SAV buys state's first 'super-computer'

After years of bureaucratic frustration, the Slovak Academy of Sciences (Slovenská akadémia vied, SAV) has purchased the country's first "super-computer". Jaroslav Bobovský, the director of SAV's computer centre, said that the super-computer will assist the academy in research of quantum physics, astronomy, geo-physics, genealogy, atomic physics and conductivity.
"We want to enable SAV employees to secure a location at the forefront of world technology," he said. "Our employees will learn how to use the newest technologies, get to know them and grow with them." Bobovský added that he hoped the new technology would aid the SAV in gaining a reputation as an organisation with access to the highest technological advances in the world- including the most up-to-date, modern knowledge in the computer world.


The SAV says their new super-computer can help predict floods.
photo: Courtesy of SAV

After years of bureaucratic frustration, the Slovak Academy of Sciences (Slovenská akadémia vied, SAV) has purchased the country's first "super-computer". Jaroslav Bobovský, the director of SAV's computer centre, said that the super-computer will assist the academy in research of quantum physics, astronomy, geo-physics, genealogy, atomic physics and conductivity.

"We want to enable SAV employees to secure a location at the forefront of world technology," he said. "Our employees will learn how to use the newest technologies, get to know them and grow with them." Bobovský added that he hoped the new technology would aid the SAV in gaining a reputation as an organisation with access to the highest technological advances in the world- including the most up-to-date, modern knowledge in the computer world.

According to Bobovský, attaining the computer was the culmination of years of fruitless effort by the SAV and broken promises by the former government. The cabinet of former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar had promised to earmark 50 million crowns (1.11 million EUR) for the project, he said, although the SAV ultimately received nothing. The state's lack of interest coupled with "jealousy amongst universities and the academy" led to multiple delays, he said.

"The state has a limited amount of money to grant to academic facilities," Bobovský said. "The lack of money creates tension between the universities and the academy when money distribution is involved. As a result, we are constantly fighting for funding."

Bobovský further explained that the purchase of the computer was seen by the SAV as so important that the academy ultimately decided to forsake direct government funding and buy the system with money from their own budget. In order to realise their super-computer dream, Bobovský said, the SAV shelled out 5 million crowns (0.11 million EUR).

The computer will be used for research projects within the areas of the SAV which require significant computer capacity. The academy has also declared its intentions to allow other scientific institutions and commercial organisations to use the computer, pointing out that its many uses could be applied to various government agencies.

"We could have used the computer during last year's floods," he said, referring to the eastern Slovak floods last July that left at least 48 people dead or missing. "The computer can gauge river flow and directional flow change and, consequently, we could have forecasted flash floods and helped prevent flood casualties."

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