Poland joins int'l programme to develop supercomputers

HPC systems (High-Performance Computing) are key instruments in the development of research and innovation in the digital era Maciej Kulczyński

Poland has joined an international initiative, which aims to create a European exascale computer system for processing enormous amounts of data.

A declaration to this effect was signed by Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin last week, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) is to enable European Union countries to develop state-of-the-art exascale supercomputers and compete with global leaders in this field, such as the USA, China and Japan. The EuroHPC programme will start operating in 2019.

"Poland's accession to the EuroHPC will not only promote the Polish science on the international stage and improve the quality of research, but it can also have positive effects on the Polish economy," the Ministry of Science and Higher Education wrote.

HPC systems (High-Performance Computing) are key instruments in the development of research and innovation in the digital era. The large-scale calculations include modelling and simulation, advanced data analysis and visualisation, which are used for data processing in many applications - scientific, medical, industrial and business. They are also used in the public sector, for example, in research on climate and natural disasters, or cybersecurity, the statement read.

According to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the initiative will be based on two main pillars. The first will involve the purchase of HPC and data infrastructure, and then the commissioning, operating and providing of access to this infrastructure for public and private users. The second pillar will focus on research and innovation and will consist of creating software and applications for HPC systems and developing advanced digital skills to make the most of the exascale computers.

The ministry also announced that EuroHPC will take the legal form of a so-called joint venture, financed from European and national funds.

The Declaration on EuroHPC was signed by seven Member States (France, Spain, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Portugal and Italy) on March 23, 2017, during the Digital Technologies Day in Rome. Later, the countries of Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Cyprus joined the undertaking, and recently, Poland.

The EU financial contribution, according to the present multiannual budgetary framework, is to amount to EUR 486 million. This budget will be matched by a similar amount from the participating countries. The private entities should also provide in-kind contributions, the ministry said.