Eurotech: unveiled today Janus, the new generation of supercomputers

Amaro, February 27th 2008

Today JANUS was presented at the prestigious headquarters of the European Center for Theoretical Studies in Nuclear Physics and Related Areas in Trento. JANUS is the super calculator born from the Italian-Spanish collaboration, that since the second half of 2005 has enjoyed the participation of esteemed Research Centers including, the University of Ferrara, Rome’s “La Sapienza”, BIFI, Institute of Biophysics and Complex Systems of Physics of Saragozza, the University of Saragozza, the Institute of Engineering Investigation of Argon in addition to Madrid’s “Complutense” University and the University of Extremadura, Badajoz.

Enrico Bellone, director of the periodical “Le Scienze”, was the conference’s coordinator. He presented the speakers who included, the President of the Autonomous Region of Trento, Lorenzo Dellai, Research and Innovation Councilman, Gianluca Salvatori, BIFI’s director, Jose-Felix Saenz Lorenzo who represented the Spanish Government, Patrizio Bianchi, Chancellor of the University of Ferrara, Guido Martinelli, President of the Federated Academy of Science and Technology from La Sapienza University of Rome and Roberto Siagri, President of Eurotech Group.

To illustrate the scientific project Giorgio Parisi, one of the most important figures on the international scientific scene presented. His expertise has been recognized by Microsoft and was the recipient of their Prize for Science in Europe 2007, he is also noted by the English Royal Society and by Paris’ Academy of Science for his contribution to the spread and development of computational science in Europe.

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.

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