Early in 2004 the Ministry of Education and Science (Spanish Government), Generalitat de Catalunya (the local Catalan Government) and Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) took the initiative of creating a National Supercomputing Center in Barcelona. BSC-CNS (Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación) is the National Supercomputing Facility in Spain and was officially constituted in April 2005. 


BSC-CNS manages MareNostrum, the centre’s emblem located in the Torre Girona chapel, is the most powerful supercomputer in Spain and among the most powerful in Europe. Following an upgrade in 2012 and 2013, MareNostrum currently has a capacity of 1.100 Pteraflop/s (1,100 trillion operations per second), which puts Spain and the BSC-CNS in the leading group of the European supercomputing infrastructure PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe).

Aims Based on the conviction that scientific computing is the third pillar of science, BSC-CNS was created to research, develop and manage technology to aid scientific progress. We have since built up great ability to develop technological applications and solutions of high value for industry.

As a research centre we have almost 300 experts and R&D Professionals organised into four main areas: Computer sciences, Life sciences, Earth sciences and Computer applications in science and engineering. These scientists conduct their own research and take part in other centres’ projects, facilitating the use of HPC through their experience in developing applications suitable for this kind of computing.

All these activities are complementary to each other and very tightly related. In this way, a multidisciplinary loop is set up: our exposure to industrial and non-computer science academic practices improves our understanding of the needs and helps us focusing our basic research towards improving those practices. The result is very positive both for our research work as well as for improving the way we service our society.

As a service centre we have several supercomputers and high-capacity data repositories.The MareNostrum supercomputer, which has a capacity of 1.1 petaflops. MinoTauro is the second most powerful supercomputer and has an extremely energy-efficient architecture. We also have Big Data infrastructures, with a total storage capacity of 11 Petabytes.


We have strong partnerships with industry and, in particular, with leading companies in the information technology and energy sectors. Among other collaboration agreements, these partnerships have resulted in the creation of joint research centres with companies like IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Repsol, with which BSC-CNS maintains a stable collaboration and are another major source of income for our centre.

SC-CNS has a three Science Departments:

  • Computer Sciences: focuses its research activities in a set of areas covering low level system software and hardware for future supercomputer systems as well as optimization of kernels and applications for these systems.
  • Earth Sciences: Research is devoted to modelling and understanding the behaviour of the Earth System, mainly focusing on climate and atmospheric processes.
  • Life Sciences: Main topics of research focus in the use of computational tools in the understanding of life processes.

BSC-CNS also has two support departments:

  • Computational Applications in Science and Engineering: this department is organized in two groups covering from the conception and development of algorithms up to their efficient coding in parallel architectures, including the implementation of specific numerical libraries: HP Computational Mechanics and Numerical Modelling
  • The Operations Departments
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