Spain’s most powerful supercomputer launch delayed

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Spain's most powerful supercomputer launch delayed
Spain’s most powerful supercomputer launch delayed. image: Twitter

Spain’s most powerful supercomputer launch has been delayed in Barcelona.

The much-anticipated launch of Barcelona’s ‘Marenostrum 5’ supercomputer has been delayed. The inauguration, which was initially planned for early 2021, is pending due to Covid-19 and bureaucratic problems and has now been moved back again to a date yet to be finalised.

Marenostrum is at present, the most powerful computer in Spain, and since 2004, four versions have been installed. The computer works as a simulator; all stored data is used to create unique situations to improve every scientific field with predictive models of behaviour.

Marenostrum will be used in every scientific field. For instance, it will be very useful in Medicine because doctors can decide which treatment to use in a patient by comparing old and new cases- with instantaneous results- using the supercomputer.

In 2019, the European Commission chose the BSC, along with other EU member States, such as Bulgaria, Finland or Italy, to be part of the initiative European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking.

Basically, the project aims to create super-powerful computers in order to experiment with new technologies for the next generation of supercomputers in Europe. Mare Nostrum 5 was the highest UE investment in research infrastructure in Spain, about 100 million euros.

What can supercomputers be used for?

The best supercomputers fill rooms, cost millions, and are thousands of times faster than your computer at home. They are usually used for complex scientific problems involving lots of maths.

They are used to predict the weather, model brains, or help predict the result of a nuclear explosion, for example. Some are used to test the strength of encryption (computer security) methods.

They have been used to model the spread of swine flu, coronavirus, to predict climate change, and even to understand the Big Bang at the beginning of the Universe. However, technology moves quickly, as an example, a top-end desktop computer today calculates at the same speed as a supercomputer did 10 years ago.

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