Skip to main content
Shaping Europe’s digital future
Event report | Publication

Digital Autonomy in the Computing Continuum

On 11 November 2021, the European Commission organised a workshop on “Digital Autonomy in the Computing Continuum: From Cloud to Edge to IoT for European Data”, bringing together experts from industry and academia as well as those seeking to learn about existing work and future funding opportunities in the area of Cloud-Edge-IoT.

Digital Autonomy in the Computing Continuum: Highlights

The Digital Autonomy in the Computing Continuum workshop was conceived in collaboration with Horizon 2020-funded projects H-CLOUD, HUB4CLOUD and EU-IoT, with support from SWForum, and set out to discuss how Europe can achieve a secure, interoperable and sustainable computing infrastructure “from cloud to edge to IoT”.

The event covered three topics that are open under the current call in the Horizon Europe 2021-2022 work programme. This consisted of two back-to-back sessions focusing on cognitive cloud and open source, with a parallel session on swarm computing, followed by an afternoon discussion that delved into the 2023-2024 work programme.

  • Information on Horizon Europe Cluster 4 “Digital, Industry and Space” is available here.

The Computing Continuum in Horizon Europe’s 2021-2022 Work Programme

The workshop kicked off with a session on cognitive cloud. Here the Commission elaborated on the content of the related call, which envisions that AI will transform current clouds into intelligent clouds, leading to higher automation on different aspects of the computing continuum.

  • Details on the “Cognitive cloud: AI-enabled computing continuum” call (HORIZON-CL4-2022-DATA-01-02) are available here.

The following session on open source for digital autonomy included a description of the Commission’s work on open source through various initiatives, which will also occur in upcoming calls, focusing on the European processor initiative in data centres. This helped to identify fields in computing architectures that require open alternatives, and defined support priorities for open source development.

  • Information on the “Open source for cloud-based services” call (HORIZON-CL4-2022-DIGITAL-EMERGING-01-26) can be found here.

A third session on decentralised intelligence and swarm computing discussed the work programme’s destination World Leading Data and Computing Technologies. They focused on the “Programming tools for decentralised intelligence and swarms” call under the area “From cloud to edge to IoT for European data”, covering agile secure architectures and programming environments for edge-connected nodes, with the goal of reinforcing Europe’s position in next-generation smart systems, building on European strengths in embedded devices and wireless networks.

  • Details on the “Programming tools for decentralised intelligence & swarms” call (HORIZON-CL4-2022-DATA-01-03) are here.

Shaping the Horizon Europe 2023-2024 Work Programme

In the afternoon session, next-generation IoT and edge computing experts including many industrial representatives exchanged views on a strategic European vision for the computing continuum. Here the diverse speakers discussed the above topics building on previous publications from initiatives like EPOSS, AIOTI, GAIA-X, NESSI and ECS, consultations and workshops, and contributions were added from interested attendees.

Experts agreed that to play a key role in the emerging data economy, European industry has to work together to seize the opportunities in managing the computing continuum. A common framework for sharing resources and data, monetising data value and nurturing decentralised ecosystems were seen as success factors for Europe to differentiate itself in global markets.


The workshop was successful in discussing the investment that should take priority under the Horizon Europe 2023-2024 work programme. Participants explored themes like the cognitive cloud, open source in a computing continuum and swarm computing from a technology, research and application perspective, with industrial cooperation being pertinent in all sessions.

The nature of the event, combining EU landscaping and vision with input from a variety of speakers and appropriate questions from participants, set the premise for a fruitful conversation among European stakeholders on research in the scope of the computing continuum. This was a stepping-stone for the Commission and the European research community towards the 2022 Cloud-Edge-IoT calls and future advancements to be addressed in the 2023-2024 work programme.

More information

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

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


Executive Summary - Digital Autonomy in the Computing Continuum