BSC agreement with CINECA and the city councils of Barcelona and Bologna to develop digital twins

08 July 2022

Two of Europe's largest supercomputing centers will work together to promote public policies in the fields of urban mobility, energy, urban planning and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) has signed an agreement with the inter-university consortium CINECA, Italy's leading supercomputing center, the city councils of Barcelona and Bologna and the University of Bologna to develop digital urban twins that promote the implementation in both municipalities of a public policy model based on scientific evidence.

The BSC associate director, Josep Maria Martorell, participated in the signing ceremony of the agreement, which was also attended by the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the mayor of Bologna, Matteo Lepore, and the president of CINECA, Francesco Ubertini, as well as other representatives of the different research institutions involved in the agreement.

The agreement implies the involvement of two of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe in an alliance to position Barcelona and Bologna as references in the field of urban digital governance, as well as to foster the development of a European digital infrastructure for urban policies through the promotion of a European network of cities with digital twins. The interest in working together in this field will also allow to seek external funding opportunities for the development of urban digital twins through European programs.

The creation of this joint work platform between Barcelona and Bologna offers the BSC the opportunity to exchange relevant scientific and technological advances with the Italian supercomputing center and to work together in the field of data standardization and techniques to ensure European interoperability.

Essential tool to move public institutions forward

Digital twins are based on the modeling of urban dynamics using big data. In the case of a city, the digital twin makes it possible to foresee the impact of public policies before they are implemented, making it an essential tool for moving public institutions towards evidence-based decision-making models.

Barcelona and Bologna share the objective of moving towards a model of decision-making and public policy making based on evidence and impact assessment, particularly in the fields of urban mobility, energy, urban planning and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In this line, both cities aim to study the contribution of digital twins in achieving the climate neutrality objectives set out in the European Union's mission 'Climate-neutral and smart cities' and are committed to work together to maximize the reduction of energy consumption of the infrastructures necessary for the implementation of the digital twin, using renewable energy sources for its operation.

The memorandum of understanding signed this Friday is the result of a joint work process between all the institutions and organizations involved that has lasted months and deepens the collaboration agreement signed last April 1, 2022, between Barcelona and Bologna, where both cities pledged to work together in various areas, such as digital policies and science and research policies with and for citizens.

The collaboration agreement has a duration of three years, extendable for another three years.