Europe chooses Barcelona to install MareNostrum 5, a pre-exascale supercomputer that will become one of the most powerful in the world

The European Commission announces that the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) has been chosen as the venue to install one of the three pre-exascale machines that prepares the EuroHPC project. The European Union could get to invest in this new supercomputer about 100 million euros, which would be the highest investment in a research infrastructure in Spain .

With this help, the National Supercomputing Center located in Barcelona will be able to build MareNostrum 5, the evolution of its current supercomputer. A machine designed to reach a peak power of 200 petaflops, up to 17 times higher than the current one (13.7 petaflops) and 10,000 times larger than the supercomputer that started the saga in 2004.

A power located within what is considered as pre-exascale, that is, those supercomputers able to overcome the barrier of 150 petaflops. To get the idea, none of the supercomputers existing in the world at the end of 2017 exceeded the barrier of 100 petaflops.

The road map is to make Europe a prominent place in the international race in the field of supercomputing. For Mateo Valero , director of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center: “Today’s announcement is also for us a recognition of our experience of more than 15 years of research”. An election in which he believes that we can compete against other foreign powers : “We have always thought that Europe should work together in a technological area in which we compete with such powerful countries as the United States, China and Japan, and we are very pleased to be able to say now that Barcelona will have one of the first supercomputers included in the new European supercomputing roadmap. ”

The MareNostrum 5 will be able to make a maximum of 200 billion trillion operations per second and the planned date is to start up on December 31, 2020 .

In addition to the investment of the EuroHPC project, the rest will be borne by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the Generalitat de Catalunya and the states that supported the candidature: Portugal, Turkey and Croatia , with contributions that are yet to be defined. In addition to Barcelona, ​​the European Union will build new supercomputers in Bologna (Italy) and Kajaani (Finland).

The dimensions of the MareNostrum 5 will be much higher than those of the current supercomputer . The new machine will be distributed between the Torre Girona chapel, where the MareNostrum 4 is located, and the lower floors of the new Barcelona SuperComputing Center building, located a short distance away.

The National Supercomputing Center of Barcelona has been active for more than fifteen years and has more than 600 highly qualified workers, not only from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), but also from more than 40 different countries.

Pedro Duque, Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, said that “the work that the EC is developing in this technological area so that Europe can continue competing with the United States, China and Japan, which have made great strides in this field”.

By the end of 2020, MareNostrum 5 will surpass all current supercomputers , including the Summit . However, both China and the United States already have large-scale projects underway to reach the ex- scale in 2021, with more than 1,000 petaflops .