Saturday, December 6, 2008

Past To Understand The Present (Part I)

Sometimes it is good to have a look back, see those old projects that failed and make the following question: are they useful now?

This is the case of the Basque Supercomputing Center. Created as a laboratory of Labein and located at the Zamudio Technology Park during the first 90s hosted a CONVEX C-220 like this:

Some people say that the machine -fully financed with public money from the Basque Region Government- was misused. The government offered the utility to the University of the Basque Country, a public institution which could not afford the electricity bill. The machine was turned off and the department dissolved. The money was invested in more profitable research and industrial activities making use of cheaper and more affordable machines. It is a must to remember that the Basque and Spain were hit by an important crisis then, and that every bit of money to invest was crucial -as it is coming nowadays at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center were it is uncertain that the Spanish Government will be able to invest 12m€ witin next two years.

But if we have a look at the European HPC landscape or even the international we can find good reasons to recreate this laboratory at the Basque Country and join the separate efforts that I2Basque, the Universities and other research institutions are making in the Basque region. We do not need oversized compute power but we can find a resonable solution to pay the electricity bill.

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