European Union to spend €1 billion on supercomputing strategy

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It is a tough race and today the EU is lagging behind: "we do not have any supercomputers in the world's top-ten", Andrus Ansip, European Commission VP for the Digital Single Market, said.

The European Commission is proposing that the sum be allocated for the systems in the upcoming EU budget, with the aim of building two "world class" "pre-exascale" machines capable of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second, and another two mid-range machines in development.

The European Union (EU) informed today it expects to invest one billion euros in the development of supercomputers, initiative it expects to extend until 2020.

"With the EuroHPC (European High-Performance Computing) initiative we want to give European researchers and companies world-leading supercomputer capacity by 2020 - to develop technologies such as artificial intelligence".

The four computers that result from this first phase will be made available to businesses and research groups across Europe, said the Commission. Among other problems this creates, this lack of independence threatens users' data privacy, protection, and claims to ownership.

The EC plan san investment of 486 million euros, to which will be added a similar amount contributed by 13 European states (France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia and Switzerland). Overall, around Euro 1 billion of public funding would be invested by 2020, and private members of the initiative would also add in kind contributions.

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The resulting systems will be shared by EuroHPC states, which now consist of France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Greece and Croatia. "They can help us to develop personalised medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more efficiently".

European scientists and industry risk yielding secrets or sensitive information as they increasingly process data outside the EU to perform tasks in the absence of the best supercomputers, the commission said.

"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 or in nuclear simulations".

According to Brussels, the machines will also help to predict the routes of hurricanes and to simulate earthquakes.

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking will operate in 2019 to 2026. Other members can join this cooperation at any moment, provided their financial contribution.

It predicts that with the use of a supercomputer, vehicle production cycles could be reduced "from 60 months to 24 months".