Nordics as a hub for sustainable innovation across Europe

CSC’s views on the contribution of HPC/AI to the dramatic effect of digital technologies in the Nordics and the potential for Nordic countries to create competitive advantage and sustainability in today’s global economy.

Modern research both in academia and industry is dependent on digital technologies, such as HPC and AI. Therefore, the adoption of such technologies is key for countries to remain competitive and achieve scientific breakthroughs of high societal impact, such as understanding climate change, designing new medical treatments, or finding new materials.

The Nordic countries have been very successful in promoting the uptake of digital technologies and are among the most digitalized countries in Europe. This digital leadership is a significant competitive advantage, not only for the Nordics but for the whole of Europe. It must be continued and leveraged in the years to come, which is why we must focus on innovations such as high-performance computing that can power AL, ML, and data analytics.

A unique offering of supercomputing environments and expertise on a global scale

Renforsin Ranta business park in the City of Kajaani, Finland is the location of CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd.’s national supercomputing environments Puhti, Mahti and Allas and forthcoming LUMI EuroHPC supercomputer. Modern infrastructure includes supercomputers supporting artificial intelligence, secure data management, and reliable data communication networks to the world.

Kajaani data center is located in an old paper mill area and offers advantages such as energy and cost efficiency, societal and geographical stability, and high security standards, making it ideal for building a sustainable data center ecosystem. This data center, with its zero carbon footprint, is one of the most eco-efficient in the world and will thus be able to play its part in support reaching the ambitious climate targets. In addition, the area has unique expertise and education on data analytics and data center functionalities thanks to the Kajaani University of Applied Sciences and numerous ICT companies.

LUMI

Currently, the installation of LUMI, which is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, is being finalized. In addition to the remarkable computing power, LUMI is one of the world’s most advanced platforms for artificial intelligence and it will be one of the world’s best-known scientific instruments throughout its lifetime. With LUMI, European researchers can access world-class computing resources, which have a direct positive impact on European research in nearly all scientific disciplines. With 20% of its computing capacity reserved for industrial use, LUMI is also a unique opportunity for companies to develop R&D activities and boost innovation.

All the Nordic countries are members of the LUMI consortium, which consists of 10 countries, and have a solid tradition of collaboration in HPC training and education, user support and data management services. Building on this experience, the Nordic countries are well-placed to advance cross-border and cross-sector collaboration to develop state-of-the-art research ecosystems that connect HPC, AI, cloud, quantum computing, networks, and data repositories.

Nordic countries can provide ideal locations for digital infrastructures for a number of reasons including:

  • Abundant and stable supply of affordable renewable energy to power the infrastructures
  • Climate conditions that allow for free cooling of the infrastructures all year round
  • Highly capable telecommunication connections linking the infrastructures to users all over the word
  • Highly educated population with an innovative mindset
  • Stable societies capable of providing high security and safety standards as well as high levels of trust
  • Existing sites, for example CSC’s Kajaani ecosystem, with scaling opportunities and the surrounding infrastructure and knowhow already in place.

The joint values and culture of the Nordic countries stems from a shared history, and they aim to continue the long tradition of collaboration. Between 2020-2024, the Nordic Council of Ministers is implementing an action plan towards the vision that the Nordic Region will become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. This includes for instance actions within education and research, digitalization and innovation.

“In times of rapid change and complexity, no business or country can afford to underestimate the value of its data. Major advances mean that technology is no longer merely a facilitator: it is an engine driving the transformation of businesses and public services and is the defining force for new operating models across all sectors. Big Data, analytics and supercomputing are inevitably technical – but their utilization will not be driven by technologists alone. For every organization to be sustainable in the future, I believe these technologies should be on the radar of every leader in the Nordics to harness the power of these super tools which will transform into even bigger super tools in years to come.”

Sami Kuorilehto,
Client Executive Partner – Public Sector & Defense Finland, Sweden & Baltics, Atos

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