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IP/09/117

Brussels, 23 January 2009

Commission puts Europe's supercomputers on the path to sustainable energy sources

Cooperation between researchers into a potentially massive new source of sustainable energy and European supercomputers promises to speed up work that could supply the energy needs of the planet. Today the European Commission announced it will give scientists all over Europe working on nuclear fusion, which taps energy from reactions like those that heat the sun, dedicated access to the network of the most powerful national supercomputers in Europe (DEISA). This will allow them to carry out complex parts of their work, such as simulations of a fusion reactor's operation. DEISA, Europe's distributed high-performance computing service, uses Europe's GÉANT (MEMO/08/133), the world's largest computer network to share the huge amounts of data and processing power of Europe's supercomputers, and is receiving €26 million from the EU from 2004-2011. The scientists are part of an ongoing global research project, ITER (latin word for 'the path'), that aims to demonstrate the potential of fusion power as a clean, safe and lasting power source. Possible sources of fusion fuel are widely available, and one gram of fuel could provide as much energy as 11 tons of coal. The Commission is promoting the researchers' access to European supercomputing facilities to contribute to the work of ITER the world-wide fusion energy experiment that is being built in France.

“We expect the new partnership between the supercomputing services of DEISA and the European nuclear fusion community to make an enormous contribution to nuclear fusion's potential as a viable energy source and power Europe's role in this quest. This shows how pooling its best scientists and infrastructures helps Europe's scientific community remain at the forefront of global research," said Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "The long relationship of trust between the most renowned national supercomputing centres and the Commission is now paying off in key areas of European research. Advancing the study of fusion power could bring us closer to a potential answer to Europe's energy needs."

“European scientists working on fusion have already greatly benefited from European supercomputing services for several years. Essential simulations can now be performed with the full power of modern supercomputers”, said Dr. Hermann Lederer, head of application support from the German Supercomputing Centre RZG.

“Large-scale simulations of nuclear fusion and material properties on cutting-edge supercomputers are essential to the operation and design of present and future fusion experiments,” said Prof. Frank Jenko from the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics.

Scientists are working to unlock the massive power potential of nuclear fusion to supply the energy needs of the planet. ITER, the world-wide project to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power, involves scientists from 25 European countries and all over the globe, and is being built in France (Cadarache, South of France).

Today the Commission announced it will give these scientists access to DEISA (Distributed European Infrastructure for Supercomputing Applications), Europe’s consortium of leading supercomputing centres, which will provide them with essential supercomputing services and support for fusion related simulations. Supercomputing simulations play a crucial role in the design of fusion power plants and optimise their performance during operation.

DEISA currently operates 12 of the world’s 100 most powerful supercomputers, providing Europe's leading scientists with a powerful, unified and easy to use supercomputing environment.

Background:

The European Commission's research programme funds efforts to optimise Europe's best research infrastructures, to help create pan-European research interest to support the creation of novel research infrastructures and to help industry strengthen its knowledge base and technological know-how.

More information on research Infrastructures:

http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/e-infrastructure/home_en.html

The European Commission funded the DEISA project under research programmes from 2002-2006 and 2007-2013 with a total €26 million. DEISA is a consortium of leading national Supercomputing Centres in Europe to advance computational sciences in the area of supercomputing. The consortium operates a Europe-wide complex high performance computing infrastructure. More than 160 European research institutes and universities (and others from North and South America, Asia and Australia) use DEISA.

ITER is a joint international research project that aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power. The partners in the project are the European Union (represented by EURATOM), Japan, China, India, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the USA. ITER will be constructed in the South of France (Cadarache). Europe is the leading partner contributing near half of the total resources both in terms of personnel and funding.


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