Rijeka Gets the Fastest Supercomputer in Croatia

By 16 October 2015

A computer 40 times faster than any other in the country arrives in Croatia.

Supercomputer "Bura", worth 44 million kuna, arrived this week at the campus of the University of Rijeka. Bura is 40 times faster than the current fastest supercomputer in Croatia, Isabelle at SRCE in Zagreb and will enter the list of the 500 most powerful computers in the world, reports Novi List on October 16, 2015.

Bura will take about a hundred square metres of space at the Centre for Advanced Computing and Modelling and is the latest piece of equipment which has arrived on campus as part of a European project of research infrastructure development. The total value of the project amounts to 24 million euros, and the supercomputer is the largest single item within the project, and also the most complex piece of equipment.

The speed of Bura is 234 teraflops and is based on the server Bull bullx DLC B720. It is one of the first supercomputers to use a 16-processor Intel technology. Bura will be protected by video surveillance and a modern fire protection system.

The main purpose of Bura, according to Zlatan Car, vice-rector of the University of Rijeka and head of the Centre for Advanced Computing and Modelling, will be bio-informatics research. "While bio-informatics research will be one of the main areas of activities, other areas will also be covered. The equipment will be used on projects dealing with the production of drugs, to simulate how drugs function in human cells, as well as for DNA analysis. We have already launched co-operation with the Rijeka Clinical Hospital Centre, but the supercomputer will not serve only scientists from Rijeka. We have established cooperation with the Ruđer Bošković Institute, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb, as well as with the University of Split. For the first time, Croatia will have one of the 500 most powerful supercomputer installations in the world", said professor Car.

In addition to research projects at the University in the field of biotechnology, biomedicine, nano-science, civil engineering and natural sciences, it is expected that the supercomputer will be used by partners in the field of business and local government. The University of Rijeka has already initiated negotiations with partners from the industry, because the equipment will be used for commercial purposes as well. "We have a growing list of companies which have shown interest in possible cooperation, but for now I will not reveal their names. We expect good cooperation with industry which will work together with us on the commercialization of knowledge", said the professor.

Bura has been assembled at the French company Bull in Angers in just two months. The supercomputer should be ready for operation by the end of the week, when the firsts tests will be performed. "Staff who will use the supercomputer must first undergo training and we estimate that the supercomputer will become fully operational within a month and a half", concluded Zlatan Car.