Fortissimo: a boost for European business

Author: Mark Sawyer
Posted: 10 Sep 2018 | 00:00

December 2018 marks the end of the Fortissimo project. EPCC has been collaborating in the programme since 2013, and during this time 92 business experiments have been carried out with over 100 small European companies, many of which had no previous experience of using HPC.

The overall purpose of Fortissimo was to demonstrate that the benefits which the cloud has brought to enterprise computing can be replicated in engineering fields such as modelling and simulation, and also in high-performance data-analytics. Cloud computing reduces an enterprise’s cost and complexity by removing the need for it to buy and operate its own computing equipment. Instead it can access services provided by third parties, allowing it to focus on its core expertise.

Fortissimo has shown that similar benefits can be obtained by offering high performance computing (HPC) in this way. Most small companies cannot afford the high entry cost of acquiring and operating an HPC system, even though it is a proven technology. By providing access to HPC systems as a service, Fortissimo has allowed companies to trial engineering techniques that were previously out of reach.

Access to resources is, however,  only part of the solution. Another vital component is expertise, whether this is related directly to HPC or associated with the specific business in question. The Fortissimo approach was to bring together the necessary expertise in small partnerships that could then focus on a specific business problem. There was a stringent selection process for these experiments, with a series of competitive calls for proposals. We learned that there is great demand to trial HPC in this way, with the calls being oversubscribed almost ten-fold.

The Fortissimo experiments came from a diverse range of industry sectors. You can read about each experiment on the Fortissimo website:

Fortissimo Marketplace

The Fortissimo project led directly to the creation of the Fortissimo Marketplace, which offers services developed in the experiments and by HPC centres and other providers. This Marketplace will enable companies to access advanced modelling, simulation and data-analytics services using a pay-per-use model, with the ultimate aim of improving the competitiveness of the European economy.

Fortissimo Marketplace:

Image: Swedish SME Koenigsegg develops and produces high-performance, limited-edition motor vehicles. Its use of HPC-based simulation for the production of a new car configuration led to a 30% saving in design costs, a reduction of 50% in wind tunnel and physical testing, a 60% saving in prototyping costs, and a 30% shortening of time to market. Image courtesy Koenigsegg.


Mark Sawyer, EPCC

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