Le Gouvernement du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg

Spotting the trends in supercomputing

Supercomputing is an essential tool for processing and analysing ever-increasing amounts of data. In order to better understand this strategic field, Luxinnovation has just released an analysis of supercomputing market trends. The agency has also published a study on concrete supercomputing use cases that are of interest for companies.

The potential to develop new and improved products or gain competitive advantages based on analyses of huge quantities of data is constantly increasing.

“I often speak to companies, in particular smaller ones, who think that supercomputing is only for high-tech businesses. I point out that this is not true: anyone able to think a bit outside the box can benefit,” says Ralf Hustadt, Special Advisor on Digitalisation, Data Economy and Gaia-X at Luxinnovation who coordinates the Supercomputing Luxembourg initiative. “A ‘traditional’ wood-processing company might benefit from analyses of weather and climate data impacting forest growth, for example. And if they are interested in exploring what they could do in supercomputing, we are there to support them.”

Companies that use supercomputing power can considerably reduce their costs as well as the time needed to reach their desired results.

To provide companies with inspiration, Luxinnovation has produced a report presenting nine European small and medium-sized companies that have benefitted from supercomputing in their daily activities. “We wanted to highlight the potential benefits of supercomputing in various fields of application ranging from the automotive sector to finance, environment and manufacturing,” says Market Intelligence Analyst Paul-Louis Bené, the author of the report. “The different examples clearly show that companies that use supercomputing power for simulation, design and manufacturing processes can considerably reduce their costs as well as the time needed to reach their desired results. They can also significantly speed up the time to market.”

Four main supercomputing market trends

With a total revenue of $34.8 billion in 2021 and an expected revenue of $50.3 billion in 2028, the supercomputing market is growing radically. “We produced the Supercomputing Market Trends report to stay on top of the developments in this fast-moving field and understand evolutions that will have an impact on Luxembourg,” says Mr Bené.

In the study, Luxinnovation identifies four main supercomputing market trends for the next 5-10 years. The first one is the expected growth of a supercomputing market relying on a hybrid deployment model.

“Supercomputing in the cloud is growing, but on-premises servers continue to dominate the market,” comments Mr Bené. “The main reason is that government bodies and major corporations prefer to keep their sensitive data on in-house servers rather than to place them in the cloud.” However, the market is slowly shifting towards a hybrid deployment model combining on-site infrastructures and cloud-based applications.

The second trend, the development of supercomputing as a service, also points towards a more flexible use of supercomputing. Cloud service providers frequently offer turn-key supercomputing solutions adapted to clients’ specific requirements.

AI is becoming indispensable to perform simulations.

Another supercomputing market trend is an increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) powered and accelerated applications. “As the use of supercomputing becomes more frequent, workload diversity increases. AI is becoming indispensable to perform simulations,” Mr Bené explains.

The final observation is that healthcare is expected to be the main sector for supercomputing application in 2030, followed by government and defence and the manufacturing industry. Supercomputing is increasingly used for data management and simulations in the healthcare sector and its subsectors, such as life sciences and genomics research.

MeluXina: an accessible supercomputer

The supercomputing market is dominated by technologies, solutions and service providers from the US and China. “Well over half of the world’s supercomputing system shares are owned by players in the US and China,” Mr Bené points out. 16 countries in Europe – primarily Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands – own 24.2% of shares. “Europe is still lagging behind, but the EU plans to acquire and deploy two Exascale supercomputers by 2024 and to integrate and deploy the first hybrid supercomputing/quantum infrastructure in Europe by 2027.”

Luxembourg owns 0.4% of supercomputer system shares worldwide, and its national supercomputer MeluXina currently ranks 57th in the world in terms of pure core computer power. “Anyone who thinks that this sounds modest should consider that MeluXina’s computing power is around 17,000 times that of an ordinary laptop and its capacity to process data around 20,000 times higher,” Mr Hustadt explains. “This allows you to carry out very powerful computing processes.”

MeluXina is available for companies of every size to run their workloads in an optimal timeframe.

However, according to him, MeluXina’s main strength lies in its accessibility to businesses. “Most supercomputers are pure research infrastructure, and the only way of accessing them is to set up a 2 or 3-year joint research project with a university. MeluXina, on the other hand, is available for companies of every size to run their workloads in an optimal timeframe, using the exact amount of computing power needed for each project,” says Mr Hustadt.

Support by a team of experts

He also points out that while a supercomputing project can seem daunting for a mid-sized company without its own experts in the field, MeluXina has a highly specialised team available to design and implement business projects. Secondly, the Luxembourg supercomputer, which ranks as the 26th most eco-friendly one in the world, is ISO 27001 certified and has put security standards in place that ensures that customers can process sensitive data in a climate of complete trust.

Using supercomputing is an opportunity not to be missed, and I encourage companies to get in touch with us even if they are not yet sure that this is something for them.

“Luxinnovation is also there to inform companies interested in exploring supercomputing. We support them all the way from identifying a potential use case and finding data sources in case they don’t have what they need in-house to introducing them to the MeluXina team and, if needed, public research centres with whom they could collaborate. We can also guide them to relevant funding instruments,” says Mr Hustadt.

“Using supercomputing is an opportunity not to be missed, and I encourage companies to get in touch with us even if they are not yet sure that this is something for them. We would be more than happy to discuss with them and help them evaluate how it makes sense for them to venture into this field.”

Photo credits: Luxinnovation/Marion Dessard

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