EuroHPC will permit the EU and participating countries to coordinate their efforts and share resources with the objective of deploying in Europe a world-class supercomputing infrastructure and a competitive innovation ecosystem in supercomputing technologies, applications and skills.

The Joint Undertaking will pool EU and national resources in High-Performance Computing with the aim of:

  • acquiring and providing a world-class petascale and pre-exascale supercomputing and data infrastructure for Europe's scientific, industrial and public users, matching their demanding application requirements by 2020. This would be widely available to users from the public and private sector, to be used primarily for research purposes;
  • supporting an ambitious research and innovation agenda to develop and maintain in the EU a world-class High-Performance Computing ecosystem, exascale and beyond, covering all scientific and industrial value chain segments, including low-power processor and middleware technologies, algorithms and code design, applications and systems, services and engineering, interconnections, know-how and skills for the next generation supercomputing era.

High-Performance Computing in Europe: the state of play

The computing and data needs of European scientists and industry do not currently match the computation capabilities available in the EU. No EU supercomputer is in the global top 10, and the existing ones depend on non-European technology. This brings an increasing risk for the EU of being deprived of the strategic or technological know-how for innovation and competitiveness. This situation may create problems related to privacy, data protection, commercial trade secrets or ownership of data.

In addition, Europe consumes about 29% of HPC resources worldwide today, but the EU industry provides only ~5% of such resources.

The EU response to the above is to invest together in an ambitious supercomputing infrastructure strategy. The EU’s ambition is to become one of the world leaders in supercomputing.

Firstly, with regards to the infrastructure, EuroHPC will permit to buy and install two pre-exascale machines by 2020, and another 3-4 petascale machines. These machines will be interconnected with the existing national supercomputers and will be made available throughout Europe, to public and private users for developing leading scientific and industrial applications.

Secondly, concerning the innovation ecosystem, EuroHPC investments will benefit the development of the European supercomputing supply industry and many high-end applications. For example, one major target of EuroHPC will be to develop a European low power microprocessor technology that will make Europe autonomous in a technology that is essential for many emerging markets, such as for future driverless cars, data servers or smart phones. Another major target for EuroHPC will be to support the development of leading applications in a large number of social, scientific and industrial domains that would permit the maintenance of Europe’s leadership in existing application sectors. This would develop novel ones in high added-value areas such as personalised medicine, bioengineering or smart cities.

Next steps

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking will support activities through procurement and open Calls in 2019 and 2020, and will initially operate from 2019 to 2026.

The EuroHPC JU foresees the initial co-investment with Member States of about EUR 1 billion, out of which EUR 486 million come from the actions already planned by the Commission in Horizon 2020 and Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programmes in the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). An additional EUR ~422 million will be contributed by private or industrial players in the form of in-kind contributions to the JU activities.

This level of funding will kick-start the activities to address the overall European HPC strategy, mainly: to acquire two pre-exascale machines and several petascale systems by 2020, and R&I actions covering the full HPC ecosystem launched in 2019 and 2020, including the support for HPC Competence Centres. A minimum of EUR 180 million will be dedicated to implement the R&I agenda with indirect actions.

Further funds in the next MFF (under discussion) would allow a full coverage of the HPC strategy, where we expect to have similar support from the Member States to continuing the present EuroHPC JU in the 2021-2028 period, with the already agreed strategic objectives.

These objectives include the acquisition in 2022-2023 of two exascale systems, at least one of them with European technology, one post-exascale system, networking and coordination of HPC Competence Centres, support for the first hybrid HPC / Quantum computing infrastructure in Europe, and coordination with the other digital priorities like Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity and digital skills. The Commission proposal foresees EUR 2.7 billion for HPC in the Digital Europe Programme, complemented with Research and Innovation actions for HPC and Big Data in the Horizon Europe programme.

The Commission has proposed to support EuroHPC in the next MFF with EUR 2.7 billion from the Digital Europe Programme (DEP) and with additional funds from Horizon Europe.

DEP support will focus on large-scale digital capacity and infrastructure building, aiming at a wide uptake and deployment across Europe of critical existing or tested innovative digital solutions. Horizon Europe will focus on R&I needs related to identified digital aspects (including for HPC) and established in the Horizon Europe strategic research and innovation plans. HPC research activities in Horizon Europe will provide the supply of technology and applications for the infrastructure development and capacity-building activities foreseen in DEP.

Additional investments from structural funds (ERDF) will be essential to build national and European supercomputing infrastructure and to co-invest in the next generation (exascale and beyond) and the networking of supercomputing centres and the development of applications, notably in areas of public interest (health, public administration, climate, etc.). Therefore, synergies should be put in place for the deployment and innovation actions funded through DEP, which have a common European Interest or projects with regional relevance jointly funded by DEP and ERDF.

Benefits of the supercomputing

Benefits for citizens

Supercomputing is a critical tool for understanding and responding to complex challenges, for example, simulations to reduce the environmental footprint of industry and society at large, or predicting the impact of severe weather conditions.

Supercomputing is of critical importance: it can provide accurate simulations that predict the evolution of weather patterns, as well as the size and paths of storms and floods. This is key to activate early warning systems to save human lives and reduce damages to our properties and public infrastructures.

Supercomputing is of critical importance: it can provide accurate simulations that predict the evolution of weather patterns, as well as the size and paths of storms and floods. This is key to activate early warning systems to save human lives and reduce damages to our properties and public infrastructures.

For example, one of our biggest problems is to understand and adapt to increasingly damaging effects of climate change: 33% of the world’s GDP is affected by the weather. Every year, extreme weather events have an estimated impact in Europe of EUR 400 billion, affecting around a 5% of the European population and causing about 3000 deaths annually.

Benefits for industry

Supercomputing enables traditional sectors to become more productive and to scale up to higher value products and services.

Supercomputing has a growing impact on industries and businesses by significantly reducing product design and production cycles, accelerating the design of new materials, minimising costs, increasing resource efficiency and shortening and optimising decision processes.

For instance, the European car industry provides jobs for 12 million people and accounts for 4% of the EU GDP. European carmakers are expanding their efforts to build the computing capacity they will need as vehicles digitise and become driverless. In fact, they are now hiring more information technology specialists than mechanical engineers.

Benefits for science

Supercomputing is at the heart of the digital transformation of science. It enables leading-edge research to answer fundamental science questions and make new discoveries and breakthroughs. Today, more than 700 scientific applications depend on HPC.

Supercomputing and Big Data analysis provide scientists with deeper insights into previously unexplored areas and systems of the highest complexity, driving the innovation and discovery of almost all scientific disciplines. Major scientific challenges that HPC help to address include decoding the functioning of the human brain or predicting the development of the Earth’s climate.

Supercomputing is critical for discovering new drugs, and developing and targeting medical therapies for the individual needs and conditions of patients experiencing cancer, cardiovascular or Alzheimer’s diseases and rare genetic disorders.

For example, supercomputing was instrumental for the Chemistry Nobel Prize winners in 2013 to model the complex interactions between different atoms and molecules, combining quantum and classical physics.