Ministers, ladies and gentlemen

It is a pleasure to open this session with Minister Fedeli and to welcome you on behalf of the European Commission.

When European leaders signed the Treaties of Rome in 1957, they probably had no idea that microprocessors would be invented just one decade later.

Since then, this amazing technology has invaded almost every device you can imagine. From smartphones and kitchen toasters - to cars, traffic lights and security systems.

They are the engine behind high-performance computing, or HPC.

HPC also has countless applications that have a direct benefit on people's lives:

  • designing and simulating new medical treatments;
  • oil and gas exploration, seismic simulation;
  • designing energy-efficient buildings;
  • and in modern weather forecasting, predicting events like tropical cyclones.

HPC is also a strategic resource for the future of European industry as it turns increasingly digital.

That means industry having access to adequate and available HPC infrastructure.

But not all EU countries are able to build and maintain this infrastructure. At present, the EU does not have any HPC machine in the
world's top 10.

Not yet, anyway.

This is why Europe now has to work together to reach the next level of computing capacity. Other countries are moving fast and we cannot afford to lag behind.

Europe's research community also depends on HPC.

Our aim is for every research centre and project, every researcher, to have access to high-quality supercomputing, storage and data facilities across Europe.

Meeting this challenge will require a lot of coordination, certainly when it comes to the investments needed.

It will require governments to work together to develop the computing infrastructure that Europe needs for the science and research communities, industry, and public sector.

We also need HPC infrastructure to support the European Open Science Cloud. This will allow millions of our researchers to share and analyse data in a trusted environment across technologies, disciplines and borders.

If Europe is to stay ahead in the supercomputing race, it will depend on integrated world-class HPC capability. We have to make that happen.

I hope that this morning's discussions will provide an important contribution towards fulfilling this ambition.