Guten Tag, Bonjour, Buongiorno, Bun di – HPC News from Switzerland


We at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) are very happy about the new opportunity to blog for the International Supercomputing Conference.

It is important for many exhibitors and participants at ISC to be kept informed about each other’s activities during the 51 weeks separating the two exhibitions.

We, Michele De Lorenzi (head of communication and associate director at CSCS) and Simone Ulmer (science journalist) will try to contribute to this knowledge exchange by posting articles on a regular basis. We will also read with interest other blogger posts and comments.

To start our series of blog entries, we welcomed you in the title by saying “Hello” in our four national languages (German, French, Italian and Rumanch). This is to demonstrate our effort to report about HPC and supercomputing-enabled science from all Swiss regions.

Despite its size, Switzerland is an important global player in research, notably in science and engineering. Some world-class examples of Swiss institutions include the two federal technical institutes (ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne), the different cantonal universities (University of Zurich, Basel, Bern and Geneva), international organizations like CERN, and private research centers like IBM Rüschlikon. 

The Swiss government has recognized the importance of HPC as key element for scientific and technological research. In order to further develop leadership in this area, the Federal Parliament has adopted a national HPCN (High Performance and Networking) strategy, which is currently being implemented. The HPCN strategy aims to propel Switzerland into the petascale age by investments in impressive supercomputer procurements and a corresponding new state-of-the-art data center to house them. Equally important, the strategy also enables scientists to successfully make use of petascale supercomputers via the High Performance and High Productivity (HP2C) program. HP2C is a multidisciplinary collaboration between the different research organizations in Switzerland with the focus to enhance the development of scalable software for supercomputers. The final goal is to position Switzerland on the leading edge of HPC and HPC-supported science.

Switzerland is also developing its own HPC ecosystem: Most of the universities and research centers are building and maintaining their own infrastructures to provide supercomputing power for scientific projects that do not require petascale power, as well as for development and testing of new projects. The relationship between the organizations located in different parts of the country is characterized by a friendly cooperation as well as a fruitful competition.

The publicly well-funded HPC infrastructure makes Switzerland an interesting place for commercially-oriented entities. There are several industrial research centers located in Switzerland that are taking advantage of the HPC ecosystem as well as from the investor-friendly political climate in Switzerland. The strong HPC business environment in Switzerland is further supported by the fact that many top Swiss research organizations are enthusiastic about sustainable collaboration with HPC vendors, which promotes a highly productive exchange in expertise.

Finally, Switzerland is a very interesting place to work for talented scientists and engineers coming from all over the world. There is a solid political commitment in research and higher education, coupled with the political will for major investments into HPC. Furthermore, Switzerland offers a spectacular landscape and a rich, diverse culture with cultural events for almost every taste.

During 2012 we plan to report about HPC-enabled science in Switzerland and about the latest activities in the Swiss HPC service provider community. We will also report about the latest developments at CSCS, which will be moving in the next few weeks from its current location to a new facility in Lugano.

For more on CSCS, please visit


Michele De Lorenzi

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