Leonardo pre-exascale supercomputer goes live this week • The Register

Europe’s pre-exascale system Leonardo is set to be officially inaugurated this week after being confirmed as the fourth most powerful supercomputer on the Top500 list at the recent SC22 conference.

Leonardo is the second pre-exascale supercomputer from the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, which, following the LUMI system, went live in Finland back in June. It is expected to be able to reach performance levels in excess of 249 petaflops when fully operational and will be officially opened to scientists and engineers on November 24 at Technopole Bologna in Italy.

The move means that Europe now has two of the four most powerful supercomputers in the Top500 list, behind US Frontier’s Exascale system and Japan’s Arm-based Fugaku system.

Like most supercomputers, it is used for a variety of the most demanding applications, including materials science, biomedicine, climate change, engineering, human brain modeling, and AI development.

The Leonardo system itself is built by French IT company Atos and is based on its BullSequana XH2000 architecture. It consists of two main processor modules called Booster and Data Centric so that it can cover a range of different workloads.

According to Atos, the system is equipped with around 3,500 Intel Xeon processors and 14,000 Nvidia A100 GPUs. The booster has 3456 Intel Ice Lake compute nodes while the Data Centric module has 1536 nodes. The latter is based on BullSequana X2140 three-node CPU blades with Intel’s 4th Gen Sapphire Rapids Xeon Scalable processors, which are expected to appear in 2023 when the chips are said to be available.

According to EuroHPC, Leonardo will in future also be supplemented by the integration of quantum processors as accelerators.

This will be joined next year by another pre-exascale supercomputer, the MareNostrum 5 at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center in Spain. This is also built by Atos and will couple Intel’s Sapphire Rapids processors with Nvidia Grace chips.

According to EuroHPC, MareNostrum 5 is designed more for general purpose computing and AI and will feature a different architecture than Leonardo and LUMI.

These are stepping stones towards Europe’s first exascale supercomputer, Jupiter, which will be based at the Jülich Supercomputing Center (JSC) in Germany and expected to arrive sometime in 2023/2024, according to EuroHPC.

However, the senior European Commission official told the media that the tender for Jupiter has yet to be awarded, but the system is expected to reach “more than 1,000 petaflops” — exascale — when fully operational.

“It will be slightly faster than the current US supercomputer [Frontier]and we hope to become the number one machine in the world,” the official said. It remains to be seen how it will compare to Aurora, Argonne National Laboratory’s exascale system in the US, which has been delayed due to problems, that Intel had when shipping Sapphire Rapids processors.

All EuroHPC supercomputers will be available via cloud-based services offered through a federated HPC infrastructure with terabit connectivity, according to the slides shown by the official.

“That’s a pretty impressive network considering we had nothing in 2018,” the official said, claiming “Europe is now a computer superpower.” ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/11/22/leonardo_supercomputer_goes_live/ Leonardo pre-exascale supercomputer goes live this week • The Register

Rick Schindler

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