IT4Innovations has joined the EuroCC project, the objective of which is to establish the National Competence Center in high-performance computing (HPC) and implement supporting activities in this field focused on industry, public administration, and academia. The project is aimed not only at sharing knowledge and expertise in HPC across Europe but also to reinforce the technological independence and competitiveness of the EU.
In order to enable the European Union to rank among the world's leaders in supercomputing technologies, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking was established in 2018, marking the onset of a new era of a single pan-European strategy for the development and deployment of HPC technologies in research, industry, and society. By facilitating closer coordination at the level of infrastructure and resource allocation, technology development, and the development of advanced software, EuroHPC set out to build a sustainable and globally competitive European HPC ecosystem. However, it has become clear that the level of HPC technology utilization varies considerably across the EU member states. Generally all over Europe, a consistently high level of knowledge and expertise in the field of HPC as well as in other related fields such as data analysis and processing and artificial intelligence is missing. In order to eliminate these major shortcomings and barriers to more massive deployment of HPC technologies in real life, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking has approved funding of a project to establish a pan-European network of HPC Competence Centers. The project is titled EuroCC, and the function of the National HPC Competence Center for the Czech Republic is held by IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center at VSB – Technical University of Ostrava.
With a total budget amounting to EUR 57 million, the international EuroCC project brings together 33 European countries. Approximately half of the funding to support the creation of each competence center is being provided by Horizon 2020, the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, while the other half will come from each individual country. The first phase of the project will last for two years and started officially with the launch of the EuroCC project on 1st September 2020. Within the project, IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center will first undertake an audit of HPC competencies and potential industrial outreach, identifying available expertise and knowledge gaps in the Czech Republic in order to subsequently fill these gaps. “The EuroCC project aims at establishing a pan-European network of National HPC Competence Centers to increase HPC knowledge. These centers will support academia, public administration, and industry, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, and promote the use of available knowledge, expertise, and HPC resources in Europe to them,” explains Tomáš Karásek, the project coordinator for the Czech Republic from IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center at VSB-TUO.
Simultaneously with the launching of the EuroCC project, the CASTIEL project has been launched, bringing together several selected supercomputing centers to provide coordination support. While EuroCC coordinates HPC expertise within each member state, CASTIEL will lead activities to promote interaction and the exchange of expertise across the entire EuroCC network. CASTIEL aims at developing a pan-European competency map that will catalog both available resources and knowledge gaps across all EuroCC competence centers and provide expert support, courses, training, and workshops in order to minimize the differences among the member states as well as to increase overall level of HPC technology adoption across Europe. It will also provide knowledge and expertise essential to meet HPC needs in industrial research and development, which would include mentoring by the centers and international meetings bringing together HPC technology users to present their successful case studies and best practices. These meetings will enable not only better understanding and addressing of specific needs of industrial HPC users but also significant support for small and medium-sized enterprises in terms of evaluating the benefits of investing into HPC technologies and resources.
This project has received funding from the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 951732. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and Germany, Bulgaria, Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, Republic of North Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro.