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Concerted action for the European HPC CoEs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FocusCoE (Concerted action for the European HPC CoEs)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

High Performance Computing (HPC) has been recognised by the European Union as a key component of the digital single market strategy. The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking is being created to support an integrated European HPC ecosystem covering all scientific and industrial value chain segments (hardware, software, applications, services, interconnections, and skills). HPC applications have a pivotal role in the HPC ecosystem: borrowing a promotional slogan used previously by the IEEE SC (supercomputing) conference – HPC Matters, primarily because the use of HPC (to address industrial, scientific and societal challenges) matters! As has been presented by the European Commission and the European Technology Platform for HPC (ETP4HPC), the European HPC Centres of Excellence (CoEs) constitute the applications-oriented pillar of the European HPC Initiative (complementing infrastructure and computing technology development).
FocusCoE will contribute to the success of the EU HPC Ecosystem and the EuroHPC Initiative by supporting the EU HPC CoEs to more effectively fulfil their role within the ecosystem and initiative: ensuring that extreme scale applications result in tangible benefits for addressing scientific, industrial or societal challenges. It will do this by creating an effective platform for the CoEs to coordinate strategic directions and collaboration (addressing possible fragmentation of activities across the CoEs and coordinating interactions with the overall HPC ecosystem) and will provide support services for the CoEs in relation to both industrial outreach and promotion of their services and competences by acting as a focal point for users to discover those services.
In order to achieve its general objective of supporting European HPC CoEs to effectively fulfil their role as one of the three pillars of the European HPC Initiative, FocusCoE has defined a set of specific objectives:
• To create a platform, realised as the HPC CoE Council (HPC3), which allows all HPC CoEs to collectively define an overriding strategy and collaborative implementation for interactions with and contributions to the EU HPC Ecosystem.
• To support the HPC CoEs to achieve enhanced interaction with industry, and SMEs in particular, through concerted out-reach and business development actions.
• To instigate concerted action on training by and for the complete set of HPC CoEs: providing a consolidating vehicle for user training offered by the CoEs and by PRACE and providing cross-area training to the CoEs.
• To promote the whole set of HPC CoEs’ capabilities and service offerings and to develop the EU HPC CoE “brand”, raising awareness with stakeholders and both academic and industrial users.
The project has made considerable progress towards its 4 main objectives:
1. Establish the HPC CoE Council: HPC3 was established in May 2019 during the European HPC Summit Week held in Poznan, following the definition and agreement on Terms of Reference and has met 11 times, with the operational support provided by FocusCoE.
2. Concerted industrial out-reach and business development for the EU HPC CoEs: good progress was made towards increasing the industrial outreach through individual industrial contacts and the start of a series of joint visits to industrial sectorial events with the CoEs, although this had to be paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An industrial survey has been answered by about 100 companies and is currently being analysed.
3. Concerted training actions for and to the EU HPC CoEs: A comprehensive EU HPC training stakeholder workshop was organised in October 2019. Further activities targeting this objective comprised: conducting an analysis of the training offers by HPC CoEs; setting up a training registry and populating it with the events of all CoEs; preparation and release of guidelines for planning and conducting online events to support CoEs in their effort to move certain training activities to online events. Planning concerning training for the CoEs in various areas had to be changed towards online events due to the COVID-19 crisis.
4. Establishing (and promoting) the EU HPC CoE Brand: The EU HPC CoE brand has been established by FocusCoE and has been continuously publicised through the FocusCoE web site, social media, success stories, merchandising material for public events, and others. A registry of services offered by CoEs has been built and is currently integrated into a recently created dedicated CoE website. Recently, the COVID-19 crisis has halted the attendance of large events.
HPC has been recognised as a key component of the digital single market. European initiatives are taking place to create awareness of its capabilities, to develop building blocks for highly performant systems and to match these capabilities with leading-edge software, industrially relevant applications and in-depth training courses.
The central concept of FocusCoE is to facilitate the coordination of the activities of HPC Centres of Excellence contributing to the overall success of the EU HPC ecosystem. By establishing and supporting the operation of HPC3, it will facilitate a coordinated strategy of all CoEs and their effective interaction with the key stakeholders in the HPC ecosystem. FocusCoE will provide support services for the CoEs in relation to both industrial outreach and the promotion of their services and competences- including in particular training services. In addition, FocusCoE will act as a focal point for users to discover the CoE services. In doing this it will encourage the use of HPC and related services by industry, both large and small, and it will promote relevant services and competences by acting as a focal point for all levels of users looking to discover and exploit those services.
The successful completion of the project activities will result in the delivery on all expected impact items for the INFRAEDI-02-2018 specific challenge (b):
• Access to consultancy and services (including training) offered by CoEs for external potential users and learners.
• Maximise visibility and outreach of Centres of Excellence, in particular to industry.
• Promoting the use of HPC by identifying industrial and SMEs users in the different business areas, and matching their needs with the available expertise in the CoEs.