The Liberec-based company Elmarco, a world-renowned manufacturer of machines for industrial production of nanofibres, signed a contract on 3 June to use the future supercomputing centre in Ostrava.
“A possible connection of nanofibres and nanoparticles brings more opportunities in medicine,” Elmarco executive and co-owner Ladislav Mareš said. “Supercomputing makes it possible to accelerate research. What now takes days or weeks will take hours,”
Ivo Vondrák’s idea
The plan to assemble a supercomputer in the Czech Republic emerged two years ago at the Technical University of Ostrava. Over time, other universities and institutions joined the project, including the University of Ostrava, the Silesian University in Opava, the Institute of Geonics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and the Faculty of Information Technology of the Brno University of Technology.
“The supercomputer will manage a speed of 50 teraflops, that is, 50 trillion operations per second,” said Ivo Vondrák, dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Technical University of Ostrava and the man who came up with the idea.
Just to give a comparison: The operations that the Ostrava supercomputer will accomplish in a single second would require all 10 million people in the country to work for 58 days at a pace of one function per second.
Expected launch in 2012
The Ostrava supercomputer will be part of the IT4Innovation centre, which will cost about CZK 2.5 billion. The machine alone will be as much as CZK 700 million to CZK 800 million of that.
“These days, the project is being analysed at a national level,” Vondrák said. “The European Commission will assess the plan at the beginning of next year, then we will call a tender for a technology supplier, and construction could begin in the middle of 2010. The centre will start operating in 2012.”
Most of the money for the Ostrava supercomputer will come from the European Union because it will be interconnected with the European network. It will serve for basic research, transport system solutions, and the development departments of companies such as Elmarco, Vítkovice and Brano Group.
Were it already in operation, the supercomputer would rank 52nd among the biggest and fastest computing devices on the planet.
Its planned performance corresponds to that of the supercomputer at the Kyoto University and the system at the Institute for Development and Resources in Intensive Scientific Computing in Orsay, France.
The world’s fastest supercomputer, with a speed of 1,105 teraflops, is in the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which uses the machine to research virus mutation, meteorological forecasts and space, as well as modelling nanomaterials.
Right now, the fastest supercomputer in the Czech Republic, at 4 trillion calculations per second, is Amálka, in the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.