Development of the IT4Inovations National Supercomputing Centre
The IT4Inovations National Supercomputing Centre was created by the VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava. Its mission is to conduct top-quality research in the field of highly complex computing and data analysis as well as operating the Czech Republic’s premier supercomputer infrastructure, ensuring that the technology is used efficiently and effectively in order to boost the competitiveness and innovative potential of Czech research and industry. The key goal of IT4Innovations is to be a leading centre for supercomputing offering professional services and carrying out ground-breaking research in the field of computing and big data processing in order to benefit academia, industry and society as a whole. In order to keep step with the world’s richest countries, it is essential for IT4Innovations to receive constant funding and support for the ongoing modernization of its research infrastructure.
IT4Innovations is used as a research facility by five institutions: the VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava, the University of Ostrava, the Silesian University (Opava), the Brno University of Technology, and the Institute of Geonics (Czech Academy of Sciences). Research falls into eight separate programmes:
- IT for crisis management
- Numerical modelling for engineering problems
- HPC libraries and supercomputing for industry
- Modelling for nanotechnologies
- IT for knowledge processing
- Soft computing methods for supercomputing applications
- Recognition and presentation of information from multimedia data
- Safe and reliable architectures, networks and protocols
Alongside the expansion of the IT4Innovations supercomputing centre, a synergic project – the Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) – is also being created; its purpose is to support digital innovations in companies and in society as a whole. The Digital Innovation Hub in Ostrava will harness the expertise of two highly respected institutions. The Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre (MSIC) will be able to set up collaborative links with companies that hold strong potential for innovation, providing them with tailor-made support. IT4Innovations will then be able to offer this support in specific areas of digitalization such as high-performance computing (HPC), big data analysis or artificial intelligence.
The IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Centre is a part of the VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava. Its first supercomputer – named Anselm – was installed in temporary containers in May 2013; its power is 94 TFLOPs. The next supercomputer – Salomon – began operating in July 2015, when it was the 40th most powerful computer in the world. Since the summer of 2015 both supercomputers have been located in a brand-new building on the university’s campus in Poruba. Besides operating the two supercomputers, IT4Innovations also conducts cutting-edge IT research in the field of high-performance computing (HPC). Its research teams have strong international links; since its foundation in 2011, IT4Innovations has been part of the prestigious Europe-wide research infrastructure PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe), representing the Czech Republic in this infrastructure. Since 2016 it has also been involved in the European Technology Platform in the area of High-Performance Computing (ETP4HPC), which defines key research priorities for supercomputing in Europe.
IT4Innovations was created mainly thanks to European Union funding; it received around 1.8 billion CZK from the Operational Programme Research and Development for Innovation. The IT4Innovations Centre of Excellence operated from 2011 to 2015 and involved five partners: the VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava, the University of Ostrava, the Silesian University (Opava), the Brno University of Technology, and the Institute of Geonics (Czech Academy of Sciences). These partners are currently continuing their collaboration as part of the IT4Innovations project “Excellence in Science” (within the National Sustainability Programme II), which supports top-quality research in supercomputing and embedded systems.