The project

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Supercomputers are nowadays one of the cornerstones of science and engineering. Without them, lots of research projects that require high computing power and data processing could not be carried out. They are used for the modelling, simulation and processing of huge amounts of information related to studies in virtually any area of science.
High performance computing is a constantly evolving area. Researchers are currently developing Exascale supercomputers; machines that will be able to perform one million trillion calculations per second, which will consist of a hundred million or more processors working in parallel.

This exponential increase in computing power will be a milestone in the overall progress of science but will also pose new challenges. One of the most critical is the reduction of the energy consumption by supercomputers themselves.

Projected Performance Development

In this context, the BSC-CNS carries out its Severo Ochoa research project, which consists of four subprojects:
The first is centred on hardware and software technologies. The objective is to facilitate the introduction of Exascale computing and managing large amounts of data, focusing on the improvement of energy efficiency.
The other three subprojects consist in developing Exascale applications in order to address some of the major challenges of our society today.

  • Personalized medicine: advances in genetic research and drug design seem to indicate that, in the not too distant future, doctors and biologists will be able to design drugs to fit the needs of each patient. This is intended to achieve greater treatment efficacy and to avoid side effects resulting from using the same drug for different patients. The development of personalized medicine depends on the progress of biomedicine, but also the ability to analyse and transmit medical data and simulate the effects of drugs on patients. The BSC-CNS has accepted the challenge of playing a leading role in the development of these technologies.
  • Heart Simulation: Also in the field of medicine is the heart simulation project. This organ is still an unknown quantity for cardiologists themselves. Some of its aspects are not yet sufficiently explored, such as the physics and mechanics of its muscle tissue. A group of researchers from the BSC, cardiologists and medical imaging experts are carrying out modelling and simulation with the primary objective to determine how the heart muscle works. When the model has been validated, it will conduct a second phase to develop an application that can visualize the operation of real patients' hearts and simulate possible treatments and interventions.

  • Air quality and climate models: The increased capabilities of supercomputers can generate major advances in computer models that allow climate change prediction and enable the study and forecasting of air quality. The BSC-CNS has developed the Caliope model that has already been proven effective in making air quality forecasts. On the Exascale horizon, the challenge is to build a model on a global scale, in collaboration with international entities, unifying criteria and calculation parameters.
The development of each subproject requires close collaboration between computer science and other scientific disciplines. Each project is carried out by multidisciplinary teams working together to create new computer architectures, software systems and applications that can provide even more effective tools for the needs of  each discipline.. These teams will also work closely with other high-level international centres with the goal to share their results with the international research community.

BSC-CNS' Severo Ochoa Programme has a committed management team that will ensure the project's success.

The Principal Investigator is Mateo Valero, Director of BSC, who has appointed Josep Casanovas (Professor of Operations Research at UPC specializing in modulation and simulation) as executive director.

The scientific coordinator is Eduard Ayguadé, Associate Director of the Department of Computer Science of the BSC-CNS, who has led the design, planning and presentation of the project proposal.
The Programme aims to strengthen  the international leadership of the BSC-CNS in order for it to become a reference point in the design of Exascale systems and applications
In addition to the research project, the Severo Ochoa Programme foresees key actions for the centre's development in three main areas:
  1. To boost the internal cohesion and the multidisciplinary nature of the projects
  2. Attracting talent, based on the creation of new opportunities for training and mobility for the development of scientific careers of researchers.
  3. Fostering communication with society, to bring the design of future research strategies closer to the needs of science and economics.