A new supercomputer was handed over in Europe

Brussels is investing one billion euros in high-performance computers and we already have the first results. The world’s fastest computer will soon be in Germany. The European Union celebrates itself as the new “superpower” of the sector.

The EU has caught up with the United States of America in the race for supercomputers, as the world’s fourth fastest computer was put into operation in Bologna. THE Leonardo named device has a computing power of 250 petaflops. The system was built by the French IT company Atos and is based on the Bullsequana XH2000 architecture. It uses two main computing modules called Booster and Data Centric, which are capable of handling different workloads. The former will be further developed later as Intel’s fourth-generation Sapphire Rapids Xeon Scalable processors become available, expected next year.

Leonardo can also be used for the most demanding tasks, such as biomedicine, modeling the human brain and developing artificial intelligence. It is equipped with about 3,500 Intel Xeon processors and 14,000 Nvidia A100 graphics chips. In the future, the equipment can be accelerated by integrating quantum processors. In June, the world’s third fastest computer was launched in Kajaani, Finland. The performance of LUMI is 309 petaflops. This may be followed next spring by Marenostrum 5, which will move to the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. Marenostrum 5 is also being built by Atos. Leonardo and Lumi will have different architectures: the manufacturer will combine Intel’s Sapphire Rapids processors with Nvidia’s Grace chips, making them more suitable for general computing and artificial intelligence tasks.

Europe’s first exascale computer is planned for late 2023 stands then into operation. The next-generation supercomputer – project name Jupiter – will provide a performance of more than a thousand petaflops and can immediately take the first place. Where Frontier in California is now, followed by Fugaku in Japan. “Jupiter will probably be even faster than Frontier,” an EU official said.

Jupiter will be located at the Jülich Supercomputing Center (JSC) in Germany. However, American specialists at Argonne National Laboratory are already working on their new, higher-performance exascale system Aurora, intended to succeed Frontier, which is still delayed due to problems with Intel Sapphire Rapids processors. The services of the EuroHPC supercomputers will be available through the cloud. All computers will be connected by an HPC infrastructure with terabit connectivity. At EuroHPC, they talk about a “quite impressive network” not without pride.

The European strategy seems to have paid off: in 2018, the European Commission and Member States launched the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHP Joint Undertaking). With the support of one billion euros – half of which comes from the European Union and half from national budgets – the continent should be in the top ten in the field of supercomputers. “We are now a computing superpower” – highlighted a senior European Union official.

The computing power of Jupiter, Leonardo et al, will be made available to European scientists, who can use it for complex, long-term calculations of the world’s climate, for example, or for medical research. Supercomputers have also been used to develop vaccines against the coronavirus. Devices are also indispensable for training artificial intelligence. Access to equipment is done according to certain priorities. Half of the capacity is reserved for European projects, the rest is distributed at the national level. In Europe, the demand for computing power significantly exceeds the supply, but from 2024, 3,000 petaflops will be available across Europe.

The hardware of European supercomputers comes either from the American HP or the French company Atos. In parallel, the next technological leap is already underway: in October, the European Commission announced that quantum computers will be operating at six locations in the second half of 2023. They would be integrated into the supercomputer network and thus increase the computing power. The hardware and software will come exclusively from the EU.

Source: SG.hu Hírmagazin – IT/Tech by sg.hu.

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