Barcelona Supercomputing Center and Intel announce €400m joint laboratory

10-year project will design chips for zettascale supercomputers 1,000 times faster than today's

The Marenostrum 4 at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (by BSC)
The Marenostrum 4 at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (by BSC) / Guifré Jordan

ACN | Barcelona

June 7, 2022 01:37 PM

Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and US company Intel have announced a new joint laboratory to develop chips for use in future supercomputers over the next ten years.

The project will see an investment of up to €400m and aims to design chips with technology based on open-source RISC-V hardware, to be used in zettascale supercomputers.

Zettascale supercomputers will break the barrier of 10^21 operations per second, 1,000 times faster than today's most powerful supercomputers.

The collaboration in the Catalan capital will help Europe to become self-sufficient in these type of chips, "which will be used worldwide in the design of autonomous cars or devices for artificial intelligence applications," according to BSC.

At present, Europe is dependent on these chips, which are mostly designed and marketed by American companies and manufactured in countries such as Taiwan and South Korea.

"World leader"

The joint announcement was made in Hamburg, Germany at ISC 2022, Europe's largest high-performance computing (HPC) conference.

"We are very pleased that Intel has chosen BSC to create a research lab together that will be a world leader in chip design," said Mateo Valero, director of the Barcelona facility.

"One of the objectives will be for future European supercomputers, such as MareNostrum 6 within 5 years, and many others worldwide, to incorporate technology developed in this lab," he said, adding that the lab "will help create a hub for new companies and jobs."

Jeff McVeigh, vice president and general manager of the Super Computer Group at Intel, said that the company has "an ambitious goal to sprint to the zettascale era for High Performance Computing."

"Barcelona Supercomputing Center shares our vision for this goal, with equal emphasis on sustainability and an open approach. We are excited to partner with them to embark on this journey."


MareNostrum is the name of the supercomputer at BSC, one of Catalonia's key contributions to the global scientific effort. Listen to the podcast below to learn more about BSC as well as the ALBA Synchrotron, a particle accelerator that allow scientists to see the atomic structure of matter and study its properties.

Investment and jobs

This joint laboratory is expected to create 300 new highly qualified jobs and be an innovation hub that attracts new international investment.

The lab will be located at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia's Campus Nord, close to the BSC's existing facilities.

The project marks a continuation of the collaboration between Intel and BSC, ongoing since 2011.