The University of Rijeka takes a leap and unveils the most powerful supercomputer in the Adriatic region, designed by Bull

February 26, 2016

Rijeka, February 26, 2016 – Atos, a global leader in digital services, has successfully installed the most powerful supercomputer in the Adriatic region. The supercomputer designed by Bull, the Atos brand for technology products and software, is called BURA and is located at the University of Rijeka. It is the most powerful supercomputer in the Adriatic region* and provides students and scientists with opportunities for further education, biotechnological research, and scientific work.

The President of the Republic of Croatia, Ms. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, unveiled the supercomputer “Bura” at a formal ceremony held on February 26, 2016 during the “Open Days of ICT-HPC Technology at the University of Rijeka” that presented the achievements of IT companies in the city and its vicinity.

Used for Advanced Research

The Bura supercomputer is used in biotechnological and biomedical research, and in addition to researchers and students from Rijeka University, the supercomputer will be available to institutions and companies from abroad who have already expressed their interest. The Bura supercomputer is a component of the future science and technology park at Rijeka University – an area set to encompass seventy thousand square metres upon the park’s completion.

According to Zlatan Car, Vice Rector of the University of Rijeka and Head of the Centre for Advanced Computing and Modelling, the main purpose of BURA will be bio-informatics research: “While bio-informatics research will be one of the main areas of activity, 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 cooperation 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, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb, as well as with the University of Split,” said professor Car.

Technology Behind the Supercomputer

The BURA supercomputer is based on Bull DLC B720 water-cooled servers. It consists of 288 nodes, each node containing two Intel® Xeon® E5-2690 v3 processors, for a system with a total of 6912 processor cores, and a total output of 239.64 Teraflops (Rmax). The supercomputer has over 18 terabytes of RAM and disk systems capacities of 850 terabytes. The Mellanox InfiniBand FDR 56GB network system ensures rapid communication between components of the BURA supercomputer cluster. These technical specifications make BURA the most powerful supercomputer in Croatia and the Adriatic region.

The BURA supercomputer was designed by Bull, the Atos brand for products and technology and installed by the Slovenian company SmartIS. Bura is located in a new, water-cooled data centre built in cooperation with the Mep company in Rijeka. The Bura is worth 44.7 million kn (VAT included) and is part of the project entitled “Development of Research Infrastructure at the Rijeka University Campus,” funded by the EU.

Bura is Green

Atos, SmartIS and MEP presented Rijeka University with a new data centre as well, which is distinct in that it is the only centre of its kind in the region that offers a direct water-cooling system with warm water up to 40°C. This means that the Bura supercomputer is cooled using the so-called “free-cooling” technique, which cools using outside air up to a temperature of 24°C. The BURA is a “green” computer according to testing performed by Green 500, placing it at the 175th position worldwide.

Fierce Power

The supercomputer is named after the Croatian north wind, the bura, renowned for its fierce power. The name BURA was chosen to symbolically depict the University of Rijeka’s new scientific and technological breakthrough.

Bull S6130 innovative servers are part of the solution. These 16-processor servers are based on bullion technology, the servers which hold the world record for x86 servers for three consecutive years in organisational tests. Each server has 16 processors from the Intel® Xeon® E7 v3 family, i.e. 256 cores in a single physical server. Each of the two servers has 6TB of RAM, meaning that the user has as much as 512 cores and 12 terabytes of RAM for symmetrical multi-processing (SMP).

*According to the Top500, the BURA supercomputer holds the 32nd place on the list of scientific research installations.

The University of Rijeka takes a leap and unveils the most powerful supercomputer in the Adriatic region, designed by Bull

About the University of Rijeka

The University of Rijeka was established in 1973 as a logical expansion of higher education institutions in western Croatia. Its roots date back to the 17th century with the founding of Rijeka’s Jesuit Secondary School. Since its foundation, it has undergone a series of transformations that were mainly the result of changes in national higher education policies. Today the University integrates the functions of its constituent parts and ensures their uniform and coordinated action. Its mission is dedicated to making strategic and progressive decisions on a range of issues concerning the functioning of the academic community, as well as continuous encouragement for international competitiveness in all areas of scientific, artistic and professional activity. Through active collaboration with the industry and partnerships for community development, the University endeavours to contribute to the socio-cultural transition into a knowledge society. Its vision is to have the University of Rijeka enter among the 500 European universities, and so its objective is a dynamic development that systematically and methodically encourages mobility and the development of research careers, as well as allowing the presentation of talents and entrepreneurial energy of each individual.