HPC RIVR enables Slovenian researchers and industry to take advantage of the newest supercomputer technology, therefore, significantly increasing Slovenia’s competitiveness not only on international markets but in the scientific sphere as well. The equipment developed within the HPC RIVR adds Slovenia to the list of countries which have developed supercomputer technology. Unlike traditional HPC centres primarily dedicated to intensive computing, the HPC RIVR enables the processing of large datasets, fast exchange with other computing centres and computations using modern GPUs.
With the formal event the project “Upgrade of national research infrastructures – HPC RIVR” which led to the development of a national supercomputer centre ,and resulted in the creation of the most powerful public supercomputer in Slovenia, is nearing completion.
In his address prof. dr. Zdravko Kačič, the Chancellor of the University of Maribor, pointed out: ”Just as we were looking forward to the symbolic launch of the HPC RIVR prototype supercomputer a year and a half ago, we are now looking forward to the fact that the equipment developed in the HPC RIVR project firmly positioned Slovenia among countries with developed supercomputer technology, and within the Top500 among the top 100 largest supercomputers in the world… The all-Slovenian HPC RIVR project obliges us to connect and cooperate with all higher education and research institutions, industry and other stakeholders in Slovenian society. Moreover, it encourages and obliges us to continue increasing the quality of our scientific research work, strengthens our ambitions to contribute on a global scale, to accelerate the transfer of knowledge and, thus, to contribute in the best possible way to the further successful development of our society. ”
Prof. dr. Zoran Ren, who is the vice-chancellor for scientific research of the University of Maribor and project manager of HPC RIVR project, added: ”HPC RIVR is an infrastructure investment project, within which we have established a supercomputer infrastructure that addresses the requirements of Slovenian science. The most important acquisition is the Vega production supercomputer, housed within IZUM. When it becomes operational, it will be the 40th most powerful supercomputer in the world, making Slovenia the 13th country with the most powerful supercomputer infrastructure in the world…. With this project we have increased the computer capacity of the entire Republic of Slovenia by approximately 40 times. For the future of Slovenian supercomputing, this will lead to the development of the field, the availability of hardware with which we will be able to address the challenges of digitalization and, above all, the 5.0 society that lies ahead.”
The director of the Institute of Information Sciences dr. Aleš Bošnjak emphasized: ”HPC Vega will be ready for productional operation in April 2021. It will enable Slovenian and European scientists to participate in large international research projects and further accelerate development of supercomputer capabilities in Slovenia. With VEGO, Slovenia has become an important part of the pan-European initiative for the construction of the Slovenian supercomputer ecosystem. Vega users will be mostly scientists and researchers from Slovenia and Europe, who will use it in strategic areas such as artificial intelligence, advanced data analysis, personalized medicine, bioengineering, the fight against climate change, and the development of medicines and materials.”
The dean of the Faculty of Information Studies in Novo mesto, prof. dr. Matej Makarovič also emphasized the new opportunities in the area of education: ”It is essential that such a system is available to the Slovenian academic community, our researchers, higher education teachers and associates, as well as their cooperation with the economy. I am especially looking forward to the fact that we will be able to include it in the educational process…. As part of the study programs, students will be able to learn through practice, and understand how a supercomputer can help in their studies and later on in their profession.”
The project was funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (80%) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (20%), under the Operational Program for the Implementation of European Cohesion Policy 2014-2020. One third of the investment for VEGO was contributed by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking. The applicant and coordinator of the HPC RIVR project is the University of Maribor (UM), where the prototype supercomputer MAISTER is installed. The consortium partners in the project are the Institute of Information Sciences (IZUM), where the primary supercomputer VEGA is installed, and the Faculty of Information Studies in Novo mesto, where a prototype supercomputer for remote access TRDINA is installed. The HPC RIVR is designed as a national open access infrastructure. It is based on the principles of the European Charter for Access to Research Infrastructures. Open access to public research and development infrastructures, which are predominantly used or managed by public education and research organizations, is a key component of the European strategy to promote open science and open innovation.