High-performance computing (HPC), a rapidly expanding digital technology, is one of the factors enabling innovation and economic growth. By aggregating computing power to deliver much higher performance than what one can get from a standard computer, HPC can help solve major business problems and reduce product development times. Although the Danube cross-border region already benefits from a robust HPC infrastructure, there are two significant gaps. First, there is an imbalance between the western and eastern parts of the region. Most of the infrastructure is found in the west. Second, there is a traditional gap between academia, where most HPC infrastructure can be found, and the business sector, which has the greatest need for it.
To close these gaps, this project set out to bring together HPC providers, enterprises, policymakers, and civil society. In doing so, the project aims to contribute to the digital transformation of the region by providing all industry access to the transformative power of HPC.
THE InnoHPC LAB
At the heart of the project is the InnoHPC Lab, an online hub that pools regional HPC infrastructure and competencies. Through this online platform, businesses can access a range of integrated services, capacity building tools, and a sustainability toolkit – all of which aim to increase the use of HPC. As part of the lab, the project developed protocols to connect companies needing HPC competencies with HPC providers, in academia and in the private sector.
Project coordinators worked to better understand the needs of the business community, particularly those of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). By understanding and cataloguing these needs, the project could help develop policies for providing SMEs with tailored training and support on using the power of HPC. According to project coordinators, the InnoHPC project succeeded in its goal of helping academics better understand the needs of – and communicate with – SMEs. In doing so, academics are now well-positioned to match their knowledge of HPC to solving business needs. At the same time, the project helped SMEs understand the potential of HPC in problem solving, innovation, and business development. But the project was much more than just theory – it put this theory into action. For example, during several pilot programmes, InnoHPC was able to use HPC to solve business problems – a big step towards fully digitising industry in the Danube region.
Total investment for the project “High-Performance Computing for Effective Innovation in the Danube Region (InnoHPC)” is EUR 2 054 600, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund and Instrument for Pre-Accession contributing EUR 1 746 410 through the “Danube Transnational” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period.