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EU invests in exascale

This week 16 organisations met at the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre to mark the start of the EuroEXA project and the commencement of the execution in the next stage of EU investment towards realising exascale computing in Europe.

EuroEXA is a program that represents a significant EU investment to innovate across a new platform for computing in its support to deliver exascale computing. Originally the informal name for a group of H2020 research projects, ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe, the EuroEXA project has now announced European investment to further develop exotic computing technologies in its bid to deliver EU based supercomputers.

The project aims to combine several computing technologies into an integrated world-class high-performance computing infrastructure capable of a billion, billion calculations per second - known as an exascale system. This will be available across the EU for scientific communities, industry and the public sector.

John Goodacre, Professor of Computer Architectures at the University of Manchester said ‘To deliver the demands of next generation computing and Exa-Scale HPC, it is not possible to simply optimise the components of the existing platform.  In EuroEXA, we have taken a holistic approach to break-down the inefficiencies of the historic abstractions and bring significant innovation and co-design across the entire computing stack.’

The importance of HPC technology has been highlighted by ministers from nine European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Slovenia) who signed a declaration to support the next generation of computing and data infrastructures. The European project focuses on collaboration between HPC developers and research organsiations to deliver competitive exascale computing technology.

The project has been given €20m in new funding bringing total investment for the project up to a total of €50m for the project which is scheduled to run across four years. This investment made by the European Commission across the EuroEXA group of projects supports research, across applications, system software, hardware, networking, storage, liquid cooling and data centre technologies.

Funded under H2020-EU.1.2.2. FET Proactive (FETHPC-2016-01) as a result of a competitive selection process, the consortium partners bring a rich mix of key applications from across climate/weather, physics/energy and life-science/bioinformatics. The project objectives include to develop and deploy an ARM Cortex technology processing system with Xilinx Ultrascale+ FPGA acceleration at peta-flop level by 2020, it is hoped that this will enable an Exa-Scale procurement for deployment in 2022/23.

Peter Hopton, Founder of Iceotope and dissemination lead for EuroEXA said: ‘This is a world class program that aims to increase EU computing capabilities by 100 times, the EuroEXA project is truly an exceptional collection of EU engineering excellence in this field. We have all set our ultimate goal – to enable the power-efficient delivery of the world’s biggest supercomputer.’

As part of the H2020 competitive process, the 16 organisations of EuroEXA have been selected for their technologies and capabilities from across 8 Countries: ARM - UK, ICCS (Institute Of Communication And Computer Systems) - Greece, The University Of Manchester - UK, BSC (Barcelona Supercomputing Center) - Spain, FORTH (Foundation For Research And Technology Hellas) - Greece, The Hartree Centre of STFC - UK, IMEC - Belgium, ZeroPoint Technologies - Sweden, Iceotope - UK, Synelixis Solutions Ltd - , Maxeler Technologies – Greece, Neurasmus - Netherlands, INFN (Istituto Nazionale Di Fisica Nucleare) - Italy, INAF (Istituto Nazionale Di Astrofisica) - Italy, ECMWF (European Centre For Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) - International, And Fraunhofer - Germany.

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