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Bologna Technopole: 40 million euros for the Italian city of science

Pubblicato il 22 May 2020

The Italian national funds necessary to complete the Bologna Technopole have been officially authorised.

With the publication in the Official Journal, the Government will allocate 40 million euros in three years (10 million in 2020, 15 million in the following two years), which will be used to finance the necessary steps to complete the infrastructure.
Work is progressing at full speed to finalise, within the first weeks of July, the world-class infrastructure that will host one of the most powerful data centers in the world: the one of the European Center for Medium-term Meteorological Forecasts (ECMWF), an international organisation with 22 Member States, including Italy, and 12 cooperating States. The Bologna site will become one of the leading centres for scientific calculation at the European and world level, which will be able to foster the development of an entire ecosystem based on highly specialized competences.

The Technopole will also host the pre-exascale supercomputer (EuroHPC) financed by the European Commission and Italian Ministry of Education in 2019, thanks to the proposal presented by a joint Consortium with Slovenia led by CINECA, together with the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and at the International Higher School of Advanced Studies (SISSA).

Pre-exascale class computers can perform over 150 petaflops, or 150 million billion calculations per second. With such a large amount of data, a top-notch network infrastructure is a must. For this reason, all European centres will be interconnected at very high capacity with the European GÉANT network and in Italy the Bologna hub will be connected with two 100 Gbps links with GARR network, with the possibility to grow up to 1 Tbps in the coming years.

Record link between data centres

A strong collaboration between GARR and large computer centres like the ones of CNAF INFN and CINECA brought to the creation of an ultra-fast dedicated fibre connection with a capacity of up to 1.2 Terabit per second. A connection based on optical transmission which, for the first time, made it possible for two distributed data centres to communicate with each other, with the same level of performance that would be obtainable if they were on the same local network.

Bologna, the Big Data capital

Bologna can be defined as the capital of Big Data thanks to its numerous research centres on High Performance Computing such as the CNAF calculation centre, of INFN and CINECA. Moreover the city is also an important research hub on weather anc climate studies, as it hosts prestigious institutes such as CMCC, CNR, ENEA as well as the European Institute of Technology, Climate-Kic.

Future scenarios

Also, the Bologna region (Emilia-Romagna) is undertaking another important step: Region planning to host the new Copernicus Program, thanks to a recent agreement with the Government aimed at presenting the Technopole as the site of the European research program, where about 250 researchers will be employed.
In particular, the collaboration agreement, signed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provides for the design of the works, with costs borne for 50% by the Emilia-Romagna Region and 50% by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which must be completed within 2022, and the preparation of the Italian offer to answer the international call and prepare the tender.

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