Barcelona will host the next great European supercomputer
The Barcelona Supercomputing Center– (BSC-CNS) will house one of the next big supercomputers in Europe, as announced by the European Commission today. The machine will be called MareNostrum 5 and will have a maximum output of 200 petaflops (200,000 trillion operations per second), which will multiply by 18 the core of the current MareNostrum 4 (11.1 petaflops), the center’s main supercomputer.
Until now, each member state of the EU had to finance its own machines, but, to compete globally in this area, European countries decided to join forces through the EuroHPC initiative (HPC stands for High Performance Computation, computer high performance in English). The European Commission will finance with 840 million euros the construction of eight new supercomputers that must enter service before 2021, three of them called pre-exescale (more than 150 petaflops) and five petascale (petaflops). The three most powerful machines will be located in Barcelona (MareNostrum 5 itself), in Bologna (Italy) and in Kajaani (Finland).
These new supercomputers will be the first step of a plan of the Commission to promote supercomputing in Europe and not be left behind in this strategic area that worldwide lead the US, China and Japan, currently with machines of 122, 93 and 10 , 5 petaflops. The next goal will be to build ex-escale supercomputers, that is, with an ability to calculate exaflops (one trillion operations per second), which are foreseen for 2023.
In the case of MareNostrum 5, the Commission will contribute 100 million euros. The rest of the cost, another 100 million, will be assumed by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the Generalitat de Catalunya, both bosses of the BSC, and the states that supported their candidacy: Portugal, Turkey and Croatia, although it has not yet been done official the distribution of the investment.
“I am convinced that the new supercomputers […] will boost Europe’s competitiveness in the digital area. We have demonstrated the strength of our European approach, which will bring concrete benefits to our citizens and help our small and medium-sized companies, “said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, in a statement from the European Commission. The new arsenal of supercomputers “is a big step forward for Europe to reach the next level of computing capacity; It will help us advance in future-oriented technologies such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence, robotics and data analysis, “according to Andrus Ansip, vice president of the Digital Single Market.
Another crucial objective is that European science and industry can process their data within the European Union, without having to rely on machines from other regions – right now, the EU consumes more than 30% of the world’s supercomputing resources, while within its territory only contributes 5% -.
The European consortium Cineca and the Finnish center CSC, which had the support of the northern countries, as well as the BSC, were presented in April to host the three pre-exescale supercomputers. The BSC had the backing of the Spanish State, the Generalitat, and the governments of Portugal, Croatia, Turkey and Ireland, which will be the six members of the consortium that will lead the MareNostrum 5.
The European Commission has selected the candidates by technical criteria on the planned location, which the BSC complied with, followed by a political negotiation in which the support that each candidature had attracted was assessed. All three have gotten the approval of the Commission.
“We are very excited that Spain is in the forefront after the work done for many years in supercomputing in Europe, which will put us in a very favorable position to address the developments in artificial intelligence that the country needs in many areas,” he said. Pedro Duque, Minister of Science, Innovation and Acting Universities, during the press conference following today’s Council of Ministers. “It is the culmination of a long Spanish tradition of support and strong commitment to supercomputing, which began in 2004 with the creation of the National Supercomputing Center and the launch in 2007 of the Spanish Supercomputing Network.”
The president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, has stated that the selection of Barcelona as the seat of one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe “will guarantee” that Catalonia “leads the digital and technological revolution”