The Prime Minister Boyko Borissov made a simbolic first dig of the building of the Bulgarian supercomputer, which will be part of the Euro HPC network. The project for the high-performance machine, which will be one of the most efficient in Eastern Europe, is being implemented by the Petascale Supercomputer – Bulgaria consortium with a leading partner Sofia Tech Park JSC and will be located on the territory of the science and technology park.
The official ceremony was also attended by the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Maria Gabriel, the Minister of Economy Emil Karanikolov, the Minister of Finance Vladislav Goranov, the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova, the President Rosen Plevneliev (2012-2017), Ivan Dimov, Bulgaria’s representative in EuroHPC, the chairman of the Supervisory Board of Sofia Tech Park Petar Statev, the executive director of Sofia Tech Park Todor Mladenov, representatives of the partner organizations in the consortium “Petascale Supercomputer – Bulgaria”, the IT sector, automotive cluster, media.
“This supercomputer is not only for healthcare and for drugs, but for everything. It can make billions of operations, comparisons and conclusions in an hour”, the Prime Minister commented. He pointed out that the establishment of the supercomputer in Bulgaria will greatly support the development of automotive clusters, as well as the science and innovation sectors. Borissov stressed that Bulgaria has managed to obtain the right to host one of Europe’s supercomputers in strong competition with other member states, and such projects are going to remain for the benefit of generations to come. The Prime Minister thanked the European Commission and pointed out that our country also participates in financing the project.
“The supercomputer is not an objective per se. Its computing power will be transformed in support of Bulgarian companies and will help them to model, simulate their products or services and enter the international markets. “This project is another tool that supports the establishments of a bridge between the academy, business and public institutions”, said during the official ceremony the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Sofia Tech Park JSC Petar Statev. He pointed out that nations are gaining their place in the world thanks to the reasonable people who are at the forefront of developing and implementing high technology. “Bulgaria should not only be an outsourcing destination, but also should create,” said Statev, emphasizing that the main goal of the supercomputer is to increase the competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy, to accelerate the development of research and innovation activities.
“Today’s start of construction of the digital hub in Sofia is proof of Bulgaria’s potential to be a regional leader in the field of supercomputers”, said the EU Commissioner Maria Gabriel. She pointed out that the project for the Bulgarian supercomputer is part of her initiative to build the European network EuroHPC of 8 centers for ultra-fast computing in the EU. Maria Gabriel stressed that supercomputers can help people provide more reliable transport, save energy and fight climate change more effectively. She thanked the team of Sofia Tech Park for the diligence, expertise and perseverance while working on the project.
The Minister of Economy Emil Karanikolov thanked the EU Commissioner Maria Gabriel for the support of the project, which was convincingly presented to the European Commission by the Bulgarian consortium, as well as the management and the whole team of Sofia Tech Park for the efforts made for the preparation and implementation. “This is not their only achievement. They have managed to attract international organizations such as Bosch and the World Bank as partners”, Karanikolov said. The Minister pointed out that the Ministry has received two more applications for investments on the territory of Sofia Tech Park from representatives of the IT sector. He appealed to the representatives of business and science, after the supercomputer will be built, to work very intensively with it, in order to reach new scientific achievements and for the creation of competitive products and services. “The positioning of a supercomputer in Sofia is good not only for Bulgaria’s image, but will also support the development of the economy, attracting foreign investors in the field of high technology”, said the Minister of Economy. “Karanikolov pointed out that the construction of the supercomputer in Sofia Tech Park, a place where science and business partner extremely successfully, brings our country forward in the field of innovation.
“Investment in technology, innovation and education is the way that Sofia is going. All this is happening thanks to the huge support that Sofia receives from the European Commission, our Commissioner Maria Gabriel and the government”, said Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova. She stressed that Sofia and Bulgaria will continue to invest in science, education and innovation, because this is important for the modern economy, which creates quality jobs for educated and talented people.
President Rosen Plevneliev said that Sofia Tech Park is the place not only for young and smart people, but also for everyone who want to develop their ideas. He stressed that the park attracts a lot of investment and will soon be the first dig of another project for 70 million euros, related to the construction of a new modern scientific and business complex of technologies of the future, which will be a platform for development of the automotive industry. Another project that the Sofia Tech Park team is working on is to build a professional training center and school. “The supercomputer project proves that no work is done per piece and no money are spent per piece. It unites the government, the European Commission, business, universities, the municipality “, said the President Plevneliev.
The power of the supercomputer will be unique for Bulgaria and the region. Included in the EuroHPC network will allow our country to have about 6 petaflop of computing power, which in practice will allow real-time processing of a huge amount of data, as well as quickly reach the results of their processing. The supercomputer will be one of 5 petascale supercomputers designed to upgrade Europe’s computing power. The candidacy of the Bulgarian consortium was approved according to the procedure of EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, in which 8 locations were selected, on whose territory supercomputers will be built: 3 pre-exascale and 5 petasacale supercomputers. After its construction, Bulgaria will establish itself as a digital hub in the region. The main purpose of the supercomputer is to support a number of research and innovation activities, to stimulate the industry based on the use of technology and computing resources. The power of the machine can be used in many application areas for the needs of a large number of public and private users, including small and medium enterprises at Bulgarian, regional and European level. Bulgaria’s presence in the European network of supercomputers will lead to significant results in the analysis of medical data for cellular and molecular diagnostics. The system will be optimized to work in many scientific fields, including bioinformatics, pharmacy, molecular dynamics and mechanics, quantum chemistry and biochemistry, artificial intelligence and more.
The supercomputer should be up and running by the end of February 2021. The state funding of the project, including the estimated operating costs for the first 5 years of operation, amounts to EUR 12 million, and the entire project is worth around EUR 18 million.