New Project to Define EuroHPC Hyperconnectivity Roadmap

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Photo: Florian Steciuk on Unsplash

EuroHyPerCon will identify and analyze the connectivity requirements of the EuroHPC ecosystem, and subsequently specify a future-proof connectivity service, along with its implementation roadmap. It will deliver recommendations and eventually specifications for an ultra-high-speed network infrastructure that connects European science and industry to the next generation of EuroHPC supercomputers.

For several years now, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) has been coordinating the creation of a world-class infrastructure for high-performance computing (HPC) across Europe. This has included planning and installing new HPC systems at the petascale, pre-exascale, and exascale, and in the future will support the building of an array of quantum computers.

The EuroHPC JU’s vision is that European scientists and engineers in academia and industry will derive the greatest benefit from these investments by having high-speed access to all of the JU’s machines, regardless of where they work. Larger supercomputers will generate ever larger amounts of output data, while new artificial intelligence applications will require the transfer of large data sets as input for training models. An upgraded and agile end-to-end infrastructure will therefore be needed to ensure that data can be moved between computing centers quickly and easily.

A new, EuroHPC JU-funded project called EuroHyPerCon aims to address this need. This collaboration — involving networking specialists Innov-Acts and Enomix together with the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) — will develop plans for a new, ultra-high-speed network that connects EuroHPC systems with regional and national computing networks. EuroHyPerCon will conduct a comprehensive study to identify and analyze requirements based on the needs of HPC centers, user communities, and network providers across Europe. At its conclusion, the project will deliver a comprehensive implementation roadmap to guide the JU in constructing the network.

Planning for future data transmission needs

As coordinator of the EuroCC network of National Competence Centers for HPC, HLRS brings an in-depth awareness of the European high-performance landscape, and will identify key stakeholders who can help identify requirements for a new hyperconnected network. Once the complete specifications have been identified, HLRS will develop the implementation road map.

Dr. Bastian Koller, General Manager at the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart, will oversee HLRS’s contribution to the project. “Using workshops, interviews, and surveys, EuroHyPerCon will bring stakeholders from around Europe to the table,” Koller explains. “By gathering their insights, we will ensure that the implementation plan is realistic and feasible, and that it is capable of integrating changes in HPC technologies and usage that we anticipate over the next decade.”

Such planning means not just accommodating growing numbers of HPC users and larger quantities of data, but also incorporating the unique requirements of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, edge computing (for the Internet of Things), and quantum computing. In addition to providing recommendations for technical features of the network, the roadmap will cover practical issues that will be essential to the success of the project, including administration and cost planning.

A data autobahn

Dennis Hoppe, head of the HLRS Department of Service Management and Business Processes, says that one of the key challenges that EuroHyPerCon will face is to balance the needs and requirements of hundreds of potential stakeholders. Universities, companies, and regional network providers all have individual policies for data security and data capacity that will need to be considered and possibly reconciled with one another. Moreover, because the EuroHPC JU’s systems support not only academic research but also industrial research and development, it will be important to consider how to deliver end-to-end high-speed access to small companies over the so-called “last mile,” which is typically managed by local network service providers.

“European science and industry is already highly networked, but as usage of high-performance computing, AI, and quantum computing grows, the risk is that bottlenecks in data transmission capacity will slow everyone down,” Hoppe explains. “It is similar to what happens as cities grow and roadways become congested. At some point it becomes necessary to build an autobahn. We want to find out what it will take to do this for European HPC, and to make sure that users across Europe can easily access the onramp.”

Christopher Williams