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New Competence Centre to Fast-Track Academic and SME Participation in EU Supercomputing Initiative

The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), Ireland’s high-performance computing authority, today, Wednesday 2nd September launched Ireland’s Euro-HPC Competence Centre, which is hosted at ICHEC.

ICHEC analyzes complex data to provide intelligent solutions that deliver effective policy change, providing solutions to some of the toughest challenges across public, academic and enterprise sectors in Ireland. 1 September 2020 marked the official start of a Pan-European initiative agreed by the European Council in 2018, to invest in creating a European network of national high-performance computing (HPC) competence centers to develop World-Class European supercomputing capabilities. The project EuroCC will run for a 2-year period with a total budget of €57 million. Ireland joined the European HPC initiative in September 2018.

The activities of the Irish Euro-HPC Competence Centre will include;

  • An Academic Flagship; to accelerate the preparedness of researchers seeking access to the European Supercomputing Network.
  • SME Accelerator Programme; to enable the adoption of new technology to improve business processes.
  • Performance Engineering; ICHEC computer scientists will support next generation performance engineering for both academic flagship and SME Accelerator programmes.

Commenting on Ireland’s involvement in the EuroHPC Competency Centre project, Professor J-C Desplat, Director ICHEC said;

“[For Ireland to have a truly world-class competency in high-performance and supercomputing the significance of being part of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking is marked. This is a Europe-wide approach to HPC investment by facilitating closer coordination of all participating states in the realms of infrastructure, technology development, and the development of advanced software. Ireland, through ICHEC, will gain access for researchers and SMEs to a coordinated, integrated, high level of expertise across Europe in high-performance computing and related disciplines for science and industry, such as high-performance data analytics, classical simulation, and artificial intelligence.”

Commenting on the work already undertaken by ICHEC to support Irish researchers access the most powerful European computing systems through the Euro HPC Academic Flagship, Dr Elise Jennings, Senior Computational Scientist, ICHEC said;

“This is an exciting opportunity for Ireland to take a central role in defining the European HPC ecosystem envisioned by the EuroHPC JU. With this launch of the new competence center at ICHEC we are proud to bring our HPC expertise to the EuroCC network.

Already we have hit the ground running with the start of the Academic Flagship programme to engage Irish academic and public sectors. We issued a call for proposals for this Flagship programme which was open in July and August 2020. Overall the scientific and technical standards of the proposals were very high. ICHEC received 13 submissions in total, distributed across 17 universities/institutes across Ireland, UK, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Japan and the USA. This is a high submission rate for a call this size with good representation from HEIs across Ireland. We will be announcing the successful proposals in the coming weeks. This level of support bodes well for the Competency Centre and we are looking forward to getting the SME Accelerator operational now that the EU Competency Centre project has been formally  announced.”

Supercomputing enables researchers and performance engineers to carry out experiments and run data models at extreme speeds and is used across areas from quantum mechanics, weather forecasting and climate research to molecular modelling.

Euro-HPC encompasses 33 participating European states and is being coordinated by GCS member HLRS (High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart). The 33 participating European states will build a sustainable and globally competitive European HPC ecosystem. It will serve research and science in academia while also supporting industries in European member states with a particular focus on encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to turn to and exploit the advantages of HPC.

On the significance of the EuroHPC project for Ireland, J.-C. Desplat said; “Ireland understands the imperative of fully leveraging strategic initiatives such as EuroHPC, which have the potential to position the Country’s very best researchers on a level playing field with their peers in the EU, and beyond.”

ICHEC has the ambition, through its Academic Flagship programme, to provide an effective gateway to Europe’s most powerful supercomputers for researchers. “By contributing expert technical knowledge to enable full use of these complex resources. We are proud to play our part in assisting them realise their ambitions on the world-stage,” Desplat concluded.

source: ICHEC

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