European Union invests in 'supercomputers'

European Union invests in 'supercomputers'

The European Commission has proposed allocating €1bn in the upcoming EU budget to build two supercomputers capable of a quintillion calculations per second, as well as another two mid-range machines.

Ansip said the move will help in the development of technologies, including artificial intelligence and the building of applications for use in areas such as health, security, and engineering.

"A new legal and funding structure - the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking - shall, acquire, build and deploy across Europe a world-class High-Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure".

The European Commission, hereafter known as the Gaggle of Red-tapers, has unveiled plans for a €1 billion investment in supercomputer infrastructure. This will involve it supporting "the development of European supercomputing technology", including the software that could run on HPC machines, the Commission said. Among other problems this creates, this lack of independence threatens users' data privacy, protection, and claims to ownership.

European officials first detailed the initiative, named EuroHPC, in March 2017 but today is the first time that they've spoken about the project's funding details.

The EU will contribute €486 million via the current Multiannual Financial Framework and the rest of the €1 billion will come from member and associated states.

Thirteen countries have signed up so far, including Belgium, France, Croatia, Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Slovenia.

The EuroHPC joint undertaking will be operational in 2019-2026.

The EU Commission also noted that "high-performance computing is a critical tool for understanding and responding to major scientific and societal challenges, such as early detection and treatment of diseases or developing new therapies based on personalised and precision medicine".

According to the Commission, the aim of the project is to develop Europe into a world leader of supercomputing technology - but it faces stiff competition. HPC is also used for preventing and managing large-scale natural disasters, notably for forecasting the paths which the hurricanes are following or for quake simulations.

When it comes to manufacturing, the European Union is also keen to increase productivity. The planned infrastructure will be jointly owned and operated by its members consisting at first of the countries that have signed the EuroHPC declaration (list below) and private members from academia and industry.

It predicts that with the use of a supercomputer, vehicle production cycles could be reduced "from 60 months to 24 months". Other nations can join, if they give a proportionate financial contribution.

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