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Finland takes a giant leap in research and development

Finland will procure a new supercomputer, that will provide Finnish researchers with European leading computing capacity and enable new research breakthroughs. CSC – IT Center for Science and Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, have signed an agreement on the new supercomputing system on Wednesday 12.12.

The new supercomputer will provide Finnish researchers six times more the capacity than previously and enable researchers to predict climate change and its effects, go deeper into the quantum mechanical world, solve problems around renewable and fusion energy, utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop new medical treatments, and solve other very computing intensive problems. The setup will also include a solution dedicated to advanced AI research.
 

Harri Saikkonen, Managing Director Atos Nordics; Peter ´t Jong, CEO Atos Benelux and the Nordics; Kimmo Koski, Managing Director CSC; Sami Niemelä, Director, Finnish Meteorological Institute. Picture: Sami Ilvonen / CSC

 


Competitive edge for Finland

– This new solution provides with a powerful and balanced environment for data-intensive computing, and it will lay the foundation for competitiveness of research in Finland for years to come. The system from Atos will be able to meet challenges posed by Artificial Intelligence research, which further emphasizes the value of this investment for the Finnish society, says CSC's Managing Director Kimmo Koski.

– Large data masses, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence change our society and supercomputers enable major advancements in these fields. As the leading European super computer provider, we are proud to be contributing to the competitiveness of Finland and the Finnish research and academic community, says Harri Saikkonen, Managing Director, Atos Nordics.

– The new supercomputer, along with the advanced data management system and connected services, will be available to researchers from both higher education institutions and government research institutions on common principles of use. This wider access will promote cooperation and improve competence-based growth, says Erja Heikkinen, Director, Ministry of Education and Culture.


System to be operational 2019–2020

The new system will be placed in CSC's data center in Kajaani. The new system will be deployed in two phases. The first phase will be operational in the summer of 2019 and will include a solution designed for AI research. The second phase will extended the system with Atos' new BullSequana XH2000 supercomputer, providing a giant leap in computing capacity and positioning Finland as a leading country within supercomputing.
 

Investment of 39 million euros

The supercomputing system investment is worth 37 million euros, and an additional 2 million euros will be invested in user competences going forward. The purchase is funded from the development program for Data Management and Computing (DL2021), driven by the Ministry of Education and Culture and Finnish government's additional funding for AI related computing.

– In the rapidly changing economy, investments into supercomputing quickly pay themselves back. According to IDC, every euro invested into supercomputing generates roughly 40 euros in profits, which demonstrates how profitable these investments can be, says Harri Saikkonen, Managing Director, Atos Nordics.


Users excited about opportunities

– We have together with my research group developed Vlasitor, the world's most detailed model for simulating conditions in space, says Professor Minna Palmroth, University of Helsinki.

– The new supercomputer enables six-dimensional modelling and with that, we will be able to shed light on the most complex problems of astrophysics that have remained elusive for decades, Palmroth continues.

– In the field of nano science, one of the key challenges in the near future will be understanding the boundary between nano materials and biological materials in terms of structure, dynamics and properties. The increased computing capability provided by the system will enable us to find more in-depth answers to these questions, says Hannu Häkkinen, Academy Professor, University of Jyväskylä.

Häkkinen is one of the most cited authors in his field.

– CSC's new supercomputer will enable us to take a new approach to cancer and antibiotic drug development. We can now look at drugs and their target proteins as a dynamic system. This will enable us to consider completely new targets and ultimately develop more efficient and better medicine, says Professor Antti Poso, University of Eastern Finland and University of Tübinge in Germany.

– The whole Finnish society, including transport, authorities, energy, business, citizens and media, is utilizing the services of the Finnish Meteorological Institute. With the new supercomputer resource, which we have acquired in cooperation with CSC, we will be able to develop new methods for modelling weather, sea conditions, air quality and climate. The increased capacity enables Finland to participate in International climate scenario calculations, which will provide research data for country level decision making and mitigation planning in addition to IPCC reports, says Sami Niemelä, Director, Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Other researchers utilizing the new supercomputer include the For Women in Science Award winning Bioinformatics Research Director Laura Elo, Professor of Signal Processing Moncef Gabbouj, Professor of Computer Science Keijo Heljanko, AI Researcher and Professor of Infectious Diseases Anu Kantele, Academy Professor Samuel Kaski, Astrophysics Researcher Petri Käpylä, one of the most quoted researchers in Atmospheric Science, and Academician Markku Kulmala, European Research Council funded Professor Ilpo Vattulainen, Aerosol Physics Researcher Hanna Vehkamäki, Digital Humanist Mikko Tolonen, as well as several other renowned Finnish researchers.



Picture: Pinja Ahola / CSC


Technical details:

  • BullSequana XH2000 + X400 systems from Atos, integrated with a solution specialized in AI computing
  • Maximum theoretical performance: 11 PFLOPS
  • Storage capacity: 10 PB

Additional information:


Kimmo Koski, Managing Director
CSC
+358 503 819 777
kimmo.koski (at) csc.fi

Pekka Lehtovuori, Director
Services for Research, CSC
+358 050 381 9723
pekka.lehtovuori (at) csc.fi

Erja Heikkinen
Counsellor for Science Affairs,
Ministry of Education and Culture
+358 29 533 0101

Harri Saikkonen
Managing Director Nordics
Atos Nordics
+358 407 600 187
harri.saikkonen (at) atos.net



CSC is a Finnish center of expertise in ICT that provides world-class services for research, education, culture, public administration and enterprises, to help them thrive and benefit society at large. www.csc.fi

Atos is a global leader in digital transformation with 120,000 employees in 73 countries and annual revenue of € 13 billion. European number one in Cloud, Cybersecurity and High-Performance Computing, the Group provides end-to-end Orchestrated Hybrid Cloud, Big Data, Business Applications and Digital Workplace solutions through its Digital Transformation Factory, as well as transactional services through Worldline, the European leader in the payment industry. With its cutting-edge technologies and industry knowledge, Atos supports the digital transformation of its clients across all business sectors. The Group is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic & Paralympic Games and operates under the brands Atos, Atos Syntel, Unify and Worldline. Atos is listed on the CAC40 Paris stock index. www.atos.net