Highlights of the EC Workshop “Digital Autonomy in the Computing Continuum”

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On 11 November 2021, the European Commission, in collaboration with H-CLOUD, HUB4CLOUD, EU-IoT, and SWForum, organised the virtual workshop “Digital Autonomy in the Computing Continuum” (more information, including recordings and presentations, here). The event gathered researchers, innovators, industrial stakeholders both from the supply and the demand side, SMEs/Start-ups, policy makers, standardisation experts, regulators, as well as relevant initiatives and projects, to exchange views on specific R&I topics, challenges, and opportunities and converge on priorities to guide future investments under Horizon Europe, Destination 3, area “From Cloud to Edge to IoT for European Data”.

The workshop kicked-off with a presentation by European Commission representatives of the new strategy “From Cloud to Edge to IoT for European Data”, which strives to allow European companies to regain leadership in the Data Economy. Hereafter, the event continued with three interactive discussion sessions on the Horizon Europe topics Cognitive Cloud (linked to the 2022-DATA-01-02 topic in Cluster 4), Open Source for Digital Autonomy (connected to the 2022-DIGITAL-EMERGING-01-26 topic in Cluster 4), and Decentralised Intelligence and Swarm Computing (related to the 2022-DATA-01-03 topic in Cluster 4). During the afternoon session, the discussion focused on exchanging views on a strategic European vision for the Computing Continuum and potential R&I priorities for the Work Programme 2023-24 and beyond.

Despite the diversity of organisations and stakeholder groups that were actively shaping the event, several common themes emerged from the discussions of the workshop. One important conclusion was that distributed and decentralised systems and systems-of-systems play an important role in a next step in system design. Moreover, workshop participants acknowledged that the prevalent heterogeneity in the Computing Continuum raises challenges at multiple levels, such as interoperability, scalability, and trust. As a solution to this challenge, participants recommended Openness, i.e., open-source software and hardware, open interfaces and standards relevant for emerging hardware, data spaces, APIs, ABIs and communities. All insights and recommendations of the workshop are summarised in a short version of the event report that is now available. An extended version will be published soon.

As a follow-up to this workshop, the European Commission currently invites stakeholders from industry, academia, and innovators to participate in an Information and Virtual Brokerage Session on 2 February 2022, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm CET. The open and free half-day virtual event will introduce the three Horizon Europe calls “Cognitive Cloud: AI-enabled computing continuum from Cloud to Edge (RIA)”, “Open source for cloud-based services (RIA)“, and “Programming tools for decentralised intelligence and swarms (RIA)”.

The event offers a vibrant international networking experience to forge winning partnerships with academics, researchers, industrial stakeholders, and SMEs. Event participants will have the unique opportunity to pitch new concepts and applications, proposal ideas, and expertise in front of leading research organisations and cutting-edge innovators from across industry.