THE FIRST apeNEXT COMPUTERS WILL BE INSTALLED IN ITALY IN EARLY 2005
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The apeNEXT supercomputer is the result of a teamwork, a joint effort made by the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), the Eurotech Group and prestigious European research centres.
ApeNEXT is a top performer in its class, not only for its computational power, but also for its extremely small dimensions and low power consumption.
Rome, January 20, 2005
- Exadron, the High Power Computing division of Eurotech S.p.A., and INFN (the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics) jointly announced today the production of the first apeNEXT supercomputer.
The apeNEXT project was started by INFN, and was aimed at the creation of a supercomputer among the most powerful in the world.
The model under construction today has a computational power of 12 Teraflops, which places it among the top ten computing machines.
Besides, it presents other advantages: unlike other supercomputers of the same type, which occupy hundreds and sometimes thousands of square meters, apeNEXT has very small dimensions and is entirely contained in a number of modular racks. Its power consumption is much lower than that of other supercomputers and known prototypes, and it is so reliable that it can work for weeks at a time, without interruption, performing extremely complex computational operations.
"In the world, no more than ten supercomputers are as powerful as apeNEXT" says Giampietro Tecchiolli, technical director of Exadron and adviser of the Eurotech group, "but computational power is only one of the features that have to be taken into account.
After all, number-crunching operations can be boosted, within certain limits, by connecting more and more machines in parallel. What is more important is considering the combination of four factors: computational speed, power consumption, dimensions and cost. As regards these parameters, apeNEXT is surely one of the best performing supercomputers ever created".
The apeNEXT machines produced by Exadron will be installed in many advanced-research labs in Europe (Rome, Milan and Trento in Italy, Zeuthen in Germany, Orsay in France, Swansea in Great Britain), which are already using the former families of the Ape systems.
The first supercomputers will start working in Italy in the first half of 2005, answering the most complex computation requirements of our scientists and researchers.
"The teamwork of INFN and Eurotech was essential for the realization of the project - says Roberto Petronzio, president of INFN - and it proves that active cooperation between the Italian industry and scientific research can make us competitive in Europe and the world, while developing our innovation capacity and the efficiency of our industry."
ApeNEXT is an Italian project, born from a complex work of optimization and engineering. The researchers of the INFN labs in Rome, Ferrara, Pisa and Milan, supported by DESY (Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron - Berlin and Bielefeld) and by the University of Paris, designed the basic architecture and the main circuits of the apeNEXT supercomputer. Some customized integrated circuits were developed for parallel computation, and extremely innovative solutions were implemented by the INFN researchers. The optimization of the system, the engineering and communication systems are the result of a joint activity between INFN and Exadron. The industrial production is assured by Eurotech.
The collaboration between the industry, the university and the public institutions has created new opportunities for innovation: while working at the apeNEXT project, for instance, Eurotech has developed new products for superfast communication between computing machines, which can be employed in many other applications.
Supercomputers are one of the basic tools of scientists, which enable them to explore the newest disciplines of science and offer the greatest possibilities of innovation to the industry.
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, Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics, promotes, coordinates and performs scientific research in the fields of subnuclear, nuclear and astroparticle physics. Its researchers also develop the technological tools required for scientific activity.
The INFN collaborates with the university and operates at an international level. Five thousand people work for the institute, 2000 are employees, 2000 are university staff and 1000 are students and scholarship holders.
The institute was created on August 8, 1951, by a group of physicists working in the universities of Milan, Padua, Rome and Turin. Their aim was to pursue and develop the research started in the thirties by the school of Enrico Fermi.
During its fifty years of activity, the INFN has increased its dimensions: today it counts thirty sections and research groups located in university departments, plus four labs of international relevance and a national computation centre.
The INFN also works with the French National Research Centre at the EGO project, a gravitational observatory near Pisa.
The Eurotech Group includes Eurotech ( www.eurotech.it
), Parvus Corporation ( www.parvus.com
), Erim (www.erim.fr
), Neuricam ( www.neuricam.com
), Exadron ( www.exadron.com
), Ascensit (www.ascensit.com
), and IPS ( www.ipssistemi.it