PlanetHPC has published a report titled “A Strategy for Research and Innovation through High Performance Computing”. The report has been compiled following consultation with HPC users, developers and service providers from industry and academia.
Mark Sawyer, Business Development and Project Manager, EPCC
Mark Parsons, Executive Director, EPCC; Associate Dean for e-Research, University of Edinburgh
The rise in performance and capability of HPC is now threatened by technological factors, in particular energy requirements and the fact that microprocessor speeds are no longer expected to increase in the way they have in the past. Europe has a strong tradition of research and commercialisation of HPC applications. On one hand, Europe is threatened by global competitors making huge investments. On the other hand Europe is well placed due to its world leading position in mobile and embedded computing, offering a strong competitive advantage when it comes to addressing some of the major challenges of HPC – energy-efficiency, dependability, and real-time responsiveness. Europe must view the challenges ahead as an opportunity to invest for its future by developing new technology, exploiting synergies with other domains, providing advanced facilities, educating its workforce and promoting innovative use of HPC. As the HPC landscape changes, the economies which adapt the fastest will be the ones that will gain the greatest benefits.
Unless action is taken, the societal and economic benefits of HPC and computing in general will stall. The leadership that Europe has shown in many domains of computing and its applications over the last 20 years must be maintained and expanded if the European economy is to remain innovative and competitive. Investment in research, development and training carried out at the European level together with measures to promote the early industrial and commercial uptake of new technology will be essential elements in a successful strategy, in which HPC is one of the key drivers.
A long term programme of R&D must be initiated to overcome the major technological hurdles that are identified in this report. Areas which should be prioritised include:
- Highly scalable methods for modelling and simulation that can exploit massive parallelism and data locality.
- New programming models and tools, targeted at massively parallel and heterogeneous environments.
- Decoupling application development from HPC.
- Technologies to support new and emerging applications which require robust HPC with real-time capability.
- Data-intensive HPC.
- Low-energy computing from both an architectural and application perspective.
The research programme must be focused ultimately on delivering results that are relevant to tackling the economic and societal challenges that lie ahead. It must be ambitious and aim for a transformation of the HPC market in Europe, rather than incremental change.
It must address the widest possible spectrum of applications and involve all actors in the HPC domain. To be successful in terms of industrial competitiveness, it is important that all relevant industrial actors collaborate: industrial end-users, HPC service providers, system vendors, Independent Software Vendors, research software providers, application experts and HPC consultancies.
The preparation for this programme of research needs to start as soon as possible in Framework 7 and continue through Horizon 2020. The following actions should be taken immediately to stimulate the HPC market and to prepare the foundation for future longer term R&D.
- HPC pilot networks which stimulate the HPC solutions market place.
- Research & development activities, which stimulate technology development in the HPC domain, and transfer of technology to the HPC domain from other computing domains and constituencies. This is essential if Europe is to maintain its leading position in this key technology.
- Visioning, roadmapping and constituency-building activities, which prepare a long term strategy for R&D&I initiatives under Horizon 2020.
These actions will pave the way for longer term research aimed at ensuring that Europe fully exploits HPC to 2020 and beyond. The recommendations in this report are endorsed by industry leaders and HPC experts across Europe, with whom the editors have carried out extensive consultation under the PlanetHPC project.
Download full report.
[thanks CAPS Entreprise for the hint!]