Welcome to ERCET

ERCET (European Research Center for Exascale Technology) is a public-private science alliance between knowledge institutes, industry and governments. The aim is to develop breakthrough technologies involving exascale computing. At this point, ERCET is still in its early stages. In March 2015, we submitted our proposal for creating a long-term program to the Provinces of Groningen and Drenthe.  

Research themes

These are the domains we’re currently focusing on:

  • Data handling (improving transport, analysis and storage of data, data privacy and security)
  • Core technology
    • material science
    • computer science
  • Value areas (research applied to specific sectors)
    • virtual UMC (university medical center)
    • radio astronomy
    • optical and space science
    • energy transition
    • water & climate


‘Exascale’ defined

Exascale is the future generation of advanced computer systems that execute 1018 operations per second to process exabytes of information. One exabyte is about 19,000 times the amount of information contained in all the books ever written. 

The amount of digital data will increase exponentially in the coming decades, often referred to as big data. Its sheer volume presents new and extremely high demands on issues such as memory size, processing power, data storage, energy use, search algorithms and visualization methods.


Fundamental and applied research

For ERCET, disseminating knowledge to create a tangible economic impact is a goal in itself. For each research project, a key requirement is that it serves an economic purpose and is potentially applicable in a greater societal context.

This means that ERCET will always combine fundamental and applied research. It also means that ERCET will share its findings and technologies with all the start-ups, SME's and larger companies connected to its platform. Knowledge dissemination is key.



ERCET is the catalyst for generating and sharing new knowledge in the field of big data, paving the way for a new supranational data economy. It is based on the proven concept of what IBM calls the Triple Helix: a public-private science alliance, where government, private companies and knowledge institutes join forces in a sustainable collaboration.





“With the signing of the agreement, ERCET has formally laid a foundation to give a strong boost to the northern Dutch economy in the field of Big Data.”

The King’s Commissioner for the Province of Groningen, Max van den Berg

ERCET’s origins

ERCET’s founding fathers are the University of Groningen (UOG), the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and IBM. In June 2014, UOG, ASTRON and IBM signed the collaboration agreement which officially signalled the start of ERCET.

Left to right: Marco de Vos, managing director of ASTRON,
Sibrand Poppema, president of the University of Groningen
and Harry van Dorenmalen, chairman IBM Europe and general manager IBM Netherlands.