At the recent conference “Megatrends 2050: Shaping the future with scientific foresight”, Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation, referred to the November 2022 publication of the European Commission’s Megatrends Hub. It identified the acceleration of technological change and hyperconnectivity as one of the main megatrends.

The exponential growth of the world’s data is largely driven by all the technologies that capture and retrieve it: Internet of Things, mobile applications, social networks…

All this accumulated data creates no economic value if it is not exploited

Sasha Baillie

In November 2018, an IDC report indicated that all of the world’s data stored on DVDs stacked on top of each other was two-thirds the distance from Earth to the moon. By 2025, this “stack” will be 23 times that same Earth-Moon distance.

“But all this accumulated data creates no economic value if it is not exploited,” Baillie said. In this area, there is no shortage of scenarios. For example, the analysis of data from Earth observation can help us understand the evolution of our ecosystems or, even better, predict the occurrence of natural disasters.

On an industrial scale, for a production company, the analysis of data collected throughout the production chain allows to optimise processes, to anticipate maintenance needs, but also to improve the safety and protection of employees.

“Giving benchmarks and guidance”

These two examples, among many others, involve a range of challenges, legislative, technical, sometimes ethical. “But they also entail multiple economic opportunities for transforming our economy and businesses,” Baillie assures.

It is precisely to tackle head-on all of these opportunities related to the data economy that the Luxembourg government has published “The Data-Driven Innovation Strategy for the Development of a Trusted and Sustainable Economy in Luxembourg” in 2019, and then, in 2021, “Ons Wirtschaft vu Muer,” a roadmap for a competitive and sustainable economy.

“These strategic documents are essential on three levels,” Baillie explains. “First, to address these megatrends at the national level from the perspective of the development of our economy; second, to provide benchmarks and direction that is beneficial for the economy and businesses; and third, to define the structuring measures and projects that need to be implemented to meet these challenges and opportunities.”

The advantages of high-performance computing

These include, for example, the introduction of the MeluXina supercomputer, which was inaugurated in 2021, with the aim of making high-performance computing (HPC) accessible to all of our economic players, including companies, regardless of their size.

A supercomputer of this kind makes it possible to analyse very large volumes of data in record time. In the automotive industry, for example, it can replace real-life tests of a vehicle’s aerodynamic performance with completely virtual simulations. This saves considerable time and costs.

To date, more than 30 Luxembourg companies and institutions use MeluXina.

Making HPC accessible to all

In addition, a National Competence Centre for supercomputing has been set up jointly by the University of Luxembourg, Luxprovide and Luxinnovation, as part of a European project. This Centre is there to guide, advise and accompany companies, researchers and public administrations who wish to launch, perhaps for the first time, projects based on HPC.

“In order to accelerate the adoption of HPC in Luxembourg, Luxinnovation has also carried out a mapping of potential users who could benefit from access to a supercomputer for their activities. We have identified about 70 players with a very high potential for adoption,” says Sara Bouchon, Director Market Intelligence at Luxinnovation. Moreover, the great success of the last Supercomputing Day shows the growing interest of companies in the subject.

In addition, to respond more specifically to the digital transformation needs of the manufacturing industry, and in particular the use of their data, Luxinnovation has set up the Luxembourg Digital Innovation Hub. This initiative, now attached to the European Digital Innovation Hub, aims at guiding Luxembourg’s industry players towards the relevant knowledge and funding to enable them to carry out their digital transformation projects.

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