The Government allocates 90 million to expand the MareNostrum supercomputer

The Council of Ministers approved this Tuesday to double the capacity of the MareNostrum 5 supercomputer, located in Barcelona, ​​for which it estimates allocating a budget of 90 million euros, co-financed with the European Union, as announced by the Minister for Digital Transformation and Administrations.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 04:25
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The Government allocates 90 million to expand the MareNostrum supercomputer

The Council of Ministers approved this Tuesday to double the capacity of the MareNostrum 5 supercomputer, located in Barcelona, ​​for which it estimates allocating a budget of 90 million euros, co-financed with the European Union, as announced by the Minister for Digital Transformation and Administrations. Public, José Luis Escrivá, at the press conference after the government meeting.

The initiative is part of the new artificial intelligence strategy that the minister has outlined and that will be led by the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, Mayte Ledo. As explained by sources from the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Spanish Government is working with the European Union so that it modifies the original calendar regarding the deployment of this type of infrastructure, according to which the expansion of MareNostrum 5 was planned for 2029.

“Given the evolution of events in recent years and the increase in demand that is expected in the short term, we hope that the European Union accepts the modification of dates that we propose,” explains José Luis Escrivá's team. The idea is that the Catalan supercomputer goes from 312 Pflops (a measure with which the capacity of this type of machines is established) to 450 Pflops in 2025.

The MareNostrum 5 is already the largest supercomputer in Europe and one of the few with open source. That is, it allows you to compare your data sources with transparency as required by European legislation. The supercomputer also aims to serve as support for companies that want to use its resources to carry out tests in artificial intelligence, Escrivá has assured.

The commitment to increase its capacity responds to the Government's estimates of increased demand. In principle, it would come from the migration to the cloud of the data that the vast majority of companies still maintain on their own servers, added to this is an increase in demand derived from the implementation of 5G and the AI ​​projects that large companies are developing. . In fact, the expansion project contemplates that 20% of all MareNostrum capacity be allocated to private projects.

Thus, the supercomputer could become a pole of attraction for international projects, both public and private, which could find in Spain the attraction of a country with data storage capacity as well as excellent telecommunications infrastructure and cheap energy thanks to the powerful development. of renewable energies.

The Government thus wants to bet on Spain becoming a strategic center for data storage, taking advantage of the country's excellent high-speed fiber infrastructure, as well as a supply of electricity at affordable prices provided by the development of renewable energies. Along these lines, Minister Escrivá has announced that his ministry is working with the Digital Transition Ministry to draft a royal decree that regulates the development of data infrastructures based on sustainability criteria. The objective, he explained, is that “the data centers that are going to be created in the coming years are made under sustainable criteria, because the consumption of water and energy will be intensive.”

Barcelona will see its coordination work of the Spanish Supercomputing Network (RES) reinforced, which will expand its data center nodes throughout the country. Along these lines, the ministries of Digital Transformation and Energy Transition are working together to draft a royal decree that regulates the development of data infrastructures based on sustainability criteria and lead this process worldwide.

The expansion of MareNostrum is one of the legs on which the new artificial intelligence strategy that the Council of Ministers approved this Tuesday is based and in which, in addition to promoting the infrastructure and assets that Spain already has in this matter, it includes investments for the generation of the largest data model in Spanish and the promotion of talent in AI tools.

Along with the 600 million euros already deployed in this last point, the plan includes actions for another 1,500 million, which will also include measures for the implementation of AI in the public sector and medium and small companies, this with tools such as the Consulting kit, the digital kit or the 400 million euros of the Next Tech fund.

“All of this accompanied by a quality seal and certificates from the Spanish Agency for the Supervision of Artificial Intelligence (AESIA) that will ensure transparency to guarantee the ethical use of AI,” explain ministerial sources. To such an extent that it plans to guarantee copyright, in a way in which the Ministries of Digital Transformation and Public Function and the Ministry of Culture are still working together.

Minister Escrivá has highlighted that the Government maintains a “clear commitment to promoting artificial intelligence, but always from a humanistic perspective.”