Spain now has the Marenostrum 5, a new supercomputer that, with a capacity of up to 314,000 trillion calculations per second, provides Europe with the most advanced technology in the field of supercomputing. It will accelerate research in Artificial Intelligence, among other cutting-edge scientific fields, and will host the first two quantum computers manufactured with European technology.
The European Union and Spain presented this Thursday the MareNostrum 5, the new world-class European supercomputer, in an event held at the facilities of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS) attended by the President of the Government. , Pedro Sanchezthe president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonesthe Minister of Science, Diana Morantthe mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collbonithe director general of the Directorate General for Communication, Networks, Content and Technology of the European Commission, Roberto Violathe director of the BSC-CNS, Mateo Valeroand the rector of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Daniel Crespo.
The inauguration of this important infrastructure coincides with the end of the semester of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, whose priorities include the need to promote technological innovation as a fundamental element to achieve technological sovereignty in Europe.
MareNostrum 5, co-financed by the European Union and a consortium of countries led by Spain, thus becomes part of the select group of the ten most powerful supercomputers in the world and one of the three most powerful in Europe.
Record calculations per second
Marenostrum 5 has a maximum performance of 314 floating point operations per second (petaflops), allowing it to perform up to 314,000 trillion calculations per second. It also stands out for its large storage capacity, going from the 15 petabytes available in its previous version (MareNostrum 4) to 650 Pbytes, as well as because it is 10,000 times more powerful than the Marenostrum 1.
In addition, it has an interconnection network that allows all the system nodes, more than 8,000 in total, to cooperate by exchanging information to solve the most complex problems, significantly improving the speed of operation, in time and consumption, compared to MareNostrum 4.
The capabilities and versatility of this new supercomputer will be fundamental to provide Europe with the most advanced technology in the field of supercomputing and to accelerate the capacity to research with artificial intelligence, allowing new scientific advances that will help solve global challenges, highlights the BSC. -CNS.
MareNostrum 5’s unique architecture has been designed to offer researchers the best technology available to search for answers to the big questions in science.
It is a heterogeneous machine that combines two very different systems: one general purpose partitiondedicated to classical computing, and a accelerated partitiondesigned to expand the frontiers of knowledge in artificial intelligence.
Both systems, separately, are among the 20 most capable supercomputers in the world, in 19th and 8th places respectively, making the BSC the only supercomputing center in Europe with two entries in the top 20 of the ranking. LINPACK that classifies the 500 most powerful supercomputers on the planet.
Solve complex problems
The so-called general purpose partition (CPU) is the largest in the world, with a peak performance of 45.4 petaflops (45.4 trillion calculations per second).
This part of the supercomputer, ranked 19th in the LINPACK ranking, is especially designed to solve complex scientific problems due to its ability to divide the machine’s resources to execute multiple tasks or programs simultaneously, instead of being dedicated exclusively to a particular task. .
This allows for greater flexibility and improves efficiency, as different users or projects will be able to use the supercomputer at the same time depending on their needs.
For its part, the so-called accelerated partition (GPU) is the third most powerful in Europe and eighth in the world according to the LINPACK ranking, with a peak performance of 260 petaflops (260,000 trillion calculations per second). It is specially designed to enhance Artificial Intelligence.
This part of the supercomputer has 4,480 next-generation processors, hardware accelerators created to perform specific tasks more efficiently than general-purpose processors, allowing intensive calculations to be accelerated in areas crucial to research such as artificial intelligence or simulation. numerical.
The main use of MareNostrum 5 is for research by Spanish and European scientists, although it will also be available for research in companies, under special conditions.
By increasing computing power, system memory and the number of cores, MareNostrum 5 will help solve more and more complex problems, explains the BSC-CNS.
For example, climate change simulations may have higher resolution, going from representing phenomena with spatial scales of hundreds of kilometers to including processes that take place on scales of a few kilometers, which will make predictions much more precise and reliable.
In this sense, thanks to MareNostrum 5, Spain will have a key role in the project Destination Earth of the European Union, whose objective is to develop a complete virtual replica of planet Earth that allows predicting the effects of climate change, and creating and testing scenarios for more sustainable development.
Another objective of MareNostrum 5 is to create digital twins, that is, virtual replicas of complex phenomena that depend on thousands of variables, such as the weather, a disease or a human organ. These digital twins make it possible to understand and predict the behavior of these phenomena, as well as optimize their management or treatment.
In the same way, much more complex problems of artificial intelligence and analysis of large volumes of data can be addressed.
Thus, for example, massive language models can be generated by training much larger neural networks with hundreds of billions of parameters, using data sets infinitely larger than those currently available. This represents a disruptive change in the field and opens up until now unthinkable possibilities.
In addition to climate predictions and large language models, MareNostrum 5 is specially designed to strengthen European medical research in the design of new drugs, vaccine development and virus spread simulations.
Materials science and engineering
It will also be a crucial tool for materials science and engineering, which will be able to benefit from the potential of the new supercomputer in areas such as simulation-based aircraft design and optimization and data management to achieve safer, cleaner and more efficient aviation. efficient.
Likewise, the new European supercomputer will serve to advance in the simulation of generation processes of new forms of energy such as nuclear fusion.
Integrated quantum computers
In the coming months, MareNostrum 5 is also expected to integrate two quantum computers, a product of European technology.
The first will be the quantum computer of the Spanish Supercomputing Network (RES), which is part of the Quantum Spain initiative promoted by the Ministry of Digital Transformation through the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence (SEDIA). This first quantum computer, as we reported in another article, is expected to begin its career with a minimum of two qubitsbut with the perspective of reaching 20 or 25 qubits in a few years.
The second quantum computer that is also built at the BSC-CNS is part of the European quantum computing network.
Both quantum computers will be among the first to come into operation in southern Europe.
Marenostrum 6 and safe AI
The inauguration that took place today has revealed several important things: that the Marenostrum 6that Catalonia and Spain are configured as one of the vectors of the long-awaited technological sovereignty of Europe (now called strategic autonomy), and that it is urgent, to ensure this strength, for the EU to acquire the capacity to manufacture the chips that this ambition demands, something that, according to Mateo Valero, we are in a position to achieve with relative ease.
The different speakers have also insisted on the benefits of this supertechnology, suggesting that Spain opts for technological development, particularly in the field of AI, based on security and respect for citizen rights, as proposed by the AI Law of the EU recently approved in the European Parliament.