IDC Leads Consortium Awarded Contract to Help Develop Supercomputing Strategy for the European Union

BRUSSELS, Belgium – February 3, 2010 – IDC, working with supercomputing experts from Teratec, France, Daresbury Laboratory, UK, Leibniz-Rechenzentrum, Germany, and Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany, has been awarded a contract by the European Commission to develop a strategic agenda for high performance computing (HPC) in Europe.

The study will provide the research and analysis needed to increase the HPC capabilities available for the advancement of open science and to increase the competitiveness of the European Union in the supply and use of HPC systems. The study has a mandate to look at the key strategic developments in HPC through to 2020, as well as examining the investments, structures, and coordination needed to develop supercomputing e-infrastructures across Europe.

Commenting on the study's purpose and scope, Chris Ingle, associate vice president of Consulting at IDC, said, "This is a critical moment for high performance computing leadership. Europe has been a leader in this field in the past and, with the right investments, can continue to develop a strong HPC industry and benefit from the use of HPC in science and throughout society."

Gabriella Cattaneo, director of Competitiveness & Innovation Policies & Strategies, Europe, at IDC Government Insights, added, "A policy agenda for HPC will help support the European Commission's goal to develop EU ICT infrastructures for e-science, strengthening the European scientific research and high-tech capabilities."

The research contract requires a detailed comparative analysis of HPC investments and funding structures globally, as well as the impact of HPC on scientific and industrial leadership. Earl Joseph, program vice president of IDC's Technical Computing group noted that "HPC investment, and the associated productivity gains and the resulting research leadership from that investment, has become critical in many countries. Although the U.S. and Japan have vied for supercomputing performance leadership over the past few years, other countries are quickly developing their own HPC industries and capabilities in order to increase their economic competitiveness and scientific leadership."

Developing a view of the technologies that are needed for a successful HPC strategy is critical to this project. Steve Conway, research vice president in IDC's Technical Computing group, added, "The link has been firmly established between HPC and scientific and economic advancement. The investments needed for the next generation of HPC systems will be substantial. Deciding on the optimal areas of investment – systems, storage, software, and people skills – that are most valuable to European HPC users, and the wider economy, is critical to the EU's success in developing its HPC agenda. Many countries are installing multiple petascale supercomputers today and are laying the foundation for using exascale systems in a few years."

The study is scheduled to be a seven month contract, which will provide policymakers with an analysis of the HPC industry from 2010-2020, a view on the technology requirements from the HPC industry in 2020, and a strategic agenda for HPC in Europe.

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