FF4EuroHPC continues its mission of inspiring SMEs to unleash their innovation potential with the help of cutting-edge technologies
20 April 2022
FF4EuroHPC supports European competitiveness
High Performance Computing (HPC) and related advanced technologies support and empower organisations across a wide range of sectors to develop breakthrough products, optimise their productions cycles, shorten design cycles, use fewer resources or materials and, in particular, reduce costs and production times. FF4EuroHPC supports the competitiveness of the European SMEs by funding business-oriented experiments and promoting the take-up of advanced HPC technologies and services. The priority for experiment selection was for end-user SMEs engaged in engineering and manufacturing, or sectors able to demonstrate fast economic growth or particular economic impact on Europe.
SMEs experiment with HPC, HPDA, AI and ML technologies
Two Open Calls were offered within the project, with the EUR 8 million funding budget dedicated to supporting Experiment partners. The outcome of the FF4EuroHPC Open Calls was a great success as 138 high-quality submissions were received involving organisations from 30 European countries.
The first Open Call resulted in EUR 3 million being awarded for 16 proposals, involving 53 organisations, from 9 countries. In the second Open Call, 26 proposals were selected, involving 78 organisations from 22 countries, for a total of EUR 5 million funding.
“The response to the two Open Calls was extremely good, not only considering the high level of SME participation but also the range of industrial and business sectors addressed and the computational methodologies involved,” said Dr Guy Lonsdale, Open Call Lead.
An important objective for the FF4EuroHPC Open Calls was to broaden the geographical base of participating organisations, targeting participants from all H2020 eligible countries with a focus on the EuroHPC JU member states.
Dr Bastian Koller, managing director at HLRS and project coordinator adds: “We are happy that we had so many good and valuable proposals and that the geographical coverage is now exceeding by far that achieved in prior activities. By supporting so many organisations in different sectors and countries, the FF4EuroHPC project definitely shows its added value to the European HPC landscape.”
Of the 118 organisations participating in the selected Experiments, 73 (or 62%) are Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). This is significant since the main objective of the FF4EuroHPC project is to demonstrate the business value achievable by the use of HPC resources or services for SMEs. Non-SME organisations do include academic/public organizations such as HPC centres or universities as well as medium-sized/large companies.
From manufacturing and engineering to medicine, environment and farming
Each of the selected Experiments targets a specific economic end-user sector and is designed to accelerate innovation and create business value in that domain. The Manufacturing domain accounts for 24 (or 57%) of the 42 selected Experiments, followed by engineering consulting and the medicine and health sector. Organisations will use it for the demanding tasks processed within their Experiments in different HPC and computational disciplines. “A large number of the Experiments will employ variations of Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations, but there is also a strong representation of HPC training of neural networks for complex Machine Learning approaches and a variety of methodologies ranging from design optimisation to Artificial Intelligence.”, explains Dr. Lonsdale.
The first tranche of experiments will soon result in Success Stories
All FF4EuroHPC Experiments will run for a maximum of 15 months. The first tranche of 16 Experiments commenced on June 1st, 2021 and will be soon concluded. The second tranche with 26 Experiments commenced on March 1st, 2022 and will be concluded by June 2023.
Once an Experiment is successfully concluded, it will produce – as a central Experiment result - a Success Story, presenting information about the business benefits for the participating SMEs and also the other supporting organisations. Furthermore, societal and environmental benefits will be highlighted through the results, in addition to the business advantages. Success Stories are actually based on real use cases that demonstrate what can be achieved with the help of HPC technologies. The purpose is to inspire the broader community to make use of HPC.
“The Experiments and their Success Stories will show the potential for European SMEs utilizing HPC and associated technologies. By that we will not only talk about theoretical potential but manifest this into clear cases and thus underpin the European HPC strategy, as realized by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking.”, concludes Dr. Koller.
Experiment partners will address business challenges from varied application domains through the experiments. When the experiment is successfully concluded, it results in a Success Story, inspiring the community. Copyrights: Members of the FF4EuroHPC Consortium
About the project
FF4EuroHPC is an R&D project co-funded by the European Commission under the H2020 programme, and supported through EuroHPC JU. The project started in September 2020. The key concept behind FF4EuroHPC is to demonstrate to SMEs how they can strongly benefit from the use of advanced HPC services and thereby take advantage of these state-of-the-art ICT solutions for business benefits. Through two Open Calls, innovative HPC experiments addressing SME business challenges will be selected. The first wave of experiments is running and working to solve a range of business challenges with the help of HPC, HPDA, AI or ML. The 2nd Open Call closed recently and the evaluation of proposals addressing a wide variety of industrial sectors from across Europe is currently ongoing. The 2nd wave of experiments will start early in 2022. Results will be presented through success stories, inspiring SMEs in Europe for further innovation based on HPC.