EU plans to close the gap in high-performance computing  

The EU will be investing in super computers ©AP Images/European Union-EP  

None of the world's 10 most powerful super computers are currently in the EU, even though our researchers need them to use big data and advance scientific discoveries.

On 3 July MEPs voted in favour of supporting a plan to acquire and develop European high-performance computers that would rank among the world's top three by 2022.

So-called super computers are machines capable of processing one million billion operation per second and are used for anything from artificial intelligence to cryptography and climate modelling. By the early 2020s computers capable of a quntillion (meaning one billion billion) operations per second are expected. No single EU country has the capacity to develop this on its own.

The project for super computers in the EU has been launched by the European Commission. It would run until 31 December 2026 and benefit from €468 in EU funding. In addition countries taking part are expected to contribute the same amount, while the private sector would then also pay €422 million.

Lithuanian S&D member Zigmantas Balčytis, the MEP in charge of steering the plans through Parliament, explained why it was so important: “Unfortunately, the EU has neglected this sector for too long. While some countries, such as US and China, are racing in developing supercomputers, the EU does not possess  even a single supercomputer, which would be among the top 10 in the world."

He also underlined that the EU was underfunding it by €500 million a year compared to countries that are investing heavily in the development of a supercomputing infrastructure.

MEPs will vote on the plans during the plenary session on 3 July.

Soon to be crowned number one  
  • The international race in supercomputing is under way. Summit, America’s latest supercomputer, was unveiled only in June 2018.  
  • With a peak performance of 200 petaflops, or 200,000 trillion calculations per second, Summit more than doubles the top speed of the Chinese TaihuLight, which can reach 93 petaflops.