Amaro, 13 luglio 2007
Its name is JANUS and it is the result of an Italian-Spanish partnership that began in the second half of 2005 and involved prestigious research centers such as: the physics departments of Università degli Studi di Ferrara and Rome "La Sapienza" ; the Institute for Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems (BIFI) and and the collaboration of resarchers of the Departamento de Física Teórica and Departamento of Ingeniería Electrónica y Telecomunicaciones of Universidad de Zaragoza.
In "road tests", i.e. running the specific calculations for which it was designed, JANUS has proven to be the smallest, fastest, and most energy-efficient supercomputer currently available. Each system, which is made up of 16 independent circuit boards working at the same time, provides 8 POps (i.e. 8.000 trillion operations per second) while consuming just 10KW of power. An equivalent system comprised of 2,000 CELL processors (the ones used in the Sony PlayStation 3) consumes 300KW. To carry out the operations that JANUS does in just one second, three billion people, or nearly half the planet, would take 60 days.
JANUS is the world's first computer to pack so much into such a small space. The entire system fits in a cabinet measuring 1 meter wide by 1 meter deep and by 2 meters tall, so it can be used in any office.
JANUS is science's new microscope. It was designed together with the researchers of the Italian-Spanish partnership and built by Eurotech in its Ethlab research center in Trento by taking advantage of its longstanding experience in the design and construction of supercomputers created specifically for scientific calculations.
It can study even smaller objects and can see and simulate structures that modern science would otherwise be unable to. The use of this innovative supercomputer should accelerate research and simulations in medical and scientific applications in the nanotechnology and life sciences field. The first prototype of the full system will be housed in the BIFI in Spain as early as this November, where it will be used to simulate fundamental properties of matter.
The JANUS supercomputer contract had a total value for Eurotech of some one million euros.