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The European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU)
Press release26 June 2024European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking3 min read

Winners Announced for the Large AI Grand Challenge

The European Commission announced the winners of the Large AI Grand Challenge: four innovative AI start-ups from Europe will share the prize of €1 million and 8 million computational hours, advancing Europe's leadership in AI development.

ai challenge

Today, Commissioner Thierry Breton awarded the winners of the Large AI Grand Challenge in a ceremony held at Berlaymont in Brussels.

The winners are:

  • Lingua Custodia (France) - A fintech company specialising in AI and Natural Language Processing(NLP) for the finance sector, aiming at enhancing the fintech sector operations with solutions designed to achieve speeds five times faster than current systems.
  • Unbabel (Portugal) - A language technologies company headquartered in Lisbon, combining AI and human translation for multilingual support, encompassing all 24 official EU languages
  • Tilde (Latvia) - Experts in language technologies, offering machine translation and AI-powered chatbots, targeting Balto-Slavic languages spoken by 155 million individuals within the EU and candidate countries
  • Textgain (Belgium) - An AI start-up enabling companies and governments to gain insights from unstructured data through predictive text analytic and focusing on the analysis of hate speech, an area of significant concern that has historically received limited attention.

These four start-ups will share a total prize of €1 million and an allocation of 8 million GPU hours on two of the world-leading EuroHPC JU supercomputers, LUMI and LEONARDO. The awarded supercomputing time will be essential for developing their large-scale AI models over the next 12 months and will enable them to reduce training times from years to weeks. Following this period, the winners are expected to release their developed models under an open-source license for non-commercial use or publish their research findings.

All these initiatives underscore the extensive innovation and strategic focus within AI development in Europe, addressing a wide spectrum of areas from linguistic inclusivity, societal challenges, and efficiency in different sectors.

The Large AI Challenge received a total of 94 proposals, showcasing the competitive nature of Europe’s AI landscape.

On the top of this competition organised by the Commission, and given the huge success of the initiative,  EuroHPC JU allocated additional compute time to the supercomputer MareNostrum 5 hosted by Barcelona Supercomputing Centre. Therefore, 800,000 computational hours will be allocated to the 5th ranked proposal from Multiverse Computing, a quantum computing start-up focusing in enhancing the energy efficiency and speed of large language models.


In November 2023, the Large AI Grand Challenge was launched  to foster European innovation and excellence in large-scale AI models.

The Large AI Grand Challenge is a collaboration led by the EU-funded project AI-BOOST, together with the European Commission and the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking.

This initiative not only highlights the European Union’s commitment to fostering technological innovation but also sets the stage for a collaborative future where European AI talent and resources are optimally harnessed This initiative aligns with the GenAI4EU initiative, which aims to create AI solutions that empower strategic sectors within the EU and the public sector.

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) is a legal and funding entity created in 2018 to enable the European Union and EuroHPC participating countries to coordinate their efforts and pool their resources with the objective of making Europe a world leader in supercomputing.  

In order to equip Europe with a world-leading supercomputing infrastructure, the EuroHPC JU has already procured nine supercomputers, located across Europe.  

No matter where in Europe they are located, European scientists and users from the public sector and industry can benefit from these EuroHPC supercomputers via the EuroHPC Access Calls to advance science and support the development of a wide range of applications with industrial, scientific and societal relevance for Europe.

In particular, the AI and Data-Intensive Applications Access Call is intended to serve small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups, requiring access to supercomputing resources to perform artificial intelligence and data-intensive activities.

Recently reviewed by means of Council Regulation (EU) 2024/1732, the EuroHPC JU received a new mandate to develop and operate AI factories. These comprehensive open AI ecosystems centered around EuroHPC supercomputing facilities will support the growth of a highly competitive and innovative AI ecosystem in Europe.


Publication date
26 June 2024
European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking