Big Cover - 2023-09-14T152344.557

Excellence in HPC: Leonardo and CINECA

The first Italian pre-exascale HPC hosted at Cineca

HPC – High Performance Computing

Accelerator of R&D, enabler of multifactorial productivity at the center of the growth of the industrial sector and Data Economy Hubs: the opportunities of HPC for companies.

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High-performance computing, made possible by HPC technology, is a strategic tool for the challenges deriving from the “competitive sciences”, the corporate R&D sector, and the public decision-making process, in fields ranging from fundamental physics, climate science, biology, the life sciences and health, to supporting public decision-making in natural risk events.

In order to achieve these goals, it is necessary to rely on the synergy of advanced algorithms, data, and hardware based on the next generation of supercomputers.

Through the initiative of the EuroHPC partnership, Europe has decided to invest in advanced European pre-exascale computing infrastructure to satisfy growing computing and data analysis requirements, the latter produced both in industrial and academic research in Europe. The goal is to bring together European resources to develop high-end pre-exascale supercomputers, based on competitive European technology able to satisfy current computing challenges, with a particular focus on the environmental impact of the cluster.

It is in this context that Lutech Group contributed to the creation of Leonardo, one of the largest pre-exascale HPC clusters in Europe, based on BullSequana XH2000 technology and equipped with around 3,500 Intel Xeon processors and 14,000 Nvidia Ampere GPUs, providing performance of 10 ExaFLOPs in reduced precision, typical of AI applications. Leonardo has storage capacity of over 100 PetaBytes and aggregate computing power of 250 PetaFLOPs, in other words 250 million billion floating point operations per second. Compared to Marconi-100, the system previously installed at CINECA, the system boasts ten times more computing power.

The design of the system built by CINECA and Lutech has also allowed for the creation of a cluster:

  • With performance optimized to minimize the environmental impact, with the goal of also being one of the first clusters in the TopGreen500
  • With provision for two calculation types: one based on GPU accelerators and one for CPU-based computing
  • With both permanent storage and high-performance memory for storing the data required for the processing operations

Competitive Advantage

Today, modeling of scientific phenomena requires high-performance simulations, data analysis, and artificial intelligence, as well as displaying data via 3D graphical renderings. Thanks to the technologies used, an extremely high throughput is achieved with low energy consumption. There are numerous fields which will benefit from this computing power: in particular, precision healthcare, thanks to the availability of exascale supercomputers, will be able to provide a key contribution to fighting health emergencies. 

“The teamwork put into play to create Leonardo, involving synergy of numerous players from Lutech, Cineca and EuroHPC’s teams, is immediately bearing fruit and represents a strong driver of development. Leonardo will be a core enabler in the technological future of Italy and Europe, a strategic piece of infrastructure which will allow research, innovation, and the key sectors of our economy to generate new value and long-term opportunities.” Giuseppe Di Franco, Lutech Group Managing Director

Leonardo was inaugurated on 24 November 2022 at the Cineca technology hub in Bologna, and currently holds fourth place in the TOP500 ranking of the world’s most powerful computers, and second in Europe. The project is part of the actions that the EU is implementing to support High Performance Computing as a driver of growth and innovation, with 50% of Leonardo’s computing power being made available to Italian universities and research institutes, with the rest to be used by European researchers.

Discover the The European House – Ambrosetti and Lutech Group’s paper on HPC technology

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