(city), 22 April 2021

SparCity: the new collaborative project to create a supercomputing framework

  • SparCity, a new EuroHPC Joint Undertaking project, was launched
  • The project aims to build a sustainable exascale ecosystem and increasing Europe’s competitiveness
  • The project involves six player organisations in the area of high-performance computing from Germany, Norway, Portugal and Türkiye

Recently funded by the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU), the highly ranked SparCity just launched. With three years of duration and a total budget of 2.6M€, this collaborative project between 6 partners in 4 countries aims to build a sustainable exascale ecosystem and increase Europe’s competitiveness.

The main goal of SparCity is to create a supercomputing framework that will provide efficient algorithms and coherent tools specifically designed for maximising the performance and energy efficiency of sparse computations on emerging High Performance Computing systems, while also opening up new usage areas for sparse computations in data analytics and deep learning.

“When talking about sparse computations, people think of scientific applications, finite element methods, mesh computation, etc. However, this project will also open up new usage areas for sparse computation, including data analytics and deep learning. That is why it is a very impactful project.” says Dr Didem Unat, the coordinator of SparCity at Koç University.

To demonstrate the effectiveness, societal impact, and usability of the framework, the SparCity project will enhance the computing scale and energy efficiency of four challenging real-life applications that come from drastically different domains, namely, computational cardiology, social networks, bioinformatics and autonomous driving. By targeting this collection of challenging applications, SparCity will develop world-class, extreme-scale and energy-efficient HPC technologies.

SparCity involves partnerships with Sabanci Universitesi (Türkiye), Simula Research Laboratory (Norway), INESC-ID (Portugal), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (Germany) and Graphcore (Norway), with the coordination of Koç University (Türkiye).

“It is thus a great opportunity for researchers at Simula to collaborate with internationally leading experts, through these EuroHPC projects, to bring innovative use of HPC to real-world applications.” says Professor Xing Cai, head of the High Performance Computing department at Simula.

This is an excellent chance for my team at Sabancı University to share our expertise on HPC and work with great researchers on a challenging project which will hopefully change the way we handle extreme-scale problems using sparse data.” says Dr. Kamer Kaya, from Sabancı University.

Graphcore is committed to enabling next-generation techniques in AI compute, including innovative approaches to sparsity. Putting new hardware and software tools into the hands of researchers through the SparCity initiative will drive a virtuous cycle of discovery and deployment throughout Europe.” says Ola Tørudbakken, GM & SVP Systems at Graphcore.


“For INESC-ID, SparCity will leverage the efforts on the European low power processing technologies (in particular the European Processor Initiative) and contribute to the realisation of future exascale system architectures based on such technologies” says Prof. Leonel Sousa, Full Professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, and Senior Researcher of the High-Performance Computer Architectures and Systems Research Group.

Read more about SparCity here: http://sparcity.eu/


About the SparCity Consortium

Koç University

Koç University (KU) is an endowed, non-profit institution of higher education, located in Istanbul, Türkiye. Founded in 1993, its mission is to produce the most capable graduates by providing world-class education, advance the frontiers of knowledge and contribute to the benefit of Türkiye and humanity at large. Since its establishment, KU has quickly become one of the leading research universities in Türkiye, attracting accomplished, high-calibre researchers from all over the world.

Sabanci Universitesi

Established in 1996 in Istanbul, Sabanci University (SU) ranks among the highly-rated research institutions and it has been internationally recognized as one of the most innovative and research-oriented universities in Türkiye. SU adopted an integrated and multidimensional approach to designing its research strategy in alignment with its vision and mission and determined the following key strategic research objectives based on institutional, national and global assessments and developments.

Simula Research Laboratory

Simula Research Laboratory is an internationally leading Norwegian research institute in the key ICT areas of communication systems, scientific computing, software engineering, machine learning and cryptography. The primary goal of Simula is basic research, which has translated into numerous projects funded by the EU, Norwegian government or regional institutions.


INESC-ID is a private not for-profit institution, registered in 1999, officially declared of public interest, owned by Instituto Superior Técnico and INESC – Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores. INESC-ID is one of the most dynamic research institutes in Portugal, in the domains of information systems, data science, electronics and telecommunications. INESC-ID is recently evaluated by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology as an Excellent Unit and awarded by the Portuguese government with the status of Laboratório Associado. In close cooperation with its university partners, INESC-ID has emerged as an institution of reference, intensely involved in several high-visibility projects that have defined the national and international state of the art in these domains.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) participates in the project through the Munich Network Management Team (MNM-Team), an inter-organisational team consisting of researchers at LMU, the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) and the University of German Federal Armed Forces (UniBWM). The fundamental issues driving the research effort of the MNM-Team revolve around systems of networked, distributed, and parallel computers, including adequate management concepts, tools, and IT processes, middleware for grid and cloud systems as well as system software and programming models for high-performance computing.


Graphcore is the inventor of the Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), the world’s most sophisticated microprocessor, designed for the needs of current and next-generation artificial intelligence workloads. Graphcore’s datacenter AI compute systems, based around the IPU-M2000 and IPU-POD systems for scale-out, are used across a wide range of industries and within academia and research laboratories around the world. Investors in Graphcore include Demis Hassabis (Deepmind), Pieter Abbeel (UC Berkeley/OpenAI), Zoubin Ghahramani (University of Cambridge), BMW iVentures, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Microsoft, and leading European and international investors.



Dr Didem Unat, Koç University

Email: dunat@ku.edu.tr