Snellius: the latest Dutch national supercomputer

Speaker: Walter Lioen


In September this year, the seventh-generation Dutch national supercomputer called Snellius was inaugurated by Her Majesty the Queen Máxima.

This immediately raises a number of questions:

  • What exactly is a supercomputer?
  • What are supercomputers used for?
  • What do supercomputers look like?
  • Where does the Netherlands stand in relation to Europe and the rest of the world?

Since 1984, SURF has housed and managed the Dutch national supercomputer and has supported scientific researchers in making optimal use of it. We look back on more than 35 years of supercomputing in the Netherlands, but also take a brief look at the future.

We also take a closer look at a number of aspects of Snellius: the tender; the (hardware) architecture; and the software environment, from both the administrator's and the user's perspective.


Walter studied mathematics at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and worked from the mid-eighties as a scientific programmer at the Center for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI) in Amsterdam. In that capacity he used virtually all supercomputers in the Netherlands working on highly efficient implementations of algorithms in numerical mathematics and computational number theory.

From 2001 he worked as a software engineer on predictive analytics software at Data Distilleries/SPSS.

In 2007 he joined SURF as an HPC consultant, where he quickly became manager of the supercomputing team. He is currently responsible for the Research Services department, including the supercomputing team.

najaar 2021

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