Bologna, 15 September 2021– Where previously the former Tobacco Factory stood, a maxi abandoned shed for years and years and left in decay, today there is one of the major European excellences in the sector. The new data center for medium-term forecasts (Ecmwf), a dream becomes reality: i computer in the spaces of the Technopole they have begun to pulsate and are already at work with the tests necessary to experiment with the system. They will be fully operational in May of next year: “We are still in a phase of testing the systems – explains Matteo Dell’Acqua, director of the center -. At the end of this year we will have to move our weather archive, which is still located in Reading (in England, ed). It will take more than a month between transport and checks “.
Al taof the tape, there were all the managers and representatives of the institutions, from Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi to the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Manlio Di Stefano, up to the governor Stefano Bonaccini and al rector Francesco Ubertini. And if for Minister Bianchi, “it is an important moment for all of Italy, it was a European choice to bring the weather analysis center to Bologna. Now the whole weather forecasting system in Europe passes through Bologna. This is the demonstration that things can be done in Italy “, President Bonaccini adds:” The citadel of science in which we have believed as a Region, together with the State and the European Union, is taking shape more and more “. Undersecretary Di Stefano, on the other hand, highlights “the great collaborative work of all the members, in view of the greatest challenge: facing the reality of a changing planet”.
By setting foot in the mega establishment, theeffect and immediately science fiction: hundreds and hundreds of square meters where machines that seem to come from the future emit sounds and make flashes lights, between cables, corridors and cooling systems. At the moment at work in via Stalingrado there are 25 people, but the goal is to reach 50. The core of the center is the BullSequana XH2000 supercomputer from Atos: a system that, from May, will allow computing performance to be fivefold. The ECMWF will thus elaborate forecasts on the basis of increasingly clear and timely ‘photographs’, an indispensable tool for avoiding or countering extreme phenomena, such as water bombs or tornadoes, with greater force.
The Tecnopolo it will then also be “the home of the European supercomputer Leonardo”, Bonaccini recalls, hosting the most important national scientific institutions, including Italy Weather Agency e National Institute of Astrophysics, as well as research centers, university branches, common areas for incubators, cutting-edge activities in the field of research and development.
“It is difficult to find words for how grateful we are, but also impressed, in the face of what has been achieved here – he points out Florence Rabier, Ecmwf general manager -. Our ties have always been strong and Italy is a key player in our Council of Member States “.
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