the Spanish supercomputer has become the fourth fastest in the world

If all goes well, MareNostrum V will start operating in the second half of 2022. It is the fifth supercomputer with this name managed by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS). A story that dates back to 2004, when the first steps were taken to build a supercomputer that would be a reference in Spain, in Europe and in the world.

The first named MareNostrum was built at the IBM Technical Center in Madrid, then he was transferred to Barcelona, ​​in luxury facilities, the Torre Girona chapel, which earned him another award. Almost two decades later, the BSC-CNS directly employs 765 professionals, has facilitated the creation of six associated companies and its successive versions of MareNostrum appear in the TOP500, the reference list of fastest supercomputers of the world. The last thing we know is that last October, the BSC-CNS opened a new headquarters. About 12,000 square meters that will house offices, laboratories and what will be known as MareNostrum V, the flagship supercomputer of this supercomputing center.

Created in 2005, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – National Supercomputing Center has been the protagonist and has been present in the race to obtain the best supercomputer. A race led by China and the United States. Just look at the TOP500 list, which is updated twice a year. First, there is always a supercomputer from these countries. And sometimes a Japanese or a European sneaks in. Interestingly, in the November 2004 list, fourth place was occupied by a european machine based in Barcelona. The first Mare Nostrum. A project that was born on the right foot and which continues to struggle to gain a foothold in such a competitive sector.

New BSC-CNS headquarters, BSC-Repsol building. Source: BSC-CNS

What is a supercomputer used for?

Before traveling to 2004, it’s time to see why is it a supercomputer. They are expensive, take up a lot of space, become obsolete in a short time and consume a lot of energy. To start them, you need the collaboration and investment private companies and public administrations as well as universities, research centers and scientists from different disciplines and areas of knowledge. How important are supercomputers?

A look at the latest research sponsored by the BSC-CNS gives us an idea of ​​why we need supercomputers. Or rather the scientists. Supercomputing allows perform complex calculations at much faster speeds than with a computer to use. Thus, MareNostrum managers receive requests from Spanish and European companies, universities and research centers to accelerate their research. Requests that are on a list and that occur almost continuously. Supercomputers never sleep. And as powerful as your iPhone is, a supercomputer will be even more so.