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To jointly build and share supercomputers, the EU seeks to overtake China and catch up with the United States in 5 years

Joint construction of a supercomputer center isEuropean UnionOne of the successful examples of 27 countries showing the “power of unity”.Through joint construction, the EU has built three of the world’s top 10 supercomputers in five years; Through sharing, the EU hopes that these key facilities can help the United States and China attack each other.ayeWin the competition.

According to the latest global supercomputer “TOP500” ranking, three of the top 10 European supercomputers are located in Finland, Italy and Spain. They were created and added to the list only in 2023. They are the “European Supercomputers” under the European Union (EU) joint project on high-performance computing (EuroHPC JU).

In December last year, the inauguration of Mareñostrum 5 in Barcelona, ​​Spain, meant that all eight supercomputer centers of the first round of the EU joint project were completed. The European Commission says it is “Europe’s greenest supercomputer”, with electricity generated entirely from renewable energy and the heat generated used to heat the entire building.

Before the EU launched the aforementioned joint project in 2018, Europe’s share of the world’s top 500 supercomputers increased from 15% when the list was first released in 1993, according to analysis by ScienceBusiness, a Brussels-based scientific research community reporting platform. Was done. , Compared with the United States, whose share has fallen from 60% to 30%, Europe does not seem to be too nervous.

However, despite China’s numerical threat from not having half the countries on the list initially to now being second only to the United States, Europe is worried about falling behind as the top 10 has long been dominated by the United States and Japan. There has been dominance. , The European Union, which prides itself on its scientific research and development capabilities, has not achieved a corresponding position on the global supercomputer map.

The European Commission has given an example of the importance of supercomputers. Months after the COVID-19 outbreak, supercomputers were able to screen 500 billion molecules for potential drug candidates in just a few weeks. Without this, it could have taken decades.

Not to mention the field of artificial intelligence (AI), which is currently a must for military strategists, and supercomputers are a major arsenal. In addition to medical research and development, Spain’s MareNostrum5 also focuses on the development of large-scale platforms and providing new AI researchers with the training of large-scale language models.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in her annual address last September, noted that MareNostrum5 will accelerate the deployment of science and technology in Europe and help the EU lead the world in establishing responsible, ethical and safe AI. Will enable.

The EU’s supercomputer policy actually began in the mid-2000s. In 2010, a cooperation mechanism was launched to allow domestic researchers to use supercomputers built by France, Germany and other countries across the borders, and the EU provided training and other funding. It was not until a joint project on high-performance computers was proposed in 2018 that bigger ambitions began to take shape.

The plan replaces the previous practice in the EU of “brothers climbing mountains and working together”. Instead, it selects several strongholds scattered within the EU, and the EU and each country jointly spend more money to build computers with more computing power. For example, MareNostrum5’s total funding is 150 million. Euro (about US$160 million), half of which is funded by the EU, and the other half is a partnership between Spain, Portugal and Turkey.invest,

In 2021, the EU Council of Ministers passed a long-term budget that will invest 7 billion euros in supercomputers from 2021 to 2027, of which the EU and member states will each contribute 3 billion euros, and another 1 billion euros will come from the EU. private investment.

Thomas Skordas, Deputy Director of the Executive Committee’s Directorate-General for Information and Communications (DG Connect), told EurActiv in an interview after the launch of Marenostrum5 that the first round of supercomputer investments in the joint project has allowed the EU to increase overall computing power. A 14-fold increase, “putting the EU back on the world map of supercomputers.”

In addition to being located in Spain, Finland and Italy, the first round of EU supercomputer centers are also located in Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Portugal. They will also become the quantum computer base of the EU in the future.

The next phase of the joint project is an exascale supercomputer in Germany and France. Among them, German Jupiter will be supplied with chips by NVIDIA. When Huida Chairman Huang Renxun introduced the capabilities of this supercomputer in November last year, he also mentioned that many countries have begun to pay attention to this AI infrastructure. “National investment in computing power is a new economic law.”

Skodas said the EU’s supercomputers will be interconnected via high-speed networks for the use of domestic researchers. “Thus the EU will establish the most powerful supercomputing infrastructure in the world.”

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