“Marconi”, Cineca’s new supercomputer is now available
The supercomputer that, being a very powerful computing system, will enable the Italian scientific community to address new research paths in areas spanning from precision medicine to climate change, from fundamental physics to new materials, is called Marconi.
Marconi will be deployed in mid-April at the largest Italian computing centre, Cineca, the inter-university computing consortium based in Bologna, made up of 70 Italian universities, 5 research institutions and the Ministry of Education, University and Research (Miur).
It will be an Intel-based Lenovo system, with a computational power of about 20 Pflop/s, co-designed by Cineca on the NeXtScale platform, and equipped with the next-generation Intel Xeon Phi processor family, along with Xeon E5 2600 v4 processor, with high computing power but energy efficient, being expected not to exceed the upper limit of three megawatts of power consumption.
The €50 million investment will cover the first phase of the development plan for the Italian supercomputing facility to support research and will end in 2020. The first phase will be completed by 2017 and will make available a computational power of about 20,000 billion calculations per second (20 Pflop/s) and a data storage of more than 20 million of billions of Bytes (20 PetaByte). The second phase will start in 2019, with a final goal of increasing computing power to approximately 50/60 Pflop per second.
"With this plan – said Cineca President Emilio Ferrari - Cineca reaffirms its institutional mission to offer a digital infrastructure of excellence for computing and Big Data, available to scientific research and technological innovation".
The acquisition agreement was signed on March 30, after a negotiated selection procedure which started more than a year ago via a European tender. The procedure was closed in December 2015, awarding the realisation of the computing system to Lenovo, one of the three major global manufacturers in the Intel x86 architecture-based server.
In particular, the supercomputer takes advantage of the new Intel Omni-Path Architecture, which provides the high performance interconnectivity required to efficiently scale the system’s thousands of servers. A high-performance Lenovo GSS storage subsystem, supplied by the Chinese provider, that integrates the IBM Spectrum Scale™ (GPFS) file system, is connected to the Intel Omni-Path Fabric and provides data storage capacity.
“By providing the most powerful supercomputing systems, we will enable researchers to address the major scientific and socio-economic challenges of our time, spanning from precision medicine to climate change, from fundamental physics to new materials. Supercomputing and Big Data analytics are essential tools for computational and data-driven science for national and international research", said Sanzio Bassini, Director of Supercomputing and Innovation Department at Cineca.