On Monday 3rd June 2019, the PRACE Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC) welcomed the EuroHPC Infrastructure Advisory Group (INFRAG) to their biannual meeting to discuss user requirements for industry. The PRACE IAC was set up in 2013 to give independent advice to PRACE and has been consulted on various services including SHAPE, training and open access. Members include C-level representatives of small, medium and large firms (industry users), as well as trade associations such as NAFEMS (engineering) and CEFIC (chemistry). ETP4HPC is also represented as an observer.
At the beginning of the meeting, Lee Margetts (Chair of the PRACE IAC) and Dieter Jahn (Vice-Chair of the PRACE IAC) emphasized that members of the PRACE IAC were highly motivated individuals who wanted to help improve the uptake of HPC in their specific industry sectors. For this reason, the IAC members were delighted to be able to share their knowledge with the EuroHPC INFRAG and looked forward to future collaboration.
In the meeting, Claus-Axel Müller (Chair of the EuroHPC INFRAG) highlighted the very positive focus of EuroHPC in terms of support for industry. This was followed by Gunnar Bøe (EuroHPC INFRAG) who gave a presentation on the forthcoming call, a Network of HPC Competence Centres for SMEs, describing how individual member states would be funded to support SMEs. Next, Tomi Ilijas (PRACE IAC), led a discussion regarding technology transfer from academia to the market place. In order to promote HPC adoption, it was a common view that HPC centres need to help industry users take the first step. These early adopters would then graduate as customers of a new generation of start-up companies who will provide commercial HPC services. The final topic of the meeting compared and contrasted academic and industry cultures, helping attendees explore the differences between the user requirements of academia and industry.
In summary, Lee Margetts (Chair of the PRACE IAC) commented that we should not be thinking about industry in terms of the austere concepts of economic growth or return on investment. The motivation for industry engagement is more human, intrinsically linked to the needs of the individual and the society we live in. HPC will only benefit society if new scientific discoveries lead to sustainable products and services that both improve quality of life and respect the environment. In partnership, the PRACE and EuroHPC mission should be a simple one, to make life better for the European citizen. The key to success? A carefully orchestrated relationship between science and industry.