The new one was inaugurated today in Bologna Data center of the Ecmwf European Weather Center, inside the Bolognese Technopole, which houses the new Atos supercomputer system and which will come into operation in mid-2022. The new structure offers the possibility to host the latest supercomputing technologies and allow Ecmwf to continue the journey towards its own strategic goals, such as significantly improving temperature and wind forecasts and making long-term forecasts daily, rather than biweekly. A fundamental step forward also from the point of view of prevention in the face of extreme weather events.
The technological heart of the European Weather Center is only the first of the infrastructures that will be located at the Technopole of Bologna. The European supercomputer Leonardo and a real one is being born citadel of science intended to bring together the most important Italian scientific and research institutions. A European hub of Big data and digital that will concentrate inEmilia-Romagna Data Valley over 80% of the national supercomputing capacity, 20% of the European one, with practical applications in all sectors: ecological transition and fight against climate change, digital transition, healthcare, urban time and logistics, sustainable businesses and production processes, agriculture.
When fully operational, twenty-five members of Ecmwf staff will work in the new data center: electrical and mechanical engineers to support the infrastructure, 24-hour operational staff to monitor the performance of the building, systems, applications and services, and hardware and software analysts. not only for supercomputers but for all support systems and data processing systems. Half of them are already operational in Bologna, flanked by experts from IT equipment suppliers.
The new high-performance computers are now undergoing a series of tests, operational and reliability. The system currently operates in parallel with the current Cray Hpcf and will continue to do so until the beginning of May 2022, when the Bologna supercomputer will take over the provision of the service in full for four years, supporting both operational and research activities.
The data management system (Dhs) will also move from Reading to Bologna by the beginning of 2022, with all aspects of the migration expected to be completed.
The decision to develop a new data center followed the recognition by the Ecmwf Council that the current High Performance Computing (HPCF) facility in Reading, UK, could not house the next generation of supercomputers. In June 2017, following an international tender, representatives of all Member States approved the proposal of the Italian government and of Emilia Romagna region to host the new data center in Bologna.
Construction work began in December 2018. The past two and a half years have seen significant progress to complete the construction work and bidding process for the new supercomputer, in difficult times, including the global COVID-19 pandemic.