The Fourth Most Powerful Computer in the World was Presented in Bologna

Science and Technology - December 21, 2022

 The President Sergio Mattarella has Inaugurated Leonardo, one of the Most Performing IT Systems in the World

At the Bologna Technopole last November 24, one of the most powerful computing systems in the world was presented, managed by Cineca and named after the famous Italian genius Leonardo. The President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella inaugurated the mega computer, together with the Minister of University Bernini, in front of the Italian and foreign press.

About 600 guests were present at the event, including personalities from the world of science, politics, technology and healthcare, all areas that will benefit enormously from the work of the super system. The calculator, costing a total of 240 million euros and financed by EuroHPC, CINECA and state resources, on behalf of the Ministry of University and Research, will be used to solve extremely complex problems in the fields of medicine, energy, bioengineering and climate change.

The Cineca consortium, after more than 50 years of commitment to technological research, will be responsible for managing the IT structure. CINECA has an inter-university nature and represents a real excellence in the technological field throughout Europe, bringing together 69 Italian universities, 2 ministries and 25 public institutions of the nation. The Leonardo computing system occupies an area of 700 square meters (about twice the area of a tennis court) with 9 rows made up of 155 “cabinets” and compartments that contain its technological soul for a total weight of 340 tons.

The extraordinary computer will guarantee 80% of Italian computing power and over 20% of that of Europe, feeding the calculating power of the continental meteorological center as well as the national one. To take advantage of the enormous calculation potential of the work, 1500 scientific researchers are arriving from all over the world and dedicated laboratories and research centers are already being set up which will thus form a real national technological pole, among the most avant-garde of Europe.

Leonardo’s performance has been estimated at 174.7 petaflops, which can be improved up to 240 petaflops, equal to millions of billions of operations processed per second, thanks to which, it ranks fourth in the list of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, thus as announced at the High-Performance Computing conference in Dallas, Texas. The extraordinary computing potential of the IT structure will help Italian research, in a massive way, in the study, for example of the climate change and the effects of the recent pandemic.

Leonardo’s important applications include those related to the development of new applications for artificial intelligence for medical purposes, those relating to personalized medicine, considered to all intents and purposes as the new frontier of world health, the design of revolutionary drugs and materials as well to the millions of calculations already foreseen for research against pandemics, so as to represent an effective combination of high technology and medical development at the service of humanity.

Naturally, the development of a machine as complex as it is powerful will be continuous and full of potential yet to be discovered, but the important thing is that work has begun which will bring progress and the technological evolution necessary to face future challenges in the various fields of Research. The enormous amount of data that can be managed by Leonardo will help provide fundamental information also in the development of new strategies to limit climate change using all available technology. Human capabilities, however, as also hoped for by Cardinal Zuppi, as one of the guests at the presentation, should remain at the center of the technological process, especially in the field of artificial intelligence, so as to keep clear the operational limits of any highly advanced technology.


Alessandro Fiorentino