Last week, I gave a keynote talk at the Internet Global Conference in Barcelona. I shared the keynote with Professor Mateo Valero from the Technical University of Catalonia, who is also the Director of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. The theme of our talk was Innovation in IT and more specifically in supercomputing.
I talked (in Spanish) about some of the major forces driving innovation, including the Internet and standards in general, as well as new applications and products based on embedded IT in everything from consumer electronics to medical equipment to automobiles; and concluded with a discussion of the major societal changes brought about by collaborative innovation. Professor Valero centered his talk on advances in supercomputing technology and architecture, and he talked at length about the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, which he heads, and MareNostrum, the new supercomputer being installed at the Center.
The Barcelona Supercomputing Center was formally inaugurated just two months ago. It is a consortium formed by Spain's Ministry of Education and Sciences, the Generalitat (government) of Catalonia, and the Technical University of Catalonia, with the objective of creating a world class open, multidisciplinary supercomputing center devoted to research in a variety of topics including e-science (especially life and earth sciences), computer sciences and architecture, as well as important industry applications.
MareNostrum gives the Center one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. Built on an innovative architecture based on blades, standard computing components, including Power microprocessors, and Linux, the system is very open and flexible, and will continue to evolve over time as new technology components and architectural capabilities are introduced.
MareNostrum is located in a former stone chapel built in the 1920's. The sight of one of the world's most advanced supercomputers inside this beautiful former stone chapel is something to behold.
I have been involved with the University for several years now in projects having to do with supercomputing and parallel architectures. I remember attending meetings in Barcelona a few years ago when we discussed starting a world class supercomputing center in that city, and bringing in one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, but I never quite envisioned that the then old and empty stone chapel would turn into such an attractive computer site.
It is really satisfying to see dreams become reality, . . . with such a highly original setting as an unexpected bonus.