Europe to spend €1bn on supercomputers and big data infrastructure

039;Lagging behind': EU invests $1.2bn in supercomputers to compete with China US

While several EU states are investing in the technology, the region is lagging other parts of the world, leading some European researchers and developers to process their data outside the EU.

Ansip said the move will help in the development of technologies, including artificial intelligence and the building of applications for use in areas such as health, security, and engineering. "Supercomputers are the engine to power the digital economy", said Ansip.

The EU will supply half a billion euros for the project (486 million), with the other half coming from member states and "associated countries". As it stands, many scientists process their data outside the European Union because their needs are not matched by the computation time or computer performance available.

"This lack of independence threatens privacy, data protection, commercial trade secrets, and ownership of data in particular for sensitive applications".

The $1.2 billion will also partly go towards "providing and managing access to these supercomputers to a wide range of public and private users".

The EU's contribution to the project, matched by a similar amount from Member States and associated countries, is mainly aimed at speeding up the digitalization of the economy and securing Europe's global competiveness in research and innovation.

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Thirteen countries have signed up so far, including Belgium, France, Croatia, Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Slovenia. "They can help us to develop personalized medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more efficiently".

Gabriel added: "A better European supercomputing infrastructure holds great potential for job creation and is a key factor for the digitisation of industry and increasing the competitiveness of the European economy". It also said it is beneficial for preventing and managing large-scale disasters, specifically noting the paths of hurricanes and quake simulations. We want to finance the development of competitive European High Performance Computing. For example, auto production cycles can be reduced thanks to supercomputers from 60 months to 24 months.

The European Commission has proposed allocating €1bn in the upcoming EU budget to build two supercomputers capable of a quintillion calculations per second, as well as another two mid-range machines.

13 countries have formally signed up to the initiative, launched in March previous year, to develop computers that can perform at least a hundred quadrillion (that's a million billion) calculations per second.

The EuroHPC joint undertaking will be operational in 2019-2026.

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