Eight new high-performance data centers are to be created in the European Union, equipped with the bloc’s first supercomputers designed to help researchers, industry and companies develop new applications, the European Commission announced on Friday.
The European High Performance Computing Initiative, which has a budget of 840 million euros, has selected eight countries to install supercomputing centres.
Data centre locations will be the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Maribor in Slovenia, Ostrava in the Czech Republic, Barcelona in Spain, Minho in Portugal, Bissen in Luxembourg, Kajaani in Finland and the Italian university city of Bologna.
The first data centres are expected to start up in the second half of 2020 and be connected by a high-speed network, that will enable them to provide computing power to more than 800 scientific and industrial applications.
The new supercomputers would be able to process huge amounts of data in real time. Three of the new machines will be capable of capable of executing more than 150 Petaflops, or 150 million billion calculations per second while the other five will be capable of executing at least 4 Petaflops, or 4 million billion operations per second.
The project is being developed by the EU Commission, the 28 EU Member states as well as various research institutions.
“These sites will give our researchers access to world-class supercomputers that are a strategic resource for the future of European industry,” said Digital Single Market Commissioner Andrus Ansip. Among other things, the EU promises benefits in the healthcare sector, in weather forecasting and climate research, and in cybersecurity.
According to the EU Commission, European researchers are still reliant on computational power from abroad. As part of the effort to ensure the EU’s independence from its American and Chinese rivals the Commission has tasked the Barcelona Supercomputing Center with developing to develop a European chip a ‘Eurochip’ to be used in future supercomputers that will enter service in Europe starting in the middle of the next decade.