SEAT - which sells some 60.000 new cars in the UK each year - uses the machine to design the aerodynamic stylings of its cars, helping to make the vehicles safer and more efficient.
The behemoth computer is kept in a 180 square-metre disused chapel in the North Campus of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona, where it is housed in a constant ambient temperature of 24 degrees Celsius as part of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC).
Using the system means that SEAT engineers can complete analysis that would otherwise take months in just a few hours.
Enhancing vehicle aerodynamics consists of lowering its air drag coefficient, so the main areas of a car that SEAT uses MareNostrum 4 to analyse are the front and rear ends, undercarriage, tyres and wheels. Traditionally, these would be worked on using a clay model of the car in a wind tunnel.
BSC researcher Oriol Lehmkuhl stated: "With SEAT, I study the impact of wheel hub geometry on the aerodynamics of the cars. Each point is analysed by a set of processors working in parallel. If they were analysed individually, it would take months."
María García-Navas, an engineer in SEAT's Department of Development and Aerodynamics, stated: "Working with a wind tunnel is expensive and clay models deteriorate, so constant changes have to be made. The computing power of the BSC supercomputer enables us to include more parameters to see how air behaves inside the rims when the wheels are moving. The idea is to increasingly narrow the gap between simulation and reality."
MareNostrum 4 is used by scientists from across the globe to simulate everything from how the human heart works to making predictions about climate change. MareNostrum 5 is already under development and would increase the capacity of the current machine by more than 20 times.
MareNostrum 4 has 3456 nodes, 6912 chips, 165.888 processors, 13,7 petaflops, and 78.000 kilos in weight. The facility includes 180 square metres, has a 24 degree ambient temperature, 36% relative humidity, 19 tonnes of glass, and 26 tonnes of steel.
SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell, Barcelona, exporting 80% of its vehicles, and is present in 80 countries on all five continents. In 2018, SEAT sold 517.600 cars, the highest figure in the 68-year history of the brand, posted a profit after tax of 294 million euro and a record turnover of close to 10 billion euro.
The SEAT Group employs more than 15.000 professionals and has three production centres - Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza, Arona and Leon. Additionally, the company produces the Ateca in the Czech Republic, the Tarraco in Germany, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii in Slovakia.
The multinational has a Technical Centre, which operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1000 engineers who are focused on developing innovation for Spain's largest industrial investor in R&D. SEAT already features the latest connectivity technology in its vehicle range and is currently engaged in the company's global digitalisation process to promote the mobility of the future.