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Cineca was founded in 1969, by the intuition of the Ministry of Education and the Rectors four universities, with the aim of "promoting the use of advanced computer systems information for scientific research and technology, public and private". Since then, the Consortium has expanded its range of activities to all the major areas of ICT, becoming a reference point for the national academic system, the public administration and the enterprises. In this monograph, we retrace the first forty years of activity of Cineca: the task of telling how computing has profoundly influenced the decades ranging from post war to nowadays has been given to four protagonists of the history of science and technology of our country, who have outlined a context in constant evolution and rich of opportunities. The second part of the monograph is dedicated to the history of Cineca: milestones, described by President prof. Mario Rinaldi, and prospectives, drawn by Director Dr. Marco Lanzarini highlight the key role played by the Consortium in technological innovation in Italy.