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Supercomputers and Big Data Infrastructure: Europe to Spend €1bn to Nourish Local Industry

siliconreview Supercomputers and Big Data Infrastructure: Europe to Spend €1bn to Nourish Local Industry

The European Union is planning to spend one billion Euros on supercomputers to help with research into creating artificial intelligence and fighting climate change.

Speaking in Brussels on Thursday, Andrus Ansip, European Commission vice-president for the Digital Single Market, said: "Supercomputers are the engine to power the digital economy". It is a tough race and today the EU is lagging behind: we do not have any supercomputers in the world’s top-ten. Mr. Ansip was quoted on Independent.

“With this initiative, we want to give European researchers and companies world-leading supercomputer capacity by 2020 – to develop technologies such as artificial intelligence and build the future’s everyday applications in areas like health, security or engineering,” he said.

The Commission is proposing that the sum be allocated for the systems in the upcoming EU budget, with the aim of building two “world class” “pre-exascale” machines capable of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second, and another two mid-range machines in development, Independent reported.

The research effort will include “the development of the first generation of European low-power microprocessor technology”.

Collectively known as the “Euro HPC infrastructure,” the effort has three motivators. One is the obvious utility of supercomputers. The second is that the Commission has identified a lack of HPC resources within European borders. That scarcity means Euro-boffins head offshore to get the time and grunt they need. The Commission would rather they can stay on the continent, hence the investment.

The third is that, according to an FAQ about the project, “The European HPC technology supply chain is weak and the integration of European technologies into operational HPC machines remains insignificant.” The Commission noted that individual European nations can’t make a market acting alone, so the continental effort is required to both match rivals elsewhere and give local industry a leg-up, The Register reported.

The fastest supercomputer in the world is the Sunway TaihuLight, which is located in China and has over 10 million computer cores.

China holds the top two spots for fastest computers in the world, and Switzerland holds the third, with the U.S. in the fourth, fifth and sixth spots.