Officials from the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation claim there is a reputational risk for Ireland if it does not commit to a joint undertaking being proposed by the European Commission on High Performance Computing.
“Failure to join EuroHPC may signal to these firms that Ireland is not committed to developing infrastructures for future needs.
Furthermore failure to join EuroHPC may weaken Ireland’s ability to attract foreign direct investment,” one official warned.
Thirteen EU member states and Switzerland signed a declaration last year to advance the development of high-performance computing infrastructure in Europe.
Brussels is now pushing those countries to sign a joint undertaking to formalise how the EU and member states approach, finance and allow access to high-performance computing, including how to mobilise private and public sector funds to finance high-performance computing activities, including the acquisition of at least two supercomputers that rank among the top 10 worldwide.
The European Commission said the countries who signed the declaration recognised there was an urgent need for them and the EU to invest together to acquire a leading-edge high-performance computing infrastructure which uses powerful supercomputers to perform fast computations including modelling, simulation and advanced data analytics over a wide range of applications.
Among its applications are the early detection and treatment of diseases, forecasting climate evolution, observing space and preventing and managing large-scale natural disasters.
Although the Government is broadly supportive of the proposal, it claimed several aspects required further clarification including the minimum financial contribution required for Ireland to acquire a vote and the level of access to high-performance computing if Ireland remained outside the process.
Another concern is the intellectual property rights by multinational companies based in Europe but with headquarters outside the EU.
“We welcome the creation of a high-performance computing ecosystem in Europe whereby national facilities and European facilities are tightly integrated with clarity for users around access. The proposed joint undertaking could form a key part of that ecosystem,” an official said.
The Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation said it was consulting with interested parties to determine if Ireland’s needs for access to high-performance computing services could be achieved without signing up to the joint undertaking.