The Slovenia Times

Maribor to get a second supercomputer

Science & Technology
The EuroHPC Vega supercomputer in Maribor. Photo: SLING Consortium

A state-of-the-art data centre with a supercomputer is to be built in Maribor, slated for completion in 2026, five years after Slovenia's most powerful supercomputer opened in the city.

The data centre will be built at a strategic location, adjacent to the headquarters of DEM, the state-owned company operating hydro power stations on the Drava River.

To accommodate the facility, DEM has sold part of its land to the state. DEM director general Damjan Seme said the location had all the required infrastructure.

Presenting the project on 4 June along with Prime Minister Robert Golob, Seme said a call to establish the centre had been published and preparatory work was expected to start at the end of the year.

Golob believes the chosen location provides many synergies and good opportunities for further development of computing and data capacities in Slovenia.

€50 million in EU grants for the supercomputer have been agreed, and the state will chip in as much, Golob said.

"We will build one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe, which will enable this location and Maribor to find their place on the global map in artificial intelligence and other advanced applications," Golob said.

The government and DEM have discussed an option for Slovenia to provide its know-how in water management to countries around the world.

Golob sees opportunities to connect technologies for observation from space and the processing of images on the supercomputer and in the data centre, and offer water management services around the world.

There is already one supercomputer in Maribor. Launched in April 2021, the Vega put Slovenia on the global map of computer super powers.

Operating on the premises of the Institute of Information Science (IZUM), the Vega has been involved in many machine learning and deep learning projects.

The new supercomputer is planned to serve multiple purposes, and be used by researchers from the University of Maribor and private users. DEM has a smaller data centre of its own.

The new facility will be powered by the Mariborski Otok hydro power plant, and the resulting heat will be used for district heating in Maribor.

The construction of the building on a 3,170 sq metre plot of land is expected to start next year and be completed in 2026. It will be owned by the Academic and Research Network of Slovenia (ARNES).

ARNES is a public non-profit that provides internet access and network services to organisations in research, education and culture.


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