Computing Centre of SAS History

Computing Center of SAS was founded on April 4, 1976 by a decree of the SAS board of directors and with the original name Central Computing Centre of SAS. SAS was using computers since 1959; the first analog computer was build at the Institute of Technical Cybernetics. The era of digital computers started some five years later. SAS Institutes were first using ZRA -1 (1962 – 1968, . KrlZeiss Jena) and GIER (1968 – 1976 REGNECENTRALEN, Copenhagen) computers located in the cybernetics institute. Due to increased demand for computing resources, researchers started using also external computers CDC 3300 (VVS OSN, now INFOSTAT) and SIEMENS 4004 (ÚVTVŠ in Mlynská dolina). A liaison workplace was created in 1973 as part of the Cybernetics Institute to promote the usage of computers, which was staffed by 52 SAS programmers. The project to build a Central Computing Centre of SAS began. The project to build a new building for the computing centre of SAS started in 1976 and in 1979 the building was already equipped SM computers. The building was designed for two mainframe computers of the type EC 1045, which were installed in 1982.

The period from 1982 to 1990 brought the greatest proliferation of computing services in SAS and is an example of how the Computing Center SAS could support research institutions by providing both computing time and programming and analysis support with a separate group dedicated to the development of new algorithms. During this time the number of employees reached more than 80. After 1990 the EC computers became outdated, faulty and energy inefficient, so their usage decreased. Personal computers were becoming more popular with the option for every employee to work separately at their own desk. Computing projects started emphasising software for personal computers and the demand for programming and the computing resources at the Computing Centre of SAS started to decline. A new phenomenon call the INTERNET appeared and the Computing Centre of SAS started building the first fibre optic network of SAS already in 1991.

21 buildings were connected to the Computing Centre of SAS by multimodal and were connected through switches into a single large local network.

Later more Institutes located in Bratislava were connected to the network by radio lines. Email was very popular among SAS employees and became the most demanded service. The possibility to freely travel and work abroad and to freely communicate without governmental supervision enabled further advancement of information technology in the Computing Centre of SAS. The crowded and cheap network became a barrier in further development because of low communication speeds. Scientific calculations necessitated the purchase of type RISC 6000 computers in 1992 and in 1994 the first supercomputer in Slovakia was placed in the Computing Centre of SAS. It was the SGI Power Challenge with a single processor. It was later replaced by an 8 processor ORIGIN 2000. The Computing Center SAS was connected to the backbone network of the Slovak Republic with speeds of 1 Gb/s during 2001 – 2002 as a part of the SANET II project. This increased network speeds in some areas up to 500 times. SAS Computing Centre of SAS became a node of the backbone network. More institutes from Bratislava were connected to the backbone network by fibre optics. A virtual network of SAS was created based on the SANET II network. In 2012 a new supercomputer “Aurel” and a new computing cluster for scientific computing was purchased with the help of EU funding.