Here, we find out about the desire for Europe to become a world leader in the field of supercomputing, with comment from Roberto Viola, Director-General of DG CONNECT at the European Commission
in June 2019, eight sites for supercomputing centres were selected throughout the European Union (EU) to host the first-ever European supercomputers. This ambitious endeavour aims to support Europe’s researchers, industry and businesses to develop new applications in many areas, such as combatting climate change or designing medicines and new materials. The location of the eight sites are Barcelona (Spain), Bologna (Italy), Sofia (Bulgaria), Ostrava (Czechia), Kajaani (Finland), Bissen (Luxembourg), Minho (Portugal) and Maribor (Slovenia). (1)
In his blog, Roberto Viola, Director-General of DG CONNECT at the European Commission, underlines the desire for Europe to become a world leader in the field of supercomputing. He says that when the computers are installed in 2020, they will be the result of a dream that the Member States and EU share, having funded the project to the tune of €900 million. In his own words, he provides his thoughts on how these new supercomputers will give Europe a massive boost.
“Combined, these new supercomputers will boost European computing by four to five times compared to current levels, a shot in the arm that will make Europe the world’s leading supercomputing power by 2020. But it will do much than just lift us up the global ranking: it is also expected to generate investment of more than €10 billion in applications made possible or improved by the increase computing power, with benefits for all areas of industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises. The EU-funded Fortissimo project (2) has already given many such enterprises in a range of fields the opportunity to use supercomputers to make major discoveries and advances.”
Roberto Viola also says that being the number one region in the world in this vein sends a clear message about Europe’s ambitions. While this is not an end in itself, it allows Europe to achieve so much. Today, supercomputers are already behind some of the most ground-breaking applications, in almost any area you can imagine, such as advanced research on cancer, personalised medicine, environmental protection and road safety as well as cybersecurity and natural disasters’ prediction. He goes on to explain the many opportunities that supercomputing will present, in his own words, as this article draws to a close.
“But the additional computing power these new sites will bring leads to a wealth of new opportunities to really push the boundaries of what we can achieve. These supercomputers will be accessible to any private or public users in the European Union. They will serve over 800 application areas including in critical domains such as artificial intelligence and big data analytics, cybersecurity and blockchain, accelerating the digital transformation of our economy and society. They will support Europe’s researchers and industry in developing new applications and products in many areas, such as personalised medicine, new drugs, material design, bioengineering and manufacturing, weather forecasting, understanding climate change and many, many more.” (3)