As part of the package of measures for Digitising European industry, the "European Cloud Initiative – Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe" aims to strengthen Europe's position in data-driven innovation, improve its competitiveness and cohesion, and help create a Digital Single Market in Europe.
This initiative will provide European science, industry and public authorities with:
- a world-class data infrastructure to store and manage data;
- high-speed connectivity to transport data; and
- ever more powerful High Performance Computers to process data.
The Cloud Initiative will make it easier for researchers, businesses and public services to fully exploit the benefits of Big Data by making it possible to move, share and re-use data seamlessly across global markets and borders, and among institutions and research disciplines.
Making research data openly available can help boost Europe's competitiveness, especially for start-ups, SMEs and companies who can use data as a basis for R&D and innovation, and can even spur new industries.
What the initiative proposes
A European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) will offer Europe's 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a virtual environment to store, share and re-use the large volumes of information generated by the big data revolution.
This will be underpinned by the European Data Infrastructure (EDI), deploying the high-bandwidth networks and the supercomputing capacity necessary to effectively access and process large datasets stored in the Cloud. Focusing initially on the scientific community, the user base will over time be enlarged to the public sector and to industry. This EDI will also enable to reduce the costs of data storage and high-performance analysis.
High Perfomance Computing and quantum
High Performance Computing (HPC) uses powerful supercomputers to solve complex computational problems or data intensive tasks. Scientists, engineers and financial analysts are among the major users of HPC for modelling and simulation, advanced data analytics and visualization. HPC is involved in huge number of industrial applications and scientific domains and can improve the productivity and competitiveness of industries and SMEs.
Therefore, HPC is essential for the European Data Infrastructure and for the European Open Science Cloud, as it will provide the capacity to analyse vast amounts of data.
The European Cloud Initiative calls for the support of EU Member States to develop a High Performance Computing ecosystem based on European technology, including low power chips, setting an ambitious European exascale High-performance computing strategy. The goal is to have exascale supercomputers based on European technology in the global top 3.
The Commission intends as well to launch an ambitious, long-term and large-scale flagship initiative to unlock the full potential of quantum technologies and accelerate their development and take-up into commercial products in Europe. Read more on the staff working document on quantum technologies.
The public and private investment needed to implement the European Cloud Initiative is estimated at €6.7 billion. The Commission estimates that, overall, €2 billion in Horizon 2020 funding will be allocated to the European Cloud initiative. The estimation of the required additional public and private investment is €4.7 billion in the period of 5 years.