18 November 2020

Gdańsk University of Technology started construction of STOS

It will be one of the most modern IT centres in this part of Europe. Gdańsk University of Technology has started the implementation of the STOS Competence Centre project, which will house, among others, one of the fastest supercomputers in Poland. The investment, carried out by NDI based in Sopot, will not only allow the university to widen cooperation with industry and business but will also bring its scientists’ capabilities to a new level and strengthen the position of Gdańsk as a prominent academic centre.

Gdańsk University of Technology has officially inaugurated its flagship project, which is also one of the largest investments currently underway in the Tricity. We are talking about the STOS Competence Centre (Smart and Transdisciplinary Knowledge Services), which, at the cost of nearly PLN 156 million, is being built on the university campus – in Traugutta Street, in the vicinity of the building of the Faculty of Management and Economics of GUT.

As a part of the investment, NDI, a company based in Sopot, which was selected in the tender procedure, will build a smart facility that will be equipped with the latest generation technical and network infrastructure, which will allow to perform complex simulations as well as process and archive huge data sets. The most important element of the centre will be the “bunker”, i.e., a server room, which is to meet the highest standards of data security (it is going to be secured in such a way that the data stored in it is not threatened by fire, water or even an electromagnetic field) and will be equipped, i.a., in a supercomputer.

“CK STOS will be the new seat of the Information Centre of the Tricity Academic Computer Network of GUT and one of the most innovative IT centres not only in Poland but also in this part of Europe,” says Professor Krzysztof Wilde, Rector of GUT. “Construction of the centre is a response to the market needs in the field of research and development services, which require calculations, transfer, processing, and archiving of huge data sets. It will be possible thanks to the supercomputer, which will be installed in the centre in the future. Figuratively speaking: what a ‘home’ PC would do in several months, the supercomputer in STOS can do in just a few hours.”

NDI – Politechnika Gdańska STOS from Grupa NDI on Vimeo.

“The centre will create conditions for the implementation of innovative research projects for the academic community in Pomerania, and will also support companies and the socio-economic environment in the implementation of large business projects,” says Professor Henryk Krawczyk, initiator of CK STOS and project manager. “It will also be used in scientific research in the field of, among others, physics, chemistry, astronomy, biotechnology, and medicine as well as for implementation research aimed at the commercialisation of science.”

Work is already underway. What will be inside CK STOS?

Preparatory work for the construction of CK STOS has begun at the end of September. The contract between GUT and NDI covers the construction of the main facility with an area of approx. 12 thousand sq. m as well as the development of the area around it, along with the implementation of all necessary works: earthworks, construction and finishing works. The work also covers preparing and equipping server rooms.

The facility, designed by the architectural studio Arch-Deco, will be set on one foundation, but at the same time divided by a view corridor directed towards the Main Building of GUT.

“The base of the building with the server room has been hidden underground, and its brick wall will emerge partially from the side of Traugutta Street,” says architect Zbigniew Reszka, President of Arch-Deco. “Two blocks covered with titanium-zinc sheet are placed on the base: the first one will be anthracite in colour, and the second one will be silver.”

On the ground floor of the building, a server room has been designed with its special part, the so-called “bunker”, as well as the hall, reception, showroom and offices. Offices with a conference room, social facilities, and technical rooms will be built on the first floor. On the levels +2 and +3 there will be, among others, offices, a ventilation room, cooling devices and a technical part supporting server rooms. The building will have two underground levels, intended for parking lots, as well as technical and storage rooms. The facility will be equipped with an intelligent building control and environmental monitoring system. There will also be a process cooling system with a heat recovery installation.

“The centre will be built based on the assumptions of Green Computing, so as to minimise the impact of IT activities on the environment, and at the same time increase the energy efficiency of the equipment and laboratories,” explains Michał Sadowski, Project Director at NDI.

Challenging investment on difficult terrain

The first works on the construction site began in mid-September. Since then, the so-called macro-levelling of the area and excavation have been completed, and further works are in progress. The builders emphasise that the investment is very challenging, i.a., due to its location. It is because CK STOS is being built on the slope of Szubienicza Góra in Gdańsk Wrzeszcz.

“It is a big challenge also due to the complexity of the project,” says Dominik Kardynał from NDI, Site Manager. “We have already completed a section of the excavation support and we will soon reach the level of the foundation slab. We also perform piling work on the slopes. After the foundation slab, we will continue to secure the excavation in the part of the server room under construction,” he adds.

As a part of the investment, the area around the facility will also become more attractive, among other things, a new park will be built there. New trees, shrubs, lawns and a meadow will appear on the hill. There will be many benches, bicycle stands and litter bins, and the relaxation space will be completed with atmospheric lights.

“Designing a recreational space with a park on the hill was an important element of the project,” emphasises Zbigniew Reszka, architect. “We placed it around terrain stairs that emphasize the main axis of the building.”

Building STOS with the support of the EU

The cost of the investment, which will be completed in the first half of 2022, is PLN 155.7 million – 90.1 million of which was covered by an EU subsidy under the European Regional Development Fund. It was obtained thanks to the involvement of the Pomeranian Voivodeship Marshal’s Office and Marshal Mieczysław Struk as well as the Pomerania Development Agency. The remaining amount is covered almost entirely by the university from its own funds raised by the TASK IT Centre of GUT. The investment was also supported by additional funds from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
The total cost of the project will exceed PLN 200 million – the difference results from the need to supplement CK STOS with additional, specialised equipment (including a supercomputer), which the university will successively purchase and install in the facility in the coming years.

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