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Programmes

ICT-05-2017 - Customised and low energy computing (including Low power processor technologies)


a. Research and Innovation Actions

Programming environments and toolboxes for low energy and highly parallel computing: Proposals will provide programming environments and tools optimised for specific application domains of significant economic value, ideally covering the complete software stack from runtime systems to application programming. The solutions proposed will support modern system architectures possibly including those based on heterogeneous processors while allowing for optimization of energy, performance, reliability, time predictability and system cost. All the activities needed in software development should be addressed when relevant; e.g.: remote collaboration, debugging and bug tracking, runtime software analysis. Model-based approaches and reuse and extension of existing platforms, libraries, frameworks and tools are encouraged, resulting ideally in solutions which are practically usable for application development for real-world use cases and provide mechanisms for further future extensions and introduction of new functionalities.

Security by design features allowing applications to be resilient to cyber-attacks are encouraged to be part of the proposed technology, as well as features for energy-aware solutions and for tolerating hardware and software errors while guaranteeing the required service level.

Solutions will be demonstrated in real-life applications through at least two different use cases complementing each other, and will provide significant and measurable improvements over state-of-the-art methods and technologies in productivity, software quality and energy consumption. This should be complemented by appropriate activities to build a community of users to ensure the uptake of the work after the end of the project.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 4 and 6 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

b. Research and Innovation Actions

Low power processor technologies: Proposals will provide innovative processor designs delivering a substantial and measurable improvement over the current state of the art in energy/performance ratio for typical high performance computing and server workloads. The limitations of today's technologies will be addressed, e.g. power density, thermal management, memory access speed and latency, efficient on-chip and off-chip communication. The proposed solutions will ideally include hardware-based security features and may optionally include support for real-time applications e.g. guaranteed execution time.

Proposals are expected to go beyond current semiconductor technologies, but also to take into account the reality of semiconductor market both in the technology and in the business model, providing solutions that can be actually manufactured in volume at reasonable cost, and appropriately addressing intellectual property issues. Consortia will include the required expertise to successfully bring hardware design to the market and to provide real-life application requirements from the targeted markets.

A working prototype, based on real-life applications representative of the targeted markets, will be demonstrated before the end of the project.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 6 and 10 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. No more than one action will be funded.

c. Coordination and Support Actions for structuring and connecting the European academic and industrial research and innovation communities. Activities will include (e.g.) cross-sectorial industrial platform-building, constituency building and consultations, clustering of related projects, and road-mapping for future research and innovation in the area of computing for Cyber-Physical Systems, high performance computing and industrial applications. No more than one action will be funded.

Information and Communication Technologies are becoming a core component of products in all market sectors. The trend towards “Smart Anything Everywhere” must be supported by innovations allowing a very significant reduction of two complementary aspects: the cost and complexity of software development for modern architectures, and the energy footprint of computation and communication.

Software development is one key challenge, because current programming tools do not fully support emerging system architectures. Massively parallel and heterogeneous systems are difficult to program and to optimise dynamically for the multiple conflicting criteria imposed by the application domain like performance, energy efficiency, dependability, real-time response, resiliency, fault tolerance and certifiability.

The targeted markets are cyber-physical systems, industrial and professional applications, Internet of Things, connected smart objects and all the application areas where very low energy consumption is essential and where non-functional requirements like guaranteed performance, high reliability levels or hardware-enforced security may be critical.

A complementary challenge comes from the hardware limitations of today's processor architectures, especially for delivering high computing performance in low power envelopes. This is a serious problem for the development of very promising application areas, e.g. at the convergence between high performance computing, big data and deep learning.

To overcome these limitations, there is the need to develop a new generation of innovative, secure and reliable processors for systems based on highly parallel and heterogeneous architectures. Targeted markets are high performance computing and server workloads where energy efficiency, compact physical size and low power consumption are strong requirements.

For ""a. Programming environments and toolboxes"":

Proposals should address one or more of the following impact criteria, providing metrics to measure success where appropriate:

  • Reinforce and broaden Europe's strong position in low-energy computing by reducing the effort needed to include digital technology inside any type of product or service, including outside the traditional “high-tech” sectors.
  • Availability of software development environments and tools allowing easy development of applications for parallel and heterogeneous architectures. Tools should be usable in realistic use cases, and should significantly increase the productivity in efficiently programming and maintaining advanced computing systems as compared to the state of the art at the time of proposal writing.
  • Higher share of European SMEs and mid-caps in the reference markets, both on the supply and the demand side.

For ""b. Low power processor technologies"":

Availability of a new family of processors with a significantly better energy/performance ratio compared to current offerings, specifically tailored for high-performance and low-power server-side applications.

For ""c. Coordination and Support Actions"":

  • Increased cooperation between industrial and academic communities;
  • Increased synergy and collaboration between projects, high-quality roadmap for future research and innovation activities in the relevant areas.