Industry Summit Demonstrates Innovative HPC Applications in European SMEs

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Photo: Sandra Ritschel

A two-day event in Berlin presented results of successful business experiments made possible by the FF4EuroHPC project.

Launched in 2020 with funding from the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, FF4EuroHPC was created to promote usage of high-performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence (AI), and high-performance data analytics (HPDA) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through two open calls and funding cycles, FF4EuroHPC executed 42 experiments in collaboration with 118 experiment partners from 22 European countries, covering industries including manufacturing, engineering, energy, environment, and healthcare. Selected SMEs received free computing access and user support to realize test projects at HPC centers across the EuroHPC network.

On October 18-19, 2023, the FF4EuroHPC community converged in Berlin to present results of these business experiments at its HPC Industry Summit. The meeting was jointly organized by FF4EuroHPC and EuroCC 2, a related project led by the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) that has been coordinating the development and networking of 32 National Competence Centers across Europe.

Held as a public event for representatives of industry and government, the HPC Industry Summit highlighted both the opportunities for innovation and the challenges that SMEs encounter when using high-performance computing. The event featured keynote talks by Daniel Opalka (Head of Sector Research & Innovation, EuroHPC Joint Undertaking), Javier Cordova Morey (Policy Officer, European Commission), and Michael Rafii (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF), in addition to several expert talks and panel discussions looking at the future outlook for HPC, AI, and quantum computing in industry.

Photo of four speakers sitting onstage.

Mark Parsons (EPCC) led a lively "fishbowl" panel discussion in which a rotating set of speakers commented on the outlook for HPC, AI, and quantum computing in industry. Also pictured (l-r): Yufei Cao (Bosch), Gerd Büttner (Airbus), and Javier Porto (SDEA Solutions). Photo: Sandra Ritschel

In an additional highlight of the event, participants in the FF4EuroHPC experiments presented their projects and achievements. Their success stories provided an inspiring look at several different ways in which HPC and related technologies can help to develop better products and services.

New applications for shipping, water management, manufacturing, and city planning

Paris-based engineering firm AYRO, for example, has been working with the support of FF4EuroHPC to improve the design of its Oceanwings wind-assisted ship propulsion technology. This new approach outfits ships, including those powered with conventional fossil fuel-driven engines, with sail-like structures. Artificial intelligence software monitors wind conditions continuously, and automatically adjusts the shapes of the sails to optimize aerodynamic performance. The company estimates that harnessing wind power can reduce fuel consumption in ships by up to 45%, and AYRO’s goal is to support the maritime industry in reducing its carbon footprint. With FF4EuroHPC support, it has been developing a tool that uses CFD simulations to optimize the installation of Oceanwings on all types of ships.

In another business experiment, ARESYS S.r.l. has been developing a new service that uses HPC and AI to provide real-time monitoring of water levels in reservoirs. Using remote sensing data gathered by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite system, the approach creates an evolving, real-time 3D model of an entire reservoir, providing a low-cost method that water resource managers can use to respond to droughts or extreme weather events.

Artificial intelligence can be used to analyze satellite data to provide real-time awareness of reservoir conditions. Image courtesy of the FF4EuroHPC project.

Illustration depicting remote sensing of a reservoir.

A collaboration between production machines manufacturer Gabler Engineering GmbH and software developer Kimoknow UG is focusing on how AI could accelerate product assembly. They have been using HPC to generate synthetic 3D CAD data and train an AI algorithm to visually recognize parts needed to build a machine. The results have helped Gabler to improve worker productivity, while Kimoknow now has a business model in which its software can be rapidly adapted for thousands of potential customers at low cost and sold on a subscription basis.

FF4EuroHPC has also supported a joint project involving SoftSim Consult and CFD software company Engys, who have been developing improved simulation workflows for urban physics modeling (UPM). The results will make it possible for SME service providers to offer a wider range of UPM solutions, and help engineers, architects, and construction planners to address more demanding regulations for sustainability and citizen well-being in cities.

Success stories will inspire uptake of HPC in industry

As the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking rolls out larger, more powerful supercomputers across Europe, increasing their usage and impact in industry is a high priority. “Success stories like the ones presented at the HPC Industry Summit are an important part of showing companies how HPC, AI, and HPDA could help them innovate and compete more effectively on the global market,” said Dr. Bastian Koller, who is leading HLRS’s coordination of FF4EuroHPC and EuroCC 2. “Our goal is that companies across Europe will find inspiration in these stories and begin to ask how they could use HPC to improve their own products and processes. And when they do, we and other centers are ready to provide services and support.”

Learn more about FF4EuroHPC and find more success stories at

Christopher Williams