Cray Joins EU’s Push Toward Exascale Technologies

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Cray acquired the assets of Gnodal in Bristol, U.K. November of last year. From its start with sales and customer-support organizations in Europe, Cray has made significant additions to its R&D staff, its CTO office and other local teams. Acquiring Gnodal demonstrated Cray’s desire to grow this European R&D team, to collaborate and exchange information with other leaders in the European HPC environment as well as continue our push towards exascale technologies.  This collaboration is exemplified by Cray’s recent membership in the European Technology Platform for High-Performance Computing (ETP4HPC).

European Technology Platforms are industry-led forums that collaborate with the European Commission (EC) in Brussels.  As stated in the ETP4HPC website, the platforms provide “a framework for stakeholders to define research priorities and action plans on a number of technological areas.”  ETP4HPC’s stated mission includes helping stimulate Europe’s economy by encouraging widespread use of HPC in both industry and academia. Today, the organization has 56 members, mainly from industry, ranging from small high-tech companies to large international corporations. Its current focus is developing a strategic research agenda for supercomputing in Europe, “while acting as the ‘one voice’ of the European HPC industry in relations with the European Commission and national authorities.”

The EC just started its new funding framework program for research and innovation, called “Horizon 2020.” The program runs from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of €70.2 billion. The EC has an exciting portfolio of R&D actions, including for example, flagship projects like the Human Brain Project (HBP), a 10-year program with a budget of €1 billion that aims to simulate the human brain with supercomputers. The HBP encompasses some of the main European HPC centers, including Cray sites like ETH Zurich/CSCS and the University of Edinburgh/EPCC. Simulating the human brain will require completely different supercomputer architectures than are currently on the market. The HBP recently issued a precommercial procurement call for developing blueprints of future computer architectures for large-scale neuroscientific simulations.

By joining ETP4HPC, Cray reinforces its collaboration with leading academic and industrial partners in Europe, and leverages its work with European customers whose requirements lean toward extreme scale computing. Cray will share its views on the future of HPC in Europe, taking into account its own experiences in other regions of the globe. Being accepted as member of the organization enables Cray to be a part of ETP4HPC’s EU development of exascale technologies and enables Cray to continue to grow in Europe.

Dominik Ulmer, Director of Operations, Europe 

Dominik Ulmer

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