Supercomputer Vega was formally launched in Maribor. Constructed as part of the project “Upgrading national research infrastructures” (HPC RIVR) it was named after the mathematician Jurij Vega and is located in the premises of the Institute of Information Sciences Maribor (Izum). According to the Vice-Rector of the University of Maribor, Zoran Ren, it ranks Slovenia among the world’s superpowers in terms of computing power, and enables Slovenian and European scientists to make exceptional discoveries.
According to the Vice-Rector of the University of Maribor, Zoran Ren, the Vega supercomputer which was officially launched in Maribor today ranks Slovenia among the world’s superpowers in terms of computing power and enables Slovenian and European scientists to make exceptional discoveries. Prime Minister Janez Janša highlighted the contribution of such systems to the search for covid-19 vaccines.
The most powerful supercomputer in Slovenia to date is the result of the partnership between the project “Upgrading national research infrastructures” (HPC RIVR) and the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC) initiative. It is located in the premises of the Institute of Information Sciences Maribor (Izum).
According to the director of Izum, dr. Aleš Bošnjak, it is one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe and the world. “Currently, there are only 13 countries in the world that have more powerful supercomputers,” he said.
Vega has a capacity of 6.9 petaflops, which is comparable to about 50,000 PCs simultaneously executing the same computational operation. “Our supercomputer power is ranked immediately after the power of the United Kingdom and ahead of Russia,” said Ren, Vice-Rector for Research at the University of Maribor.
EuroHPC’s first launched supercomputer, according to Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the European Commission responsible for the digital transformation, it is a great example of cooperation at various levels. In her speech, which was held online due to the current measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, she explained that “Supercomputing will enable European SMEs to enter the high-tech economy of the future. More importantly, European supercomputing, with the support of artificial intelligence, can speed up the identification of molecules for new drugs and make it easier to track covid-19 infections, thus saving lives”.
The importance of such systems in the tackling of modern-day challenges, including Covid-19, was also emphasized by Prime Minister Janša, who launched the supercomputer with a symbolic push of a red button. “Vega will enable scientists to discover new materials and components, help them model global phenomena, discover new drugs and medical therapies to fight cancer or other persistent diseases. Vega will also help companies, especially those developing the most advanced products, among others in the pharmaceutical, automotive or energy sectors. With these and similar steps, the European Union is also firmly on the path to strategic autonomy” he added.
Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Simona Kustec, emphasized that state-of-the-art science, technology and industry can only develop on the basis of state-of-the-art knowledge and infrastructure. “Initiatives such as EuroHPC enable and encourage joint planning and investment in the European Research Area, further strengthening and connecting it” she said.
The 17.2m-euro project is co-financed by the EU, namely from the European Regional Development Fund, and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, along with the EuroHPC Joint Venture. In addition to the Slovenian Vega, EuroHPC supercomputers are being built in Bulgaria, Italy, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Finland.