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Framework Partnership Agreement in European low-power microprocessor technologies

Proposals should address the following points:

  • The general and specific objectives of the partnership;
  • The related research and innovation roadmap for the development of innovative low-power Processing Units: functional and non-functional requirements; architectural aspects; firmware and system software; boards and blades; power efficiency options; performance measurement metrics; handling of different technology generations, role of open-source hardware and open-source software, building and demonstrating a machine prototype including TRL and size targets for the machine prototype;
  • The initial consortium which will implement the initiative, and its governance structure;
  • The consortium's perspectives of building microprocessor technologies (i.e. today's solutions and their perspectives; the industrial players; a strategy for building up the European approach);
  • The ability of the consortium to seize exploitation opportunities, including the market and business perspectives (targeted market segments and conditions for successful market introduction, representative HPC, cloud, big-data and emerging benchmarks/applications);
  • Links to the implementation of the European HPC strategy: how does the proposal contribute to the strategy, how does it relate to the other activities of the strategy such as the extreme scale demonstrators, the development of the pre-exascale machines, and ultimately how will it lead to the development of an exascale machine based on European technology to be procured in the period 2022-2023;
  • Quantified targets and Key Performance Indicators to assess the expected progress over time;
  • The way the consortium will foster complementarities, and synergies with relevant national, regional and European research and innovation programmes, including structural funds addressing smart specialisation. The consortium should include an indicative financial plan that combines different sources of financing for the different parts of the FPA activities;
  • The commitments made by the consortium members, which would be complementary to EU/national contributions.

In the Communication one the European Cloud Initiative (COM(2016) 178 final), the EC announced its aim to support, together with the EU Member States and European industry, the creation of a world-class European High Performance Computing (HPC) and Big Data ecosystem built on two exascale computing machines, which would rank in the first 3 places of the world. One of the specific objectives stated in the Communication is to ""foster an HPC ecosystem capable of developing new European technology such as low power HPC chips"".

The objective of the Call is to establish a stable and structured partnership between the EC and the institutions and organisations who commit themselves to establish, maintain and implement a strategic research and innovation roadmap for building European low-power microprocessor technologies underpinning the build-up of future machines for exascale-class HPC, big data and emerging applications. A co-design approach is necessary to bridge the gap between suppliers and users to develop new components adapted to real application needs. The partnership will be set up through a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA)[[Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 of 29 October 2012, Article 178. See also article 18(7) of the Rules for Participation.]] which will cover the full initiative in order to enable the completion of the research and innovation roadmap within the context of the agreement.

The consortia responding to the call must include manufacturers of microelectronic components and may include research institutes, universities, foundations, SMEs as well as other organisations that are necessary for the development of a European low-power processing unit. The Framework Partnership Agreement shall specify the common objectives, the nature of the actions planned, and the procedure for awarding specific grants.

To support the initiative this Framework Partnership Agreement will be the basis for concluding specific grant agreements. The specific grant agreements are expected to be signed in 2018 and 2020. The overall EC contribution to the initiative in Horizon 2020 is expected to be around EUR 120 million, subject to several factors such as budget availability, quality of proposals and performance of the action.

  • Strengthening the competitiveness and leadership of the European industry & science, in particular the European technology supply, in low-power microprocessor technologies for HPC, Big-Data and other emerging applications.
  • Potential for European microprocessor technology with drastically better performance/power ratios compared to current offerings for HPC, Big-Data and emerging applications.
  • Covering important segments of the broader and/or emerging HPC and Big-Data markets