FER researchers involved in one of...

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering at University of Zagreb (FER) is proud to announce that it has provided a significant contribution to European sovereignty, with valuable business impacts. European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) finalized the 273-M€ procurement contract for JUPITER, the first EuroHPC exascale supercomputer granted to the consortium of Eviden and ParTec. JUPITER  will be hosted at Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany, where the brain of the system will be based on the brand new general-purpose Rhea processors by SiPearl that have been designed in Europe with FER being one of the key partners of SiPearl in design and verification of those processors.

"FER is proud to be at the forefront of what is among the most advanced global supercomputer processor technology research and to partner with leading European industry and research organizations SiPearl, Eviden, Barcelona Supercomputing Center and others to create the first European general purpose processor for supercomputers. Partnering with SiPearl allowed us to have a unique opportunity to be able to work with great industry experts on the design and verification of what will be the family of globally one of the most advanced and powerful processors.

Also, being a member of European Processor Initiative project funded by EuroHPC JU, we team with the brightest minds, share ideas and solutions and make Faculty of Electrical Engineering at University of Zagreb recognized on the global research map" , said Mario Kovač, professor and Director of FER HPC research center.     

What are exascale supercomputers

Supercomputers solve problems that are significantly beyond the capacity of a single office computer/laptop, since they can process significantly larger amounts of data and make calculations in seconds that would otherwise take months or even decades. Supercomputers are built out of the most advanced components and use large and complex building blocks.

One way of describing the power of computers is by comparing how many basic operations, such as e.g. additions, they can compute in one second. Thus, the metric is given in so called FLOPS (floating point operations per second).

An "Exascale supercomputer" can perform more than billion billion or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1018) operations (FLOPS) per second, or in short more than one exaFLOPS. To put this into perspective: it would take one million typical laptops to do the same number of computations in the same amount of time.

Why are exascale supercomputers important

Supercomputers are critical for understanding and responding to complex challenges of today and of the future and transforming them into innovation opportunities and solutions in time.  Regular computers do not get us the solutions to these complex problems in a reasonable time, so we rely on supercomputers to do the job.

Benefits for citizens

Supercomputers play a key role in medicine: for discovering new drugs, developing and targeting medical therapies for individual needs and conditions of patients with cancer, cardiovascular or other diseases, involved in the quest for treatments by testing drug candidate molecules or repositioning existing drugs for new diseases. Supercomputing is of critical importance to anticipate severe weather conditions: it can provide accurate simulations predicting the evolution of weather patterns, as well as the size and paths of storms and floods. This is key to activate early warning systems to save human lives and reduce damage to our properties and public infrastructures. They are also key in monitoring the effects of climate change, improving our knowledge of geophysical processes, monitoring earth resource evolution, reducing the environmental footprint of industry and society, or supporting sustainable agriculture through numerical simulations of plant growth.

At the same time, supercomputers are also vital for national security, defense and sovereignty, as they are used to increase cybersecurity and to fight against cyber-criminality, in particular for the protection of critical infrastructures.

Benefits for industry

Supercomputing enables industrial sectors like automotive, aerospace, renewable energy, and health to innovate, become more productive and to scale up to higher value products and services.

Supercomputing has a growing impact on industries and businesses by significantly reducing product design and production cycles, accelerating the design of new materials, minimizing costs, increasing resource efficiency, and shortening and optimizing decision processes.

Benefits for science

Supercomputing is at the heart of the digital transformation of science. It enables deeper scientific understanding and breakthroughs in nearly every scientific field.

The applications of supercomputing in science are countless: from fundamental physics (advancing the frontiers of knowledge of matter or exploring the universe) to material sciences (designing new critical components for the pharmaceutical or energy sectors) and earth science (modelling the atmospheric and oceanic phenomena at planetary level).

Supercomputing and Artificial Intelligence

Access to the EU's world-class supercomputing resources for European artificial intelligence (AI) start-ups, SMEs and the broader AI community will support further development and scalability of AI models, accelerated AI training, and testing, by reducing training time from months or years to a matter of weeks and thus making European AI solutions more globally competitive.

European processor is strategical EU technology and “brain” of the new EU exascale supercomputer

As described above, supercomputers represent key technology for citizens, sovereignty, industry, and science of every society. A key component in each computer is a processor that can be considered as a “brain” or a key technology.

The global race for mastering this technology started already a few years ago in USA and China, and now thanks to EuroHPC JU, Europe will deploy two Exascale systems in Germany and France in 2024 and 2025, using European technologies and serving European research and innovation.

First European exascale supercomputer JUPITER, an EuroHPC JU supercomputing infrastructure that will be operated by Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany, will be composed of two partitions, a highly scalable GPU accelerated Booster Module and a general-purpose Cluster Module with high memory bandwidth processors. The general-purpose Cluster Module will be based on SiPearl’s first-generation processor, Rhea1. Using the Arm® NeoverseTM V1 platform, Rhea1 is characterized by very high memory bandwidth, extraordinary compute performance and efficiency for an unmatched Byte/Flop ratio. It will help JUPITER run complex simulations and artificial intelligence applications to solve strategic, scientific, industrial and environmental challenges with a low-carbon footprint. This architecture will also allow the system to be well prepared for the integration of future technologies, such as quantum computing.


EU-designed Rhea processors being selected for the first EU exascale computer represents significant European sovereignty and business contribution of all partners involved.

SiPearl and FER have been closely working together on Rhea development from the very early phases of the design as a part of the European Processor Initiative (EPI) project [2] and are committed to continue this successful strategic technology development cooperation in the future as well.    

“Through JUPITER design win, as a pilot customer for Rhea1, the first-generation microprocessor launched by SiPearl, we have reached a key milestone in the mission entrusted by the European Union to the EPI consortium: to foster the return of high-performance low-power microprocessor technologies to Europe. This is the culmination of the joint efforts and hard work of all the partners in the EPI consortium around SiPearl, and, of course, the determination of Europe, EuroHPC in particular, which has championed us all along the way. We would like to thank all of them, in particular the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at University of Zagreb, for its contribution in design and verification. Together, we are helping to ensure Europe technological sovereignty”, said Philippe Notton, CEO and Founder of SiPearl.

“Supercomputing is at the forefront of solving societal, academic and commercial challenges. It therefore plays an essential role for any continent, economic area or nation wishing to strengthen its leadership and sovereignty. As a European company, we are proud to supply our BullSequana XH3000 for Jupiter, the first Exascale supercomputer in Europe, and to support European economic and industrial sovereignty. This creates an unprecedented momentum for Europe to deliver its European high-end processor from SiPearl, a result of the European Processor Initiative, in which Eviden and FER, among others, are very much involved to make this happen", said Eric Monchalin, Vice-President, Head of Machine Intelligence at Eviden and Chair of the European Processor Initiative.

“The European Processor Initiative stands as a foundational pillar of European digital sovereignty and is the outcome of a true European collaborative effort involving many partners. This initiative funded by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking is strengthening the European HPC supply chain while highlighting the significance of energy-efficient technologies as the Rhea processor will be the world’s first HPC-dedicated microprocessor built specifically with a focus on energy efficiency.

This European processor is set to revolutionize HPC and the fact that it will underpin the first European exascale supercomputer is a pivotal victory for Europe.” stressed Anders Dam Jensen, Executive Director of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking.

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Author: Petra Škaberna
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