What has two thumbs, can perform over 240 PFLOPS, and just gave Europe a 50/50 share of the four most powerful supercomputers in the world?
This supercomputer right here:
Called the “Leonardo HPC system,” what you see above is the fourth most powerful supercomputer in the world and a potential quantum leap toward creating Europe’s first exascale computer.
Leonardo is based on an architecture designed and developed by the French high-performance computing company Atos. It will officially go online and begin troubleshooting on the 24thth of November
While people in the United States are enjoying their Thanksgiving roosters, Leo will be inaugurated in Italy, where he will go about the business of serving the most demanding computational needs of the scientific research community.
Leonardo with the numbers:
- 3,500 Intel Xeon processors
- 14,000 Nvidia A100 GPU
- 4992 Intel Ice Lake compute nodes
- 249 PFLOPS
- 100 petabytes of storage
Once formally online, Leonardo will officially become the second most powerful computer in Europe (behind its sibling Finnish HPC system “LUMI”) and the fourth most powerful in the world (behind Japan’s Fugaki in second place and the US border in the first place).
Leonardo was built as part of the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU). With co-funding from the EU and several member states, the group’s ultimate goal is to build the world’s fastest supercomputer: an exascale supercomputer aptly named Jupiter, which is expected to come online in Germany in 2023 or 2024.
The interesting thing about the Leonardo is that it was apparently designed with the upgrade in mind. Earlier this year, EuroHPC unveiled future plans involving quantum processing upgrades to its existing supercomputers.
Leonardo is slated for some luxury quantum upgrades in the future. According to EuroHPC, the Italian non-profit IT consortium Cineca will manage a new quantum computer on behalf of EuroHPC JU from 2023.
Leonardo’s specific architecture, called MSA (Modular Supercomputing Architecture), allows it to be physically connected to a quantum computer via a wired network through an integration called “co-localization”. It is a form of hybrid quantum supercomputing that allows the two separate computing architectures to communicate at speeds high enough to share information loads.
What this means for Europe is exactly what we’ve been saying here at Neural: Europe’s quantum computing sector is poised for massive growth. Within the next two years, the EU should have the world’s first, third and fourth fastest supercomputers, with at least one of them working in conjunction with a quantum computer.
In the future, as hybrid quantum computing technology continues to develop, EuroHPC’s modular supercomputing architecture could ensure that Europe remains competitive with the US and China. Although, in terms of supercomputers, it remains to be seen whether the EU’s upcoming Jupiter system will outperform the US’s upcoming Aurora, another exascale computer slated for inauguration in the near future.