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Czech Republic to host first pan-European supercomputer

Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech city of Ostrava has been selected by the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC) as one of eight sites that will host the first pan-European high-performance supercomputer.

European supercomputer operational in 2020

In a major step towards ramping up its efforts against the US and China in the “cutthroat” supercomputer race, the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC), a high-performance computing (HPC) initiative supported by the European Union, announced that the supercomputers are expected to become operational during the second half of 2020.

The seven other cities that will host the new high-performance computing machines are Sofia, in Bulgaria, Maribor, in Slovenia, Kajaani, in Finland, Bologna, in Italy, Bissen, in Luxembourg, Minho, in Portugal and Barcelona in Spain. The total budget set for the project is expected to reach 840 million euros.

The machines will be about ten times more powerful than the most powerful supercomputer currently in Europe.

A strategic resource for the future of European industry

According to Emerging Europe, the supercomputers will support the development of major applications in domains such as personalised medicine, drug and material design, bio-engineering, weather forecasting, and climate change. They will provide a framework for Europe to strengthen its position as one of the pioneers of the data-driven economy, says HPC wire.

“These sites will give our researchers access to world-class supercomputers, a strategic resource for the future of European industry,” announced Andrus Ansip, the Vice President of the Digital Single Market.

“They will be able to process their data inside the EU, not outside it. It is a major step forward for Europe to reach the next level of computing capacity; it will help us to advance in future-oriented technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics and data analytics,” he added.

200 quadrillion calculations per second

Supercomputers are used for a wide range of computationally intensive tasks in various fields, including quantum mechanics, weather forecasting, climate research, oil and gas exploration, molecular modeling, and physical simulations, such as simulations of the early moments of the universe, airplane and spacecraft aerodynamics, the detonation of nuclear weapons, and nuclear fusion.

The Summit and Sierra systems of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) currently rank as the first and second most powerful supercomputers in the world. For example, Summit by IBM can perform 200 quadrillion calculations per second, which would take the typical computer tens of years to complete.

The EU has 92 systems in total. 20 in the UK, 18 in France, 17 in Germany and 12 in Ireland. Germany has the best-performing EU supercomputer installation on the list, ranking 7th worldwide.