Europe plans $7.5B region-wide cloud system to connect scientists

European politicians are working to create a cloud platform on which the 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals in the region can store and share data. The plan is to eliminate digital barriers between scientists by establishing the European Union at the forefront of high-performance computing.

A phased rollout of the project is planned between now and 2020. The first step is the creation of the European Open Science Cloud, an initiative that will pull together existing platforms and scientific clouds to create a region-wide location for the storage and analysis of data. Work on this task is up and running already.

The next phase, which is scheduled for next year, is to open up all of the data generated through the European Union’s $87 billion Horizon 2020 research program.

These initiatives, while significant, are overshadowed by the European Union’s aspirations for the years that follow. In 2018, the organizers plan to roll out an initiative designed to speed the advance of quantum technology, a approach that has long been tipped to result in computers that can solve problems far faster than models that rely on established processes. This is part of the European Union’s plan to thrust itself to the forefront of supercomputing.

“With this initiative, our ambition is to be in the global top-three in high performance computing by 2020,” Günther Oettinger, commissioner for the digital economy and society, said in a statement.

To realize this goal, the European Union plans to buy two “prototype next-generation supercomputers” in 2020, one of which will be ranked in the top three globally. The European Union is committing $2.3 billion to the project, with a further $5.3 billion in public and private investment expected to follow.

- read the statement