The inauguration of LUMI: Europe's most powerful supercomputer launches

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A former paper mill in Finland is now home to LUMI, Europe’s most powerful supercomputer, with its location serving to ensure it is also one of the most environmentally friendly high-performance computing (HPC) units of its kind.

LUMI is owned and created by the EU-backed European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) initiative, and the €202m supercomputer was officially inaugurated on Monday 13 June at an event in Kajaani, Finland.

Half of the funding for the project has come from the EU, while the rest is made up contributions received from the initiative’s consortium of member countries, which include Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Its compute resources will be made available to researchers across Europe to accelerate scientific breakthroughs in fields such as climate change, medicine, artificial intelligence and quantum computing, and  up to 20% of its compute capacity will be reserved for use by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and industry, the EuroHPC JU confirmed.

“The societal challenges for which we use super computers exist on a global scale. The extent of these challenges, and the work required to tackle and transform them into innovation opportunities, requires much collaboration across many branches of academia and countless research teams,” said Anders Dam Jensen, executive director of the EuroHPC JU.

“It therefore can only make sense that one of the biggest and most important research infrastructures should be based on extensive collaboration. In this, EuroHPC’s LUMI consortium collaboration is a pioneering effort to strengthen European competitiveness and digital sovereignty while promoting global research collaboration.”

LUMI has a reported peak performance of more than 550 petaflops per second, which its creators claim makes it the fastest supercomputer in Europe and the third fastest in the world and is – under the hood – an HPE Cray exascale design.

It has already secured a third-place ranking in the biannual Green500 list of energy-efficient supercomputers, on account of the fact that it is renewably powered and the waste heat generated by its operations is on course to cover 20% of the annual district heating needs of Kajanni.

The supercomputer is hosted within a datacentre run by CSC – IT Center for Science, which is located on the site of an old paper mill in Kajanni, which its operators claim has drastically reduced its carbon footprint.

“A significant part of the carbon footprint of the ICT sector comes in the building phase of infrastructure. The carbon footprint of LUMI has been significantly reduce by placing the machine on the premises of a former paper mill…enabling it to utilise the existing municipal engineering,” said its creators, in a statement.

“The waste heat produced by LUMI will be utilised in the district-heating network of Kajanni, which means that its overall carbon footprint is negative.”

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