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Supercomputer in a chapel

Posted March. 06, 2014 01:06,   


There is a chapel in Barcelona, Spain that houses a supercomputer. The name of the chapel is Torre Girona, which is within the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Torre Girona can be translated as tower of a family that ruled the region. Built in the 19th century, the chapel was restored after destroyed during the Spain Civil War, and is now used for holistic purposes like worship and education.

The chapel started to subserve supercomputer in 2005. While promoting a state-led research, the university accepted the government`s proposal to establish supercomputing center. It emptied the chapel and began serving then state-of-the-art technology. Though the decision was made according to a secular judgment that it is the most cost-effective way to build a supercomputing center, the chapel is now serving the world`s most beautiful and fancy supercomputer.

The name of the fetish is MareNostrum, meaning "Our Sea." It is a Latin word referring to the Mediterranean Sea. Just as Europe`s major rivers flow into Europe, it is a sea where all data gathers. The term was created to support scientists in Europe including Spain, France, Germany and Italy in performing joint research.

Supercomputing first focused on "sacred" study to uncover the origin of life or the birth of space, but later it began "secular" research for emerging industries and the public. The purpose is to raise industrial competitiveness while procuring money for operations from the private sector. Paradoxically, "the supercomputer in the chapel" was the first to pay attention in such "secular" research.

Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe, or PRACE, which is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, is an institution that oversees joint study by 25 member states of European Union. PRACE Director Stephane Requena explained how the institution used supercomputers for reducing the cost of wind tunnel test by 20 percent for AIRBUS, cutting crude oil drilling costs by 80 million U.S. dollars for Italian oil company Eni SpA, while shortening helicopter engine design period by six months for European Centre for Research and Advanced Training in Scientific Computation (CERFACS). He also introduced national tasks of studying infectious disease spreading model and the effects of public policy. The director said supercomputers should not be concealed in labs, but should be allowed for free visit by people as MareNostrum does. His claim can be interpreted that "supercomputers should be for the public."

The Jülich Supercomputing Centre in Helmholtz, Germany is also under PRACE. Researcher Norbert Attig said the size of manpower who can use supercomputing well represents a country`s R&D competitiveness. Thus the center links with surrounding universities such as Aachen University of Technology to strengthen courses to foster supercomputing talents. The school can be called a school that fosters "clergymen."

Secular supercomputers are also necessary in Korea. Despite its start as a sacred research in basic science, supercomputing now needs secular purposes supporting corporate R&D. It is crucial to lead clergymen (scientists) who believe in high-tech science to visit supercomputing centers and seek out what solutions supercomputers can deliver. The public also need to watch pilgrimage of scientists and enjoy the blessings of the mystery of science and the blessings of technology. Compliment on Torre Girona that has brought in supercomputers to spread gospels of science.