High-performance computing (HPC) is the use of super computers and parallel processing techniques for solving complex computational problems. In the digital era, it is a strategic resource for Europe's future.

High Performance Computing, enabling the processing of large amounts of data,  is at the core of major advances and innovation in the digital age. 

Given the the neccessity of dealing with these large amounts of data:

  • Industry and SMEs are increasingly relying on the power of supercomputers to work on innovative solutions, reduce cost and decrease time to market for products and services;
  • Modern scientific discovery requires very high computing power and capability: for example, to accelerate genome sequencing by two orders of magnitude and enable scientists to crack cancer diseases.

Thus, the nature of computing is changing with an increasing number of data-intensive critical applications: by 2020, 25 billion devices will be connected and will generate over two zettabytes of traffic every year.

The next generation of supercomputers, called exascale supercomputers, will be executing one trillion (1018) operations per second and will be available around 2022. Pre-exascale systems will have close to exascale performance and will be available on the market around 2020.

The European Strategy

European Cloud initiative

With the communication "European Cloud initiative - Building a competitive data and knowledge economy for Europe", the European Commission set the objective to provide researchers, industry, SMEs and public authorities with access to world-class supercomputers unleashing their innovation and transformation potential.

The strategy aims to develop a further European state of the art in computing and data storage capacity needed to excel in data-driven science and in the digital economy. The ultimate goal is to place Europe among the current leaders in this fields.

Due to an upcoming technology paradigm shift in high-performance computing (the transition from petascale, to exascale) a window of opportunity is opening for Europe. Pooling and rationalising efforts at the European Union level is essential to reach exascale capabilities and place a European supercomputer among the world top three by 2022.

The European Commission will complement the European Data Infrastructure under the European Cloud initiative with a long-term and large-scale flagship initiative on quantum technologies. The objective is to unlock the full potential of quantum which holds the promise to solve computational problems beyond current supercomputers.

By improving Europe's competitiveness and cohesion, the European Cloud initiative will help developing further the Digital Single Market in Europe.

More information is available on the European Open Science Cloud webpage.

Check the applications of High-Performance Computing and what the EC does within its HPC strategy in this factsheet and the detailed planning of HPC-related activities for the period 2018-2020 in Horizon 2020.

The renewed European HPC strategy

The Commission identified the need for an EU-level policy in High-performance computing (HPC) to optimise national and European investments, addressing the entire HPC ecosystem.

On 23 March 2017, during the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the Treaty of Rome, a group of Member States signed the EuroHPC declaration. They agreed to work together and with the EC in the context of a multi-government agreement to acquire and deploy, by 2022/2023, a pan-European integrated exascale supercomputing infrastructure: EuroHPC.

The key pillars

The realisation of the European High-performance computing (shortly, EuroHPC) strategy will be based on key pillars addressing:

  • an ambitious High-performance computing (HPC) research and innovation agenda for the development of hardware and software components, systems and applications: developing the next generation of key HPC technologies and systems towards exascale and post exascale;
  • infrastructure development and acquisition of world class supercomputing and data infrastructures and their interconnection (procurement in 2020-2021 of two pre-exascale HPC machines, in 2022-2023 of two full exascale HPC machines and by 2026-2028 of two post-exascale machines);
  • support to applications and skills development;
  • federation of national and European High-performance computing (HPC) resources through an HPC and Big Data service infrastructure facility;
  • support to High-performance computing (HPC) Centres of Excellence (CoEs) for developing, preparing and optimising HPC codes and applications for future exascale and post-exascale systems in co-design;

Taking a long-term perspective, Europe has to address the challenge of post-exascale by supporting the emergence of hybrid High-performance computing (HPC) / quantum computing infrastructures to enable quantum-classical hybrid computing models.

Financing

The EU investment until the end 2020 is close to EUR 1 billion while another EUR 4 billion are foreseen under the next MFF. EU level financing will support collaboration in R&D and will ensure cross border access to foremost High-performance computing (HPC) and data infrastructure.

Digital4science platform

If you want to engage and network with researchers, join the Digital4science platform!