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Europe a global contender in high-performance computing

​A European research consortium has been set up to temper the United States' domination of the global high-performance computing hardware market. CEA-List, a CEA Tech institute, is playing a key role with its processor architecture modeling tool.

Published on 25 February 2021

​The overwhelming majority of the microprocessors found in high-performance computers worldwide are manufactured in the United States. Yet high-performance computing (HPC) is critical for addressing today's increasingly numerous and complex strategic challenges—and not only in the United States. The European Processor Initiative (EPI) was set up to help Europe achieve sovereignty in this strategic area and bring manufacturing of the core components of HPC systems home to Europe.

CEA-List has been putting its virtual prototyping skills to good use to develop tools like the SESAM simulator. This is the EPI project's go-to tool for modeling the European HPC processor. Virtual prototyping is an essential step in the design and validation of chip architectures. It can significantly shorten development cycles through the use of rapid architecture exploration and design optimization techniques. SESAM offers a wide variety of processor and peripheral models. It can also model a complex memory hierarchy and estimate its performance.

EPI will help reposition Europe by lessening dependence on US manufacturers, and, more importantly, guaranteeing technological sovereignty on the high-performance computing market, a major economic growth driver. HPC has long been used in research, weather forecasting, oil and gas exploration, defense, chemical, finance, and other industries. More recently, it has become a vital tool for supporting the deployment of artificial intelligence, connected mobility, smart cities, bioengineering, cybersecurity, personalized medicine, and much more.

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