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EXDCI Report Summary

Project ID: 671558
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.2.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EXDCI (European eXtreme Data and Computing Initiative)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

EU has laid foundations for the development of a globally competitive HPC Ecosystem. According to the EC’s policy document ‘High-Performance Computing: Europe’s place in a global race’, Europe is in a position to achieve global leadership.
The three most significant HPC bodies in Europe – PRACE, ETP4HPC and EESI – have come together within EXDCI, ‘European eXtreme Data and Computing Initiative’, to coordinate the strategy of the European HPC Ecosystem in order to achieve two main strategic goals:
• Development of a common European HPC Strategy - EXDCI will support the implementation of a European HPC strategy through the coordination of activities of stakeholders such as the European Technology Platform for HPC (ETP4HPC), PRACE, application owners and users (including emerging HPC applications), the European exascale computing research community, the open source HPC community, and other related activities in other parts of H2020.
• Operating a synchronized European HPC Community – EXDCI will promote joint community structuring and synchronization as well as other non-research activities such as the development of the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for High Performance Computing (including the roadmap for exascale in Europe), the link to the H2020 Societal Challenges, the mapping and analysis of related national and international R&I programs/activities/research agendas in HPC towards exascale, coordination with and participation in relevant international activities, etc. Specific actions for attracting young talent into HPC are also included.
The project will consolidate the direction of the European technological HPC Ecosystem, in which the following objectives will be accomplished:
• Europe will achieve global leadership in both research and industrial areas in the supply, operation and use of HPC systems. This will be possible through roadmapping activities in the area of technology provision (Strategic Research Agenda, SRA) and applications (PRACE Scientific Case), analysing cross-cutting and break-through concepts to support the strategy definition and implementation process, as well as through support activities in the field of International Relations, and Education and Training.
• A process for contributing to the ETP4HPC Strategic Research Agenda by all stakeholders will be put in place and the implementation of the SRA will be monitored. As a separate task, the project will include the publication and update of the SRA (2015 and 2017), involving all stakeholders of the European Technology Value Chain (including technology and infrastructure providers, academic and industrial end-users, and software providers).
• Europe will develop an environment in which competitive technologies for building a wide range of next-generation extreme performance computing systems can be accomplished. The development and implementation of the SRA will result in a globally competitive research programme that will put Europe at the forefront of HPC technology development and secure European leadership in critical areas of this field.
• The European HPC Ecosystem will have processes that will facilitate structuring the efforts of stakeholders for implementing the European HPC strategy. The roadmapping, performance monitoring, and ‘think-tank’ activities of the project will be a structure in which all stakeholders will work together towards the agreed objectives.
• Cooperation in international endeavours on HPC software and systems towards exascale will be reinforced. As a separate task, this project will develop international relations with a focus on achieving exascale capabilities in synergy with other regions.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

For this first period, the main project activities have been to set up the organization and coordination tools needed to reach the goals of EXDCI.
The main actions are the following:
1. Update of the Strategic Research Agenda (WP2) with its associated call for comments: The first update of the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) – European Technology Multi-annual Roadmap Towards Exascale – was produced. The SRA was originally issued in 2013 by ETP4HPC, the European HPC Technology Platform. The update, which was produced over the course of 2015, was published in November, and then widely disseminated along with an associated call for comments.
2. Creation of the teams to work on the Scientific Case (WP3): During this period, the application working groups of WP3 have been created by enrolling a set of 8 to 12 experts in each group. One of the major results has been the participation of experts from the newly-created CoEs, especially in working group WG3.4 (Life Sciences and Health), where the group is now led by a representative of the BioExcel CoE.
3. Coordination with EuroLab4HPC (WP4): A dialog has been established with EuroLab4HPC in order to divide the roadmapping effort in a complementary manner (one roadmap with a focus on mid-term technology and applications, and another focusing on the long-term research issues).
4. Elaboration of a strategy to address disruptive technologies (WP4): The main result has been in identifying potential disruptions that may strongly influence the technological roadmaps, as well as producing a work plan.
5. Planning of a set of technical events (WP4): Besides the BDEC events, proposals for several other events have been elaborated: the ISC 2016 workshop proposal, the HPC summit technical program, as well as the EXDCI technical meeting for the first year.
6. Initialization of communication with CoEs and FET HPC projects (WP4): This action has been started with the organization of a workshop in Rome where all CoEs and FET projects where invited to present their objectives and start integrating.
7. Production of the first material to promote HPC careers (WP5): An initial set of 5 HPC Career Case Studies has been created.
8. Renewed international coordination with US and Japan HPC communities (WP6): Activity has concentrated on the BDEC (Big Data and Extreme Computing) initiative. This includes roadmapping for an international coordination strategy, organization of workshops, and general sharing among all partners. A BOF was also organized during SC15 in Austin to promote all European (FP7 and H2020) projects and discuss international cooperation opportunities with guests from Japan and the USA.
9. Elaboration of a first set of KPIs (WP7): KPIs had been developed already within PRACE and ETP4HPC; in the latter case these were related to the wider scope of HPC contractual Public Private Partnership. These KPIs had respectively been implemented by PRACE, on the one hand, and setup in the framework of the HPC cPPP 2014 annual report by ETP4HPC, on the other hand. WP7 has started working on a consolidated global vision leveraging both contributions, aligned with the preparation of the 2015 HPC cPPP annual report.
10. Elaboration of a dissemination plan (WP8): This includes press release, branding material, website setup, and the organization of the European HPC Summit Week.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The following activities carried out in this period show how progress has been made towards the coordination of the ecosystem:

1. Update of the Strategic Research Agenda;
2. Coordination with EuroLab4HPC;
3. Communication initialized with CoEs and FET HPC projects;
4. Renewed international coordination with US and Japan HPC communities;
5. First material to promote HPC careers produced;
6. Elaboration of a first set of KPIs.

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