Supercomputers, AI to assist in building digital twin of Earth

March 02, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Supercomputers, AI to assist in building digital twin of Earth
The Destination Earth (DestinE) project aims to build a digital twin of the Earth using supercomputers around Europe.

The European Union is starting work on a series of digital twin implementations that will eventually model the entire Earth.

The DestinE project will contribute to the region’s digital strategy and Green Deal, combining environmental, social and economic behavioural models, and is a key component of the European Strategy for Data. It is also intended to reinforce Europe’s industrial and technological capabilities in simulation, modelling, predictive data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as high performance computing.

The system will be able to perform high precision, dynamic simulations of the Earth’s natural systems (focusing on thematic domains, e.g. marine, land, coasts, atmosphere). It will be built over the next 7 to 10 years as part of the Digital Europe programme, working with Horizon Europe for research and the revamped Space programme for data.

At the heart of the project is a federated cloud-based modelling and simulation platform, providing access to data, advanced computing infrastructure (including high performance computing), software, AI applications and analytics. It will integrate digital twins to provide information, services, models, scenarios, simulations, forecasts, and visualisations. The platform will also enable application development and the integration of users’ own data.

This will use the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking that is investing €8bn in supercomputers across the member states.  . It is likely to be based at one of three main EuroHPC supercomputers currently being installed: LUMI in Finland, MareNostrum 5 in Spain or Leonardo in Italy.

Initially DestinE will serve public authorities but will gradually open up to scientific and industrial users, in order to spur innovation and enable the benchmarking of models and data.

The plan is to launch a cloud-based enabling platform and the first two digital twins by 2023, with for to five other digital twins by 2025 and offering services to public sector users for developing, monitoring and assessing the impact of proposed policy and legislative measures concerning the environment and climate.

The full digital twin of the Earth would be achieved through a convergence of the digital twins already offered through the platform form 2025 to 2030, says the plan.

ec.europea.eu

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