ENEA’s objectives in research, technology innovation and advanced services as related to energy and sustainable economic development are also achieved by implementing IT and ICT technologies, and high-performance scientific computing.
In this sector ENEA’s R&D is focused on: high-performance and distributed computing; very-high-performance data transmission networks; integration of heterogeneous systems such as scientific facilities and laboratories; finally, on special applications specifically oriented to manufacturing and cultural heritage.
ENEA manages and develops High-Performance Computing facilities distributed over 6 sites – Casaccia, Frascati, Portici, Brindisi, Trisaia, and Bologna – for a total of more than 3,500 processors, with a data storage space of over 150 TB. Portici Research Centre hosts the CRESCO supercomputer, the Agency’s leading computational infrastructure, a first-class facility at the national level with its peak performance of about 25 Tflops. The adoption of GRID computing technologies, and particularly the ENEA-GRID solution, allow to access the Agency’s HPC resources, software applications and remote 3D visualization systems, no matter where they are located, from an Internet connection. Currently, the ENEA HPC infrastructures are used by a significant number of laboratories and research groups, from the Agency and other organizations, on a wide range of research fields including: climate modelling, complex technology network simulation, bioinformatics, fission and fusion nuclear energy, energy, new materials. In many areas of interest interdisciplinary working groups are put together, with experts in the specific discipline, in numerical modelling and ICT, giving rise to “virtual laboratories”. This makes collaboration between national and international research bodies and companies easier.
ENEA develops and implements a wide range of web applications supporting its technical and scientific activities, including web portals and sites providing information on research issues and externally-financed projects, management and organization; instruments and technologies for training, video communication, content development, event management, document management; technologies aimed at creating and maintaining databases and other web applications.
These R&D activities require continuous maintenance and development of an adequate network infrastructure providing the user with connectivity and security services, as well as application software. In this context activities are focused on the design and set-up of: general network architectures targeted at scientific and technical applications and at the Agency’s information services; facilities for geographical data networks, and implementation of connectivity between ENEA research centres and the international research circuit; information security systems; general networking services.
ENEA promotes its participation in new projects on ICT and its scientific and industrial applications, in collaboration with external public and private partners. These activities are targeted at identifying possibilities for the Agency to participate in projects and launch new initiatives, while screening opportunities that national and international financing programmes may offer, and planning, implementing and managing new national and EU research and technology transfer initiatives by employing specifically ICT-skilled staff in collaboration with researchers from other research sectors of the Agency.
All of the above activities are carried out by the ENEA Technical Unit for IT and ICT Systems Development (UTICT), that also ensures the optimal operation and evolution of processing and networking facilities. The Technical Unit supports all ENEA scientific activities providing a number of services and a wide range of IT applications.
Access to services, applications and computing facilities available to both ENEA scientific community and external partners is available through the website: utict.enea.it.