This month the Linux Foundation launched the CHIPS Alliance, which will be home to open source projects related to microprocessors and Systems on a Chip (SoCs). All the early backers — Esperanto Technologies, Google, SiFive and Western Digital — are involved in the development, implementation and application of the open RISC-V processor architecture, which is one of the two architectures selected [1, 2] for the European Processor Initiative (EPI).
EPI and EuroHPC
The EPI project aims to develop the low-power microprocessors and accelerators that eventually will power European exascale supercomputers. To this end, a consortium of 23 European organisations from research and industry has been established, and EUR 120 million is expected to be invested through the Horizon 2020 research programme.
EPI is part of the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU), which aims to acquire and deploy at least two mid-range supercomputers (pre-exascale) by 2020, two world-class supercomputers (exascale) by 2022/2023, and one post-exascale system. The idea is to build a European HPC ecosystem and stimulate European research and innovation in HPC, to put Europe on a par with the USA, China and Japan. The EU will contribute EUR 486 million, the participating countries will add a similar amount, and industry partners will invest more than EUR 400 million, making a total of EUR 1.4 billion.
The EuroHPC JU was recently joined by Sweden, and before that by countries including Denmark, Estonia and Latvia, bringing the number of participating nations to 26.
This pooling of national and EU resources will be the foundation of a supercomputing infrastructure and an innovation ecosystem in supercomputing technologies, applications and skills. As for now, no EU supercomputer is in the global top 10, and the existing ones depend on non-European technology. In addition, Europe consumes about 29% of HPC resources worldwide, but its industry provides only about 5% of such resources.