News Release

EuroCC and CASTIEL begin second funding phase of initiative to strengthen HPC capabilities across Europe

Grant and Award Announcement

Gauss Centre for Supercomputing

EuroCC Conference 2022

image: During the first phase of EuroCC and CASTIEL, representatives of 32 European national competence centers for high-performance computing met for a four-day conference in Montenegro. view more 

Credit: Slaven Vilus

STUTTGART, Germany — With the start of a new three-year grant, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) has renewed its support of EuroCC and CASTIEL. Together, this pair of projects has been supporting the development of a more consistent standard of expertise in high-performance computing (HPC), high-performance data analytics (HPDA), and artificial intelligence (AI) in supercomputing centers across Europe. Through a variety of complementary activities, the projects are helping to strengthen Europe’s computational research infrastructure, industrial competitiveness, and technological independence.

The High-Performance Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart, one of three German national supercomputing centers within the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing, will continue to coordinate EuroCC and CASTIEL. HLRS is also leading or participating in four newly announced EuroHPC JU Centres of Excellence.

EuroHPC JU Executive Director Anders Dam Jensen welcomed the renewals of EuroCC and CASTIEL, saying, “EuroCC and CASTIEL were two of the first EuroHPC projects to get off the ground. The work of these two projects underpins the mission of the EuroHPC JU by supporting European HPC users and the development of a consistent skills base across Europe. I am very pleased to see these projects continue into their second phase and further the great work they are doing to strengthen our European HPC ecosystem." 

In its first funding period, EuroCC coordinated the establishment of national competence centers (NCCs) for high-performance computing and related technologies in 33 countries. Each NCC performed a thorough review of HPC resources and expertise in its home country, and has served as a central contact point for HPC users and system operators who have questions concerning high-performance computing, high-performance data analytics, or artificial intelligence.

Simultaneously, CASTIEL has enhanced the impact of EuroCC by implementing common standards and facilitating international collaboration and knowledge exchange across the NCC network. These efforts are helping to raise the quality of HPC services continent-wide, including regions where usage of high-performance computing has been slower to develop. CASTIEL has supported numerous training, mentoring, twinning, and workshop activities, and through a web portal called EuroCC Access has created a gateway for representatives of industry, public administration, and academia to find relevant HPC expertise and resources in their home countries.

A kickoff meeting for phase two of the projects will take place at the Filderhalle in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, near Stuttgart, on February 7-9. Representatives from across the NCC network will meet to begin working on new collaborative efforts that will help shape the development of European science and technology in the coming years.

Stronger together

To date, EuroCC and CASTIEL have helped kick off international training collaborations among NCCs that focused on key topics for programming and operating high-performance computing systems. They have also gathered and shared best practices in activities that are important for HPC center management, including project management, data management, and information security. In September, EuroCC also organized a four-day conference in Montenegro that enabled a more intensive exchange of insights and experiences, leading to many new collaborative initiatives across the network and beyond.

One high priority of EuroCC and CASTIEL has been to enhance the NCCs’ ability to support European industry, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This has meant developing understanding of best practices for addressing the unique interests and needs of industrial HPC users. The EuroCC network has also been supporting a third EU-funded project called FF4EuroHPC (also coordinated by HLRS), which awards pilot projects (business experiments) to SMEs interested in testing new applications of simulation, data analytics, or artificial intelligence to improve their business capabilities. The NCCs supported the applications for such pilot projects in their respective countries and in several cases members of the NCCs are supporting the execution of the experiments. These efforts have resulted in success stories that the NCCs can use in outreach to companies in their regions, demonstrating how high-performance computing could help them to develop better products and services.

“During the first funding period of EuroCC and CASTIEL, it quickly became clear that the HPC communities in different countries — at all levels of expertise — have much to gain by discussing their knowledge, experiences, and needs with others, and we were excited to see the enthusiasm for collaboration,” said Dr.-Ing. Bastian Koller, HLRS’s General Manager and the Project Coordinator of EuroCC and CASTIEL. “As these projects enter their second phase, these interactions will lead to further improvements and impressive success stories in the usage of HPC, HPDA, and AI for research and industrial applications across Europe.”

HLRS will lead Centres of Excellence for HPC Applications

In addition to leading EuroCC and CASTIEL, HLRS is a scientific partner in four new EuroHPC JU Centres of Excellence for HPC Applications (CoEs). In contrast to the NCCs of EuroCC, which bundle competences on a regional level, the CoEs gather expertise by sector (such as engineering or biology). Based on collaboration among leading HPC centers, the CoEs will conduct critical research necessary to adapt important computing codes for future exascale systems. Doing so will make it possible to utilize the power of those systems more efficiently, and to answer increasingly complex questions more quickly. HLRS will be involved in the following CoEs:

EXCELLERAT P2 – HLRS will continue as the coordinating center for the second phase of this project, which is scaling important codes for high-tech engineering to larger computing architectures and supporting the technology transfer that will enable their uptake in industry.

HiDALGO2 – HLRS technically manages this project to develop novel methods, algorithms, and software for HPC and HPDA, focusing on systems science applications to address major global challenges.

ChEESE-2P – ChEESE has been developing European flagship codes for upcoming pre-exascale and exascale supercomputing systems, focusing on Earth science fields relevant for the prediction and management of risks associated with earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes.

CEEC – CEEC is a new Center of Excellence that will develop key codes for computational fluid dynamics in preparation for the arrival of exascale supercomputing systems.

From 2018 to 2022, HLRS was involved in FocusCoE, a project that coordinated the strategic collaboration and outreach among the EU-funded Centres of Excellence. This role has now been integrated into CASTIEL 2. Doing so will help to ensure that awareness of the technical achievements of the CoEs is disseminated Europe-wide and that collaboration between CoEs and NCCs happens in a more direct way, increasing their application within research and industry. CASTIEL 2 will also support the release of the CoEs' enhanced HPC, AI, and data analytics applications on the next generation of EuroHPC petascale, pre-exascale and exascale supercomputers, leveraging the reach of the EuroCC network to ensure that HPC users across Europe can access and profit from them.

About the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS)

The High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) was established in 1996 as the first German national high-performance computing center. As a research institution affiliated with the University of Stuttgart and a founding member of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing, HLRS provides computing resources for academic users and industry. HLRS operates state of the art high-performance computing systems and provides advanced training in HPC programming and simulation. The center also conducts research to address key problems facing the future of supercomputing. Among HLRS's areas of expertise are parallel programming, numerical methods for HPC, visualization, cloud computing, high-performance data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Users of HLRS computing systems are active across a wide range of disciplines, with an emphasis on computational engineering and applied science. 

About the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking is a legal and funding entity, created in 2018 and reviewed in 2021 by means of Council Regulation (EU) 2021/1173, with the mission to:

  • develop, deploy, extend and maintain in the EU a world-leading federated, secure and hyper-connected supercomputing, quantum computing, service and data infrastructure ecosystem;
  • support the development and uptake of demand-oriented and user-driven innovative and competitive supercomputing system based on a supply chain that will ensure components, technologies and knowledge limiting the risk of disruptions and the development of a wide range of applications optimised for these systems;
  • widen the use of that supercomputing infrastructure to a large number of public and private users and support the development of key HPC skills for European science and industry.

In order to equip Europe with a world-leading supercomputing infrastructure, the EuroHPC JU has already procured eight supercomputers, located across Europe.

Expert contact

Dr.-Ing. Bastian Koller, High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart. Tel.: +49 711 685-65891.

Press contact

Sophia Honisch, High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart. Tel.: +49 711 685-68038.

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