European Commission opens access to supercomputers to accelerate AI development
The initiative is expected to improve the competitiveness of the European AI industrial ecosystem and strengthen the EU as a global leader in AI development.
The European Commission (EC) has announced the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU), a new initiative to provide access to EU supercomputers for ‘European artificial intelligence (AI) start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the broader AI community.’ This move is part of the ‘EU AI Start-Up Initiative’, aiming to speed up the development and scalability of AI models in Europe.
Three of the five most powerful supercomputers in the world are currently located in the EU: in Finland (LUMI, Kajaani), Spain (MareNostrum 5, Barcelona), and Italy (Leonardo, Bologna). For AI firms, having access to these supercomputers means significantly reducing the training time for AI models from months to weeks. Only companies that meet the EU’s guidelines for responsible AI will be granted access to these supercomputers. The initiative will also select up to four promising European AI start-ups that will be given access to EuroHPC facilities.
Why does it matter?
This program is part of the EU’s approach to AI, which revolves around excellence and trust, seeking to boost R&D and industrial capacity while ensuring safety and ethical considerations. The initiative is expected to improve the competitiveness of the European AI industrial ecosystem and strengthen the EU as a global leader in AI development.
In addition to providing supercomputer access, the EC has also launched the Large AI Grand Challenge, a competition to bolster AI with participation from European startups. The initiative is also part of wider efforts by the EC to foster AI innovation, including the launch of the ‘Testing and Experimentation Facilities for AI‘, under the Digital Europe Programme. The EC will work with AI firms so that they willingly endorse the EU AI Act’s principles, even before it comes into force. With the EU ‘trilogue’ and negotiations ongoing, the AI Act could be adopted as early as next year.