The European Commission wants two prototypes of supercomputers by 2020, one of which should be in the top three in the world in terms of computing power. Europe would be lagging behind in the HPC area. In addition, there will be a cloud service for scientific research.
The European Commission does not provide details about the desired supercomputers, but during the announcement, Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for the Digital Market, complained that Europe no longer plays a major role in the Top500 of supercomputers. “Globally, the US, China, Japan, Russia and India are making great strides,” reads an accompanying document. Europe would be lagging behind due to a lack of investment in high performance computing, while there is a need to use exascale computing for research purposes.
In addition, the European Commission announced the ‘European Open Science Cloud’ or EOSC. This should give the 1.7 million scientists in the European Union and eventually 70 million Europeans working in the technology sector access to a common platform for the storage, analysis and management of scientific data. Development should start this year. Among other things, the platform must ensure interoperability of protocols and specifications, which according to scientists is still a barrier to the sharing and reuse of research data.
In addition, it must end the fragmentation of scientific data infrastructure between countries and institutes. In 2017, all data resulting from research funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 initiative should be made freely available. Once the public sector gains access, not all access to the data will be free, the European Commission predicts. The EOSC will also have an intellectual property management system and a payment option.
To support the cloud service, there will be new infrastructure that, among other things, should speed up the sharing of large amounts of data between countries. This European Data Infrastructure will not only consist of fast connections, but also include supercomputing capabilities and take care of the storage.
The initiative would cost 6.7 billion euros, the European Commission estimates. Of this money, 2 billion would come from the European pot of the Horizon 2020 initiative. The remaining 4.7 billion euros must be made available over a period of five years from a combination of private and public parties. 3.5 billion euros of this money should go to infrastructure and 1 billion euros to Europe-wide research into quantum technology. This initiative for quantum computers is due to start in 2018.