Digital Agenda: Plan to make EU the world leader in High-Performance Computing


Brussels, 15 February 2012 – High Performance Computing (HPC) is critical for industries that rely on precision and speed, such as automotive and aviation, and the health sector. Access to rapid simulations carried out by ever-improving super computers can be the difference between life and death; between new jobs and profits or bankruptcy. Hospitals in Germany use HPC to avoid last-minute decisions during childbirth, while analysis of 3D brain imaging through HPC has allowed much earlier diagnosis of disease. HPC has enabled car makers to develop new vehicle platforms in 2 years rather than 5 years, saving the European car industry up to €40 billion. 97 % of the industrial companies that employ HPC consider it indispensable for their ability to innovate, compete and survive.

For these reasons, the Commission today sets out a plan for the EU to reverse its relative decline in HPC use and capabilities. Under this plan the EU will double its investment in HPC (from €630 million to €1.2 billion) and become home to computers that can perform 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (i.e. 1018) operations per second ("exa-scale"), before 2020. Half of the investment would be for development and training and for new centres of excellence, creating thousands of jobs.

Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President responsible for the Digital Agenda, said: "High Performance Computing is a crucial enabler for European industry and for more jobs in Europe. It’s investments like HPC that deliver innovations improving daily life. We’ve got to invest smartly in this field because we cannot afford to leave it to our competitors.” 

Specifically, the Commission's plan will substantially strengthen HPC in Europe by:

  • Strengthening PRACE as the leading pan-European HPC e-infrastructure, pooling national and EU funds to service academic and industrial research
  • Creating a workforce adequately trained in HPC
  • Stimulating the market for HPC in Europe by supporting more acquisitions of HPC systems and services and faster uptake of HPC by industry and SMEs
  • Encouraging Member States to jointly procure leading edge HPC systems in order to share costs
  • Establishing centres of excellence for software in scientific fields like energy, life-sciences and climate
  • Supporting the HPC Industry and research to maintain an independent and state-of-the-art EU supply chain through research and Innovation funding and pre-commercial procurement
  • Working to ensure that the EU HPC industry has fair access to global markets