EPI

The European Processor Initiative (EPI) is a project currently implemented under the first stage of the Framework Partnership Agreement signed by the Consortium with the European Commission (FPA: 800928), whose aim is to design and implement a roadmap for a new family of low-power European processors for extreme scale computing, high-performance Big-Data and a range of emerging applications.

H2020 Funding for EPI

The FPA was first called for by European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme in the 2017 calls (H2020-ICT-2017-2), under the topic ICT-42-2017 Framework Partnership Agreement in European low-power microprocessor technologies.

The specific challenge of the topic announced that the EC’s aim was to support the creation of a world-class European High-Performance Computing and Big Data ecosystem built on two exascale computing machines, which rank in the first 3 places of the world. Such a processor would help “foster an HPC ecosystem capable of developing new European technology such as lower HPC chips“.

EPI consortium was chosen and proceeded to sign an agreement with the European Commission and plan the first stage of development. The Specific Grant Agreement of the European Processor Initiative (EPI-SGA1: 826647) was signed afterward and the consortium kicked off the project in December 2018.

EPI Goals The project will:

Develop the roadmap for the full length of the EPI Initiative
Develop the first generation of technologies through a co-design approach (IPs for general-purpose HPC processors, for accelerators, for trust chips, software stacks and boards)
Tape-out of the first-generation chip by integrating the IPs developed
Validate this chip in the HPC context and in the automative context using a demonstration platform.

The project aims to deliver a high-performance, low-power processor, implementing vector instructions and specific accelerators with high bandwidth memory access. The EPI processor will also meet high security and safety requirements.

This will be achieved through intensive use of simulation, development of a complete software stack and tape-out in the most advanced semiconductor process node. SGA1 will provide a competitive chip that can effectively address the requirements of the HPC, AI, automotive and trusted IT infrastructure markets.

EPI's Engagement in EU HPC Plans

This proposal comes as a result of European strategic plans to support the next generation of computing and data infrastructures, as EU efforts are now synchronized in establishment of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, a legal and funding entity which will enable pooling of the Union’s and national resources on High-Performance Computing to acquire, build and deploy in Europe the most powerful supercomputers of the world.

In order to spearhead these efforts, the EPI project is established as one of the cornerstones of this strategic plan – it gathers 26 partners from 10 European countries to develop the processor and ensure that the key competence of high-end chip design remains in Europe. European scientists and industry will be able to access exceptional levels of energy-efficient computing performance.

Roadmap and the way ahead for EPI

Roadmap
The design of a novel HPC processor family cannot be sustainable without thinking about possible additional markets that could support such long-term activities. Thus, EPI will cover other areas such as the automotive sector, ensuring the overall economic viability of the initiative.
EPI covers the complete range of expertise, skills and competencies needed to design and execute a sustainable roadmap for research and innovation in processor and computing technology fostering future exascale HPC and emerging applications, including Big Data, and automotive computing for autonomous vehicles.

Development of a new processor to be at the core of future computing systems will be divided into several streams:

  • Common Platform and global architecture stream
  • HPC general purpose processor stream
  • Accelerator stream
  • Automotive platform stream

The results from the two streams related to the general-purpose processor and accelerator chips will generate a heterogeneous, energy-efficient CPU for use in both standard and non-traditional and compute-intensive segments, e.g. automotive where SoA in autonomous driving requires significant computational resources.

EPI strives to maximize the synergies between the two streams and will work with existing EU initiatives on technology, infrastructure and applications, to position Europe as a world leader in HPC and emerging markets for exascale era such as automotive computing for autonomous driving.

Administrative Information

Project Title: European Processor Initiative
Project acronym: EPI
Call identifier: H2020-ICT-2016-2017/H2020-ICT-2017-2
Grand agreement number: 826647
Project coordinator Bull SAS
Duration: 36 months
Number of partners: 26
Starting date: Dec 1st 2018