A research agreement has now been signed between the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre and Lenovo to advance research in multiple Spanish and EU priority sectors for high-performance computing. Through this collaboration, Lenovo will invest $7 million over three years to advance precision medicine through the use of supercomputing, the design and development of open-source European chips and the creation of more energy-sustainable supercomputers and data centres.
The event took place at the BSC-CNS headquarters with its Director, Mateo Valero, its Deputy Director, Josep Maria Martorell, and Executive Vice President of Lenovo and President of Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group, Kirk Skaugen.
Mateo Valero, Director of the BSC-CNS states: “I am very proud of this important collaboration with Lenovo as we continue our longstanding work together tackling the great challenges of these priority lines of research from the Spanish and European Commission’s agenda. This research collaboration will generate significant returns for the region, not only human and scientific, but also technological and economic.”
Noam Rosen, EMEA Director, HPC & AI at Lenovo says, “We are excited to announce the agreement to jointly develop novel European supercomputing technologies for the exascale era, which extends from our six year partnership with BSC. Our shared goal is to embrace open architecture to support scientists and researchers with smarter, more efficient and sustainable supercomputing platforms. This agreement, and our investment contribution, are just the latest examples of Lenovo’s ongoing commitment to Europe, joining our new manufacturing facility in Hungary and the AI Innovation Centre Germany. Lenovo is passionate about helping researchers at BSC solve one of humanity’s greatest challenges and is proud to support BSC’s leadership driving European innovation in HPC.”
Supercomputing: key to advancing precision medicine
The exponential increase in the production of genomic data produces multiple petabytes of information, requiring the use of high-performance computing (HPC) resources for analysis, such as those of the MareNostrum supercomputer at the BSC-CNS. The efficient analysis of large-scale genomic data will be key to advancing precision medicine and the generation of new treatments against diseases such as cancer. Thus, one of the collaboration projects between Lenovo and the BSC-CNS is aimed at improving and accelerating precision medicine using supercomputing.
In this context, the BSC-CNS team, led by the researcher Miquel Moretó, will study genomic analysis algorithms to design new accelerators that will be integrated into the HPC platforms of the future that will serve to improve the efficiency of these highly sophisticated analyses. The algorithms created and optimised by the BSC-CNS team will target GOAST (Genomics Optimisation and Scalability Tool) developed by Lenovo to optimise and improve genomic analysis. In addition, these analysis tools will be extended to other disciplines such as epigenetics, metagenomics, microbiology, virology, and other areas of life and health sciences.
More sustainable and energy-efficient supercomputers
The growing need to provide researchers with more powerful supercomputers and data centres requires considerable increases in energy consumption, which is no longer sustainable. An estimate of the consumption of some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world can be around 25MW, which is equivalent to the consumption of a medium-sized city. The joint research between BSC-CNS and Lenovo will seek to build more energy-efficient, sustainable and lower-cost supercomputers and data centres. The group (coordinated by the researcher Julita Corbalán) will lead this challenge at the BSC-CNS. In 2016, this team developed, together with Lenovo, new system software (EAR, Energy Aware Runtime) for the optimisation and energy efficiency of HPC tools, and together with the UPC launched the spin-off EAS (Energy Aware Solutions) to continue advancing in this direction.
This new research project will seek more powerful, flexible, and robust systems for energy-saving within infrastructure solutions, such as software for energy optimisation and management. They will look to incorporate new technologies developed by INTEL within the algorithms recently developed by Corbalán’s team. The project will also seek to extend and monitor energy expenditure to the entire infrastructure architecture.
European autonomy in chip design
In 2019, the BSC announced the creation of the European Laboratory for Open Computing Architecture (LOCA), whose mission is to design and develop chip technology within Europe, based on open -RISC-V instruction set architecture. This laboratory, led by researcher John D. Davis, was born as a collaborative project with companies, foundations, and academic institutions to create open-source hardware that guarantees transparency, competitiveness, and technological autonomy. The incorporation of Lenovo in this project will help facilitate progress towards this priority objective for Europe. In the same context of LOCA, the BSC also recently announced the creation of a joint laboratory with INTEL to develop chips with European technology.
The collaboration between BSC-CNS and Lenovo is the continuation of joint work that dates to 2016, aimed at studying the use of artificial intelligence in the field of precision medicine or the sustainability of supercomputers, amongst others.