Today, High-Performance Computing (HPC) is a critically important tool in academia and industry that enables discovery and validation of breakthrough scientific results, design of safe, functional and highly efficient products, and supports addressing important societal challenges (such as climate change and air pollution). HPC encompasses supercomputers (large systems optimised for highest computation capability), system-level software (often called middleware, which provides the services required for effective use of HPC systems, and for developing efficient software applications for tackling scientific, industrial or societal problems), software applications and the underlying, scalable and efficient ealgorithms. Increasingly, methods from Artificial Intelligence (mainly in Machine Learning) and Big Data complement the computation-oriented HPC systems and software.

For the European research arena, for European industry, and for the European societies, access to globally competitive HPC system infrastructure, and ability to create and operate leading-edge HPC applications is a key requirement. It is indispensable to advance science, drive towards solutions of key societal problems, boost economic competitiveness and assure European autonomy.


To achieve the above, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking as a joint initiative of the European Union, European countries and private partners, manages HPC R&D projects (spanning all software and hardware levels) plus system and infrastructure hosting initiatives. The efforts are structured into seven pillars supporting three high-level objectives:

The 2021 Exascale Projects: European Exascale R&D Projects

The next big step in the evolution of HPC is for supercomputers achieving Exascale-levels of compute performance, and for system software and applications to use the raw compute power of these systems for solving relevant scientific, industrial or societal challenges. Exascale systems must be able to run 1018 floating-point operations per second in a standard linear-algebra benchmark. That level of performance will allow addressing previously intractable scientific problems, significantly reducing time-to-solution and increase resolution/precision of simulations and optimisation applications, and support global-scale “digital twins” such as the Destination Earth initiative. 

Ten ambitious R&D projects were started by the EuroHPC JU at the beginning of 2021. These 2021 Exascale Projects directly support these EuroHPC JU pillars:

  • Infrastructure: system and software protypes feed into the EuroHPC JU hosting activities in 2023 and beyond
  • Technology: proof-of-concept of key hardware and software elements will form a technology pipeline for future Exascale HPC HW/SW stacks
  • Applications: highly efficient and scalable applications target Exascale systems, and proof-of-concept of innovative algorithms provide a pipeline for future systems
  • International Collaboration: judicious collaboration with trusted partners in America, Asia and Africa accelerates results and standardisation

Indirectly, the 2021 Exascale projects support the expansion of HPC-related skills and expertise in Europe by way of providing training and education material, and they contribute to the widening of the HPC user base due to easy-to-use applications, system SW and systems.