Europe now hosts two of the world’s fastest computers.

Leonardo is scheduled to come online next week. The supercomputer is hosted in a new datacenter located in the Technopole of Bologna. It’s one of the three pre-exascale systems announced by EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU). 

Leonardo is the second of the undertaking’s pre-exascale supercomputers to enter into service, following Finland’s LUMI system this summer. The supercomputer is jointly funded by EuroHPC JU and the Italian Ministry of University and Research.

With a measured High-Performance Linpack (HPL) performance of 174.7 petaflops, it recently reached the 4th position on the latest Top500 list of the fastest supercomputers in the world, as announced at the SC22 conference in Texas earlier this month. The Italian supercomputer is expected to be capable of more than 249 petaflops when it becomes fully operational on November 24.

Mitigating natural disaster risks

Leonardo’s host entity, Cineca, has a long history of supplying the most powerful supercomputers in the world. The strong partnership with the EuroHPC JU has led to the realization of Leonardo, which Cineca calls “a significant step forward in raising European research in the field of computational sciences”.

According to the team behind Leonardo, the ultimate goal “is to strengthen the European presence in high-performance computing, a strategic asset to promote the technological growth of the member states of the Union”.

“The continuous demand for computational resources requires providing researchers with increasingly high-performance technologies”, the team said, adding that the launch of new leading Italian and European initiatives — which face increasingly advanced computational challenges — is based on the availability of these technologies.

One example of Leonardo’s applications is the management of large environmental phenomena. Leonardo can contribute to the mitigation of risks due to extreme situations, natural events, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic events, flash floods and epidemics, the team said.