the European Commission (EC) announced that the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) would be the official site to host the installation of the prestigious MareNostrum 5, one of the most emblematic supercomputers at global level.
The MareNostrum 5 will include an experimental platform to ensure, among other features, the technological independency of the European continent, when the United States or China are positioned as the giants of the computing industry.
The Barcelona’s supercomputer, which is expected to be operational during 5 years and will be 17 times more powerful than the current MareNostrum4, will be installed in a new building of 700 m2, next to the Torre Girona chapel, at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. This great research ally, with its capacity to process up to 300,000 trillion calculations per second, will be operational from the 31st of December 2020.
The entire Project will have a cost of 223 million euros, of which 50% will be financed by the European Union (EU) and the other 50% will be assumed by the consortium who supported the Barcelona Supercomputing Center candidacy, which is formed by the Departament d’Empresa i Coneixement of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and Portugal, Croatia and Turkey, as European collaborators. Also, Ireland is currently studying the possibility of joining the candidacy as it also supported the proposal at a political level.
By implementing this new facility, the BSC will be positioned as one of the leading centers in sectors such as medicine, biotechnology, earth sciences, astrophysics and IA, among others. In fact, Barcelona Supercomputing Center has, in recent years, managed to release 185 articles published in peer-reviewed journals of international reputation, 20 doctoral theses and approximately 90 conferences. But the most important feature of this supercomputer is not its speed and efficiency in calculation processes, but the introduction of an experimental platform to create technologies for future generations of supercomputers. Ultimately, the MareNostrum 5 will have the purpose of ensuring the European computing sovereignty and, thus, stop depending on other countries. In this regard, MareNostrum 6 – expected to be launched by 2025 – will be designed using parts all sourced in Europe.
The new facilities require a very high electrical power to operate, approximately 15MW. To meet such requirement a new subterranean 110 kV power line is to be created, more than 1.2km in length, in a double circuit, as well as a new subterranean substation with 110kV GIS cells and 2 25MVA-110/25kV transformers. Also, it is necessary to provide the substation with the corresponding primary medium-voltage cells and to build a new 25kV distribution network to interconnect the entire facility. As successful bidder in the 2 public tender processes promoted by BSC, IM3 will carry out the construction project and the phase of technical assistance during the tender process, as well as the site management during the works and implementation of all these new structures.
The award of these contracts has been very well received among the experts of the multinational company IM3, as it gives them the opportunity of collaborating in one of the most ambitious computing projects at international level, contributing to the positioning of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center as the heart of supercomputing in Europe.