LUMI, the most powerful supercomputer in Europe and the third most powerful in the world, was inaugurated in Kajaani, some 500 kilometres north of Helsinki.
Situated in an old paper mill, now a data centre hosted by IT Centre for Science, LUMI (Large Unified Modern Infrastructure) is the result of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking. The initiative was launched in 2018 between the EU, countries including Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Poland and Sweden, and private partners to develop a supercomputing ecosystem in Europe.
The computer, which is the size of a basketball court and can generate power equivalent to some two million laptops, is owned by EuroHPC and run by a consortium of ten countries. Science and Culture Minister Petri Honkonen compared the power leap to “trading a horse for a jet plane.” Of LUMI’s total costs of €200 million, a quarter was covered by Finland and the rest was covered by other partners.
Kajaani was chosen as a location since its cool climate means little energy is needed to keep the computer cool. LUMI gets all its electricity from renewable hydroelectric power, and its waste heat will be utilised in the district heating network.
Meanwhile, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager described LUMI’s inauguration as “a major step for Europe’s digital and green transformation” and “a great example of the enormous potential of artificial intelligence to improve our lives.”
LUMI is promised to be a significant asset in areas with a strong focus on data and computing, including medicine, deep learning, artificial intelligence, climate change, renewable energy, and fusion energy. Besides being available to academic researchers worldwide, a fifth of LUMI’s capacity is reserved for private companies.
On the ever-changing global Green500 list for supercomputers, ahead of LUMI are currently the American computer Summit and the Japanese Fugaku.