POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Luxembourg launches Meluxina supercomputer



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Xavier Bettel, Grand Duke Henri, Franz Fayot and EuroHPC Joint Undertaking director Anders Jensen at the launch of Meluxina on 7 June. Photo: SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen 

Luxembourg on Monday launched the Meluxina high-performance computer, a €30.4m investment and the latest chapter in the country’s digitalisation strategy. 

 “Meluxina can begin to swim,” said prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) at the launch of the supercomputer, with reference to its namesake, the Melusina mermaid who stands at the heart of the grand duchy’s founding myth.

Located at the facilities of IEE in Bissen, Grand Duke Henri was at hand to push the red button that launched the machine. “Mission accomplished,” said Bettel about the project that began three years ago as part of an EU-wide initiative to strengthen high-performance computing power on the continent.

Luxembourg is once again reinventing itself, said Bettel, from the steel industry to the financial sector, space resources and now high-performance computing. “It’s not a revolution,” he said, adding that he is “proud of our past, and proud of what we are doing and proud to prepare the future.”

The Luxembourg supercomputer forms part of a network of eight such computers dotted across Europe, in Finland, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Portugal. The joint undertaking’s headquarters is located at the Luxembourg site.

“We have identified 750 potential players who could use it and 20% who have a strong interest,” said economy minister Franz Fayot (LSAP), explaining that Meluxina will be available to industry to carry out high-performance computing jobs.

Around two thirds of the supercomputer’s capacity will be commercialised in Luxembourg, with industry, research but also SMEs and start-ups among the targeted users for the Meluxina, which has a capacity of 10 petaflops.

To match the performance of one second of a 1 petaflops computer, you would have to perform one calculation every second for 31.6 million years.

Luxembourg paid for two thirds of the project. The European Commission funded the other third, with 35% of the computing power to be made available to the 32 countries taking part in the EuroHPC joint venture.

The computer will rank among the top 30 supercomputers in the world in terms of computing power and will be in the top 20 in terms of energy consumption, fed exclusively with green energy by Kiowatt, a cogeneration plant powered by waste wood.

Meluxina will not only be a supercomputer but also a competence centre to help companies and researchers use it effectively, Fayot said.

“We are ready to serve our clients,” said Mario Grotz, president of LuxProvide, the company founded to operate Meluxina. The project’s business model relies on five components, he said: a world-class computer by Atos, a focus on industry needs, extensive support services, a stable and trustworthy environment, and integration into a European ecosystem of excellence.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.