Bologna, Italy has now 4th fastest supercomputer in the world

Inaugration of Leonardo Supercomputer in Bologna, Italy

LEONARDO, the newest EuroHPC pre-exascale supercomputer ranked as the 4th fastest in the world, at the Bologna Technopole in Italy is officially inaugurated by The European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) and CINECA.

Leonardo is a supercomputer developed by CINECA, a consortium of Italian universities and research institutions, in partnership with IBM. It is one of the fastest supercomputers in Europe and is located at the CINECA headquarters in Bologna, Italy. Supercomputers are powerful computers that are capable of performing extremely complex calculations at high speeds. They are often used for scientific research, weather modeling, and other applications that require large amounts of computational power.

The new flagship machine has been developed jointly by CINECA (Center for Research on Advanced Information and Communication Technology), a national research institute located in Turin, Italy, and GENCI (Gruppo ENEA – European Space Agency), an industry centre located in Padua, Italy. The new supercomputer is one of three that will be able to support scientific research at least ten times more efficiently than current systems.

Leonardo is based on Cray’s XC40-C50 hybrid computer platform which was chosen after a tender process with almost 50 candidates. It has two nodes each with two Intel Xeon Gold 6154 processors and two NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. The system was installed at CINECA where it will be used for high performance computing applications related to seismology, earth sciences, climate modelling, engineering simulation and cosmology.

Anders Dam Jensen, Executive Director of the EuroHPC JU, said:

“I am very pleased to celebrate the inauguration of LEONARDO today, particularly after the excellent global ranking it received just a few days ago.  

Beyond being an incredibly powerful machine and a further step towards exascale, Leonardo’s architecture also makes it a machine which will be particularly usable by a great number of European users and an important tool for European research and industry.” 

Francesco Ubertini, President of Cineca, said:

“It is a great satisfaction for me to officially inaugurate the European supercomputer Leonardo, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. The result of a major investment by Europe, with the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, and the Ministry of University and Research. It is a complex project, starting from the design of the system, configured to support a large, sustainability-oriented production capacity, to the construction of the datacenter that houses it, a custom-built house under Pier Luigi Nervi’s vault at the Tecnopolo in Bologna.

Leonardo is not episodic or fortuitous; it is part of Cineca’s history, which began more than 50 years ago.  If Cineca today is one of the most recognized supercomputing centers in the world, it is thanks to the support of the national system of research institutions, from the guiding action of the national government, and from the ability to develop high-level specialised skills to work alongside scientists and technologists, research institutions and companies. Leonardo, in fact, is not an isolated system but the center of an ecosystem that multiplies opportunities and triggers new trajectories, some already concrete, others that today we only glimpse or imagine and that could soon become reality. 

Leonardo is not an end but a means; it has value not for itself but for what it enables. To the scientific community first and foremost, but also to the economic-productive world and the Public Administration: from observing the cosmos to materials science, from space economy to climate change, from genomics to the digital twins of cities and the Earth, from forecasting extreme natural events to personalized medicine, from renewable energy to cybersecurity, from agrifood to cultural heritage, to countering fraud.

It will be up to each and every one of us to ensure that Leonardo generates the expected opportunities, and develops its full potential by raising the frontier of knowledge, to give a strong impulse to the country’s and Europe’s digital innovation.”

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