Vega online: the EU first EuroHPC supercomputer is operational
On 20 April 2021, the EuroHPC world-class supercomputer Vega is officially inaugurated with a high-level ceremony in Maribor, Slovenia. Vega is the first EU supercomputer to be delivered, jointly financed with EU funds.
The Vega supercomputer is the largest supercomputer in Slovenia. Based on the BullSequana XH2000 technology infrastructure delivered by Atos, the petascale supercomputer with a sustained performance of 6.9 petaflops, or 6.9 million billion calculations per second will underpin open science, research, and innovations in Slovenia and Europe.
The Vega supercomputer was jointly procured by Slovenia and the EU with an investment of €17.2 million. It is financed at 65.8% by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund and the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, and at 34.2% by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking.
Vega will enable Slovene and European scientists to cooperate in large international projects and support the development of applications in science, public sector, and industry, especially in the fields of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and high-performance data analytics.
Janez Janša, Slovenian Prime Minister, said:
"The Vega supercomputer will have indirect profound effects on our lives. It will enable scientists to invent new materials and components, it will help them model global phenomena, and develop new medicines and medical therapies in the fight against cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, Vega will provide support to companies developing the most advanced products in the automotive, energy and health sectors. With this and similar steps the EU is resolutely following the path towards strategic information autonomy. I am convinced that the Vega supercomputer will enable everyone to always use the exceptional potential of new inventions to the benefit of individuals and all humanity.
"Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said:
“We are celebrating today the launch of the Vega supercomputer – the first of several. Supercomputing will open new doors for European SMEs to compete in tomorrow’s high tech economy. Even more importantly, by supporting artificial intelligence to identify the molecules for breakthrough drug treatments, by tracking infections for COVID and other diseases, European supercomputing can help save lives.”
Dr Simona Kustec, Minister for Education, Science and Sport, said:
"Cutting-edge science, technology and advanced industrial applications can be developed with state-of-the-art knowledge and infrastructure. Today, the fields enjoying the most attention and research support are supercomputing, digitisation and artificial intelligence development. Initiatives such as the EuroHPC enable and encourage joint planning and investment in the European Research Area, thereby further strengthening and connecting it. Every development-oriented country prioritises and supports the development of new knowledge and related tools. The Vega supercomputer has placed Slovenia on the European IT map. I believe and hope that this project will provide the opportunity for Slovenian and European researchers to work together on a number of new international research ideas, helping to deal with societal challenges and contributing to sustainable development through science."
Anders Dam Jensen, the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) Executive Director, said:
“Vega is the first EuroHPC supercomputer to come online. We are starting to see the fruits of EuroHPC JU work and of Europe’s investments in our technological future. Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, the Vega supercomputer is fully operational and will significantly increase computing power currently available in Europe. The EuroHPC JU will continue to invest in research and deployment of HPC infrastructures, technology and applications and ensure the development of a world-class HPC ecosystem in Europe, to strengthen Europe’s position in the global race towards exascale, post-exascale and quantum computing capabilities.”
Dr Aleš Bošnjak, Director of the Institute of Information Science in Maribor (IZUM), added:
“The start-up of Vega, the first EuroHPC petascale supercomputer and the largest supercomputer in Slovenia, is performed in cooperation with the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU). With the EuroHPC JU recognising IZUM's potential, Slovenia has become a part of the European initiative for a World Class Supercomputing Ecosystem in Europe. Within the framework of the HPC RIVR project, IZUM has, in close cooperation with the Slovenian National Supercomputing Network SLING, and with a substantial own investment, acquired Slovenia’s largest research infrastructure, which is important for our research projects, the development of science and economy. The Vega supercomputer will enable both Slovenian and other European researchers to cooperate in large international research projects and additionally accelerate the use of supercomputing capacities in Slovenia. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made the realisation of this project possible.”
From April 2021, access time will be allocated to European scientific, industrial and public sector users, matching their demanding application requirements, according to the principles stated in the EuroHPC JU Council Regulation and the JU’s Access Policy.
EuroHPC JU is now ready to accept the first applications to access Vega’s computing power.
The procurement contract of Vega was signed on 1 October 2020 by the EuroHPC JU, the Slovenian IZUM, the hosting entity. The company Atos was selected as vendor following a call for tender launched in April 2020. On 10 March 2021, the machine was delivered and started the benchmarking phase.
Four other petascale supercomputers have been procured under the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking:
Furthermore, two EuroHPC pre-exascale supercomputers have been procured and will complement the petascale machines:
- Technical specifications of the new system in this dedicated section of our website.
- Details on the Access opportunities available on dedicated PRACE website.