Today the Barcelona Supercomputing Center presented a big data roadmap that it has coordinated on behalf of the European Commission. As part of the RETHINK Big Project, the presentation was given as part of the Big Data Congress and BSC used it to highlight the need for Europe to carry out research on new solutions for hardware and software for big data use.
The RETHINK big Project is a 2-year Collaborative Support Action funded by the European Commission in order to write the European Roadmap for Hardware and Networking optimizations for Big Data. This industry-driven project has been led by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and includes large industry partners (including ARM and THALES), SMEs and academia (University of Manchester, EPFL, etc.). The RETHINK big Roadmap identifies business opportunities from 89 in-depth interviews with European industry stakeholders in the area of Big Data and predicts the future technologies that will disrupt the state of the art in Big Data processing in terms of hardware and networking optimizations. Moreover, it presents coordinated technology development recommendations (focused on optimizations in networking and hardware) that would be in the best interest of European Big Data companies to undertake in concert as a matter of competitive advantage.
The roadmap drawn up as part of the project emphasizes that Europe is currently at a disadvantage in terms of leadership in software and hardware design: “The European ecosystem is highly fragmented while media and internet giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Apple […] are designing their own infrastructures from the ground up,” the study states. “European companies that are not closely considering hardware and networking technologies as a means to cutting cost and offering better future services run the risk of falling further and further behind.” Such improvements in hardware should reduce both production costs and energy consumption.
A part of the study, the project team conducted a survey on the willingness of European IT companies to innovate and try out new hardware structures. The survey results revealed that large telecommunications companies are very cautious when adopting new technologies and prefer to work with established standards. However, smaller enterprises show a greater will to take risks and to invest in new hardware, provided that they can afford to.
The roadmap was presented by Paul Carpenter, Senior Researcher at BSC and member of the RETHINK big editorial team. He pointed out the steps and opportunities that RETHINK big has put forward as ways for the EU to increase its leadership in the sector. These include “stimulation of research into new hardware architectures for application in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and encouraging hardware and software experts to work together for co-design of new technologies.”