The Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) is the National Supercomputing Facility in Spain and its managed by Ministry of Education and Science (Spanish Government), the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Government) and the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC). Nowadays, BSC manages MareNostrum, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe and the only one located in a chapel.
As a UPC student, I had the opportunity to visit the supercomputer. It is located on Campus Nord of the UPC, in the old chapel of Torre Girona.
What BSC does?
The mission of BSC is to investigate, develop and manage information technology in order to facilitate scientific progress. The highest processing capacity and the speed of calculation of the supercomputer are employed for specialized applications that require immense amounts of mathematical calculations: weather forecasting, animated graphics, fluid dynamic calculations, nuclear energy research, petroleum exploration, aerodynamics simulations….
The guided visit to the MareNostrum supercomputer housed in the Torre Girona chapel lasts 1 hour and consists on:
- Old computer museum: tour to see old BSC’s supercomputers.
- Video presentation of the center, the supercomputer and the lines of research of BSC.
- Tour around the facilities:
- MareNostrum (2005): the most powerful supercomputer of the world until 2005 which has supported lots of research projects. The system has 94.21 Teraflops (trillions of operations per second), 10.240 processors, 20TB of RAM and 480TB of storage.
- MinoTauro (201): the most energy-efficient in the Europe and the 7th in the world. It’s twice the capacity of MareNostrum, it consumes 7 times less and occupies 13 times less space.
- SGI Altix (2006): shared memory machine used for applications requiring large amount of memory.
I really enjoyed the visit and I recommend to go if you are interested in technology issues. Perhaps it is not the most powerful supercomputer of the world but it is the most beautiful.