High Performance Computing and health research


High Performance Computing (HPC) is a crucial technology that offers new opportunities, reshaping the way we receive and provide health services. The COVID-19 outbreak has further demonstrated that HPC is a major asset in fighting against the virus. This session brought together high-level experts to share their views about the way supercomputers could be used to address complex issues in health research. Reducing the time and cost of drug discovery, developing personalised medicine, improving the overall costs of health care are only few overall drivers for the use of HPC in health research that will be included in the programme. Additionally, the session presented Exscalate4CoV, a European project using massive supercomputing resources to search for potential drugs to fight the COVID-19, bringing innovation to drug discovery in Europe and worldwide.


  • Juan Pelegrin, Head of sector DG CONNECT C2. High Performance Computing and Quantum Technology
  • Alfonso Valencia, Life Sciences Department Director, Barcelona Supercomputing Center

Title of the presentation: Biomedical applications in HPC: the Covid-19 case

Alfonso Valencia is a Biologist by training with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He is ICREA Research Professor and Director of the Life Science Department Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC), Director of the Spanish National Bioinformatics Institute (INB) and head of the Spanish Node of the European Bioinformatics Infrastructure ELIXIR.  A. Valencia has served in numerous Scientific Advisory Boards, including the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory; the Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics, Biozentrum- Basel; the EBI INTERPRO and chemical database, Curie Bioinformatics Unit among others. I have also been part of a number of evaluation committees, including the Spanish Grant Evaluation Agency (ANEP) and the European Research Council ERC. He is Co-Executive Editor of Bioinformatics, the main journal in the field of bioinformatics, and member of the editorial boards of eLIFE, PeerJ and FEBS letters and F1000 Prime.  He has published more than 400 articles with an h-index of 84 (Scopus profile). 

  • Carlo Cavazzoni, Head of computational R&D and Director of HPC Lab of Leonardo

Title of the presentation: Supercomputer: a new medical tool, pharmacy, therapy and a bit of a physician

Carlo Cavazzoni is presently head of Computational R&D in Leonardo, and director of the Leonardo HPC Lab. Before joining Leonardo in May 2020, he spent more than 20 years in Cineca (Italian supercomputing centre), where he become head of HPC R&D, with responsibility for the evolution and exploitation of the national and european HPC infrastructure. He is a member of the EuroHPC Research and Innovation Advisory Board. He was among the founders of the MaX Centre of Excellence for Exascale computing, and was deeply involved in many EC projects.


Background information

This session is part of the CONNECT University Autumn School on Digital Health open for everyone. Check the full programme.

digital health