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EU Council adopts regulation on use of supercomputing in AI development



The Council has adopted an amendment to the regulation on the European High-Performance Computing (EuroHPC) joint undertaking to expand its objectives to include the development and operation of ‘AI factories’. AI factories are entities which provide an AI supercomputing service infrastructure. The amended regulation will make the EU’s supercomputing capacity further available for innovative European start-ups and SMEs to train their AI models and develop their projects. This is the last step in the decision-making procedure.


 

To compete internationally, Europe needs to be a frontrunner in the artificial intelligence technology race. With the regulation adopted today, we will equip our researchers, start-ups and SMEs with powerful tools to develop state-of-the-art AI projects in the EU.


Willy Borsus, Vice-President and Minister for Economic Affairs, Foreign Trade, Research and Innovation, the Digital Economy, Spatial Planning and Agriculture of Wallonia

 

Supercomputers for AI


With the regulation adopted today, the EuroHPC joint undertaking will promote and operate AI factories, facilities which should include an AI supercomputer, an associated data centre and AI-oriented supercomputing services. The activities covered by AI factories will be open to public and private users, with ad-hoc access conditions for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. The host entities of AI factories will be entitled to receive EU financial support to cover up to 50% of the acquisition costs of AI supercomputers and up to 50% of their operating costs. AI supercomputers will be used mainly to develop and test AI training models, applications and solutions.


Next steps


Following the Council’s adoption today, the legal act has been adopted. In the coming days, the amendment to the regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force 20 days later.


Background


The EuroHPC joint undertaking was created in 2018 to coordinate efforts to make Europe a world leader in supercomputing. Up until now, the main objectives of the EuroHPC joint undertaking have been to develop, deploy, extend and maintain the EU’s supercomputing, quantum computing and data infrastructure ecosystem, promote its use, support the development of supercomputing system components, technologies and knowledge and support the development of computing skills for European science and industry. Since its creation, the EuroHPC joint undertaking has procured nine supercomputers, located across Europe.


On 24 January 2024, the Commission proposed a regulation to amend the current legal framework (Council regulation (EU) 2021/1173), introducing an additional objective for the joint undertaking: supporting the development of an AI ecosystem in the EU by developing and operating AI factories. Member states reached political agreement on the amendment on 23 May.

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