field. The range of supercomputing uses is vast. It can, for example, forecast the evolution of local and regional weather patterns and predict the size and paths of storms and floods, making it possible to activate early warning systems for extreme weather events. It is also used in designing new medicines, solving complex physics equations that model the molecular processes and interactions of a new drug with human tissues. The aviation and automotive industries also use supercomputing to perform complex simulations and test individual components and entire planes and cars. Moreover, as they are vital for running large-scale simulations and for data analytics, supercomputers are an extremely important component in the development of artificial intelligence, and to boost Europe’s strengths in cybersecurity and blockchain.
In the next few months, the Joint Undertaking will sign agreements with the selected hosting entities and their hosting Consortia. These agreements will reflect the way the procurement process for acquiring the machines will work and the respective budget commitments of the Commission and member countries. The supercomputers are expected to become operational during the second half of 2020 for European users from academia, industry and the public sector. All the new supercomputers will be connected to the GEANT high-speed pan-European network, like the existing supercomputers that are part of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE).
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