The Barcelona Supercomputing Center-National Center for Supercomputing (BSC-CNS) has obtained the support of five states to build next year in Barcelona a supercomputer co-financed by the European Union twenty times more powerful than the current MareNostrum 4.
Croatia, Turkey and Ireland have joined the candidacy in recent weeks, which had been endorsed from the beginning by the governments of Spain, Portugal and the Generalitat. The BSC-CNS has formally submitted the application in Brussels on April 3 and will know on June 7 if it has been accepted.
If the Barcelona proposal is chosen, the machine will be called MareNostrum5 and most of its components will be installed in the new BSC-CNS building that will open this year.
The machine must be in service at the end of 2020
The EU initiative to co-finance the construction of supercomputers, which until now had been the responsibility of the member states, implies a change of strategy in European scientific policy so as not to lose competitiveness with respect to the United States, China and Japan.
The first call, to which the BSC-CNS opts, foresees an investment of 250 million euros in five years for the construction and maintenance of at least two supercomputers. The new machines must have a capacity of sustained calculation of 150 petaflops (or 150,000 trillion operations per second), which multiplies by more than 20 the capacity of the current MareNostrum 4.
The EU has committed to finance up to 50% of the new supercomputers. Finland and Italy have announced their intention to present rival candidatures of Barcelona.
The selection of the proposals that the EU finances will be based on a technical evaluation and a political negotiation.
For the technical evaluation, the BSC-CNS has the advantage of having been one of the institutions that has contributed the most in the last ten years to the construction of a network of European supercomputing -baza that also has the Italian candidacy of the Cineca center, located in the metropolitan area of Bologna-.
The candidacy of Barcelona has as competitors Italy and Finland
For political negotiation, having the support of five states can influence the final decision of which institutions build the supercomputers co-financed by the EU. The candidature of the Finnish supercomputing center CSC, in the Helsinki metropolitan area, has also garnered the support of several northern European states.
Portugal, which defends an Iberian network of supercomputing as a strategic technology to develop new industries, has committed to contribute 10% of the financing of MareNostrum 5.
The details of the economic agreements reached with Croatia, Turkey and Ireland have not been made public. As reported by the BSC-CNS, Croatia and Turkey will become members of the consortium that will build and manage the new supercomputer. Ireland will not join the consortium for now, although it supports Barcelona's candidacy with the European Union and considers the option of joining the consortium in the future.