Today, the PRACE – Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe initiative was officially launched in Barcelona. More than 20 European countries, including Portugal, are part of the effort to create conditions for European researchers to improve the conditions for carrying out research and development projects. Objective: to combine dispersed computing capacity with common goals and create a unique computing infrastructure in Europe, with a capacity 100 times greater than the largest supercomputer in the world.
With an investment of 500 million euros supported mainly by Spain, France, Italy and Germany (which each contributed 100 million euros to the project), the initiative aims to create conditions for the cross-border access of different countries to computing capacity and opens doors to European R&D to work at a rate of more than 1000 trillion calculations per second, according to data provided by the European Commission in a press release.
Jugene, the largest European supercomputer and the fifth fastest in the world, will be the first computer system available to European researchers under the PRACE initiative, which today has been set up as a non-profit association. From 2011 and until 2015 more computers from other parts of Europe add computing capacity to the project.
The project will contribute to accelerate the pace of research in areas such as the development of more effective solar cells or the effect of medicines on the human body, also exemplifies the European Commission, which contributes 70 million euros to the implementation of PRACE. The remaining 30 million were provided by 16 more countries, including Portugal, which, like the other countries involved, also contributes with resources and knowledge.
It is recalled that in September last year, as TeK wrote, it was revealed that the provisional headquarters of PRACE would be in Portugal. At the time Manuel Fiolhais, Director of the Center for Computational Physics at the University of Coimbra, considered that the decision was «the recognition of the effort that the University of Coimbra has been making for the development of supercomputing in Portugal».
It was also explained, in a press release released on the subject, that Portuguese participation in the project was ensured by the Center for Computational Physics at the University of Coimbra (UC), which operates the Milipeia supercomputer.