The project “National Competence Centres in the Framework of EuroHPC” – EuroCC, which establishes the Croatian Center for Competence for High Performance Computing, marked the first year of work on establishing networks of national competence centers for high performance computing in 33 member states of the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU).
The University Computing Center (Srce), as one of the partners in the EuroCC project, leads a consortium of Croatian institutions that is establishing the Croatian Center for Competence for High Performance Computing (HPC). Participants are: Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb (FER), Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Split (FESB), Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Information Technology Osijek, JJ Strossmayer University of Osijek (FERIT), University of Rijeka (UNIRI), Technical Faculty of the University of Rijeka (RITEH) and Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI). The Ministry of Science and Education provides support to Croatian institutions in the proven project and ensures the national share of project co-financing.
“Advanced e-infrastructure, whose key component is HPC, contributes to the development of modern science and is crucial for many advanced research, and is becoming an indispensable element in achieving progress and innovation in the digital age in which a stronger computer is more competitive. By establishing a national competence center for HPC and its networking with other centers in Europe, we are building a national knowledge and skills framework to help scientists, business people and the public sector use HPC and related technologies. The common goal of the members of the Croatian consortium is that the establishment of this center be complementary to existing and future smart specialization platforms as well as other long-term strategic plans for the development of science and technology in Croatia“ said Ivan Maric, director of Srce.
Experts from partner institutions carried out the activities of establishing the Croatian Center and began the extensive identification of the level of competencies for the use of high-performance computing and artificial intelligence in Croatia. So far, the greatest need for improvement has been noted in the area of providing HPC education programs in the public and private sectors. It was also found that there is very little interaction with the public and private sector and further development is needed in the segment of providing public and private sector education programs on HPC. That is why the Croatian Competence Center for HPC directs its activities in the preparation and implementation of sector-specific one-day and two-day educational workshops about which information is regularly published on the Center’s website.
The Croatian Competence Center for HPC has intensified activities to identify small and medium-sized enterprises that could use the services of infrastructure providers of HPC services in order to increase the involvement of the public and private sector in the use of HPC technologies. Thus, in the first open call Horizon 2020 of the FF4EuroHPC project, which focused on the highest quality experiments of innovative and agile small and medium enterprises, members of the Croatian Competence Center for HPC provided advisory support to Croatian companies in applying for the call. One of the submitted proposals received financial support through FF4EuroHPC and will be fully funded by the EU: it is a project proposal Multi-head Additive Manufacturing with Optimal HPC Thermal Stabilization (AMOTS) of Mikrotvornica d.o.o. from Zagreb.
In addition to access to European supercomputer resources, the Croatian HPC Competence Center provides information on access and resources of national HPC service providers such as: Isabella cluster (Heart), supercomputer Bura (University of Rijeka) and others.