What has two thumbs, can do over 240 PFLOPS, and just gave Europe a 50/50 share of the top four most powerful computers in the world?
This big computer here:
Called the “Leonardo HPC System,” the one you see above is the world’s fourth most powerful supercomputer and a potential European supercomputer.
Leonardo is built on architecture designed and developed by the French high performance company Atos. It will officially go online and start troubleshooting on the 24thth of November.
While the people of the US are enjoying their Thanksgiving turkeys, Leo will be opening in Italy where he will do business to provide the computing needs of the scientific research community.
Leonardo by numbers:
- 3,500 Intel Xeon processors
- 14,000 Nvidia A100 GPUs
- 4992 Intel Ice Lake computing nodes
- 249 PFLOPS
- 100 Petabytes of storage
Once officially online, Leonardo will officially be the second most powerful computer in Europe (behind its Finnish HPC system child “LUMI”) and the fourth most powerful in the world (Behind Japan’s Fugaki in second and the US’ Frontier in first).
Leonardo was built as part of the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU). With joint funding from the EU and several member states, the group’s main goal is to build the fastest supercomputer in the world: an exascale supercomputer aptly named Jupiter, which is expected to go online in Germany in 2023 or 2024.
What is most interesting about Leonardo is that it was clearly designed with development in mind. Earlier this year EuroHPC laid out plans for the future involving the development of quantum processing for its existing supercomputers.
Moving forward, Leonardo is set for a quantum leap forward. According to EuroHPC, the Italian non-profit computing consortium Cineca will manage the new quantum computer on behalf of EuroHPC JU from 2023.
Leonardo’s particular architecture, called MSA (Modular Supercomputing Architecture), allows it to be physically connected to a quantum computer through a wired network through a combination called “co-localization.” That’s a form of hybrid quantum supercomputing that allows two different computer architectures to communicate with each other at high enough speeds to share information loads.
What this means for Europe is what we’ve been saying all along here at Neural: the European quantum computing industry is poised for massive growth. Within the next few years, the EU should have the first, third, and fourth fastest supercomputers in the world, at least one of which will work in tandem with a quantum computer.
In the future, as hybrid quantum computing technology continues to develop, EuroHPC’s Modular Supercomputing Architecture could well ensure that Europe remains competitive with the US and China. Or, as far as supercomputers go, it remains to be seen whether the EU’s upcoming Jupiter system will surpass the US’s upcoming Aurora, yet another high-end supercomputer slated for an imminent launch.