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HPC consortium to launch in January 2008

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The first stage of Europe’s high-performance computing consortium, PRACE, is to be launched on 1 January 2008.

The consortium will provide researchers in Europe with access to world-class supercomputers that process data at rates of petaflops per second. It will consist of Germany, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Finland, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Eventually, five principal partners will host one of the research infrastructure’s facilities. These partners will also contribute significantly to the funding, which could eventually amount to €400m-€600m after the first five years of operation.

The preparatory phase of this project will begin on 1 January 2008, and will last for two years, with an initial budget of €10m – half of which will be provided by the European commission. This initial phase will establish the PRACE infrastructure as a legal entity by 2010, and will set out strategies for governance, funding, procurement and usage of the facilities. It will also lay the foundations for the technical operations necessary to implement Petaflop/s systems.

So far, many scientific organisations in Europe have shown interest in the initiative, including the European Fusion Development Agreement, the European Space Agency and the European Science Foundation. PRACE will also work with other HPC initiatives, including DEISA, the European Grid Initiative, and HPC-Europa.