With its expanded capacity from 1.1 petaflops to 5.1 petaflops, the Santos Dumont supercomputer is once again on the list of the world’s 500 most powerful. It also resumed the No. 1 position in Latin America. The machine installed at the National Laboratory of Scientific Computing (LNCC) in Petrópolis (RJ) is now able to perform 5.1 million billion mathematical operations per second.
The expansion was inaugurated on Monday (25) with the presence of the Minister of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications, Marcos Pontes. It was made possible by allocating 1% of the revenues from the pre-salt oil extraction from the Mero field in the Santos Basin.
The transfer of funds for research and development activities is one of the obligations that must be assumed by the companies that win the auctions for oil exploration in the sharing regimen, which was adopted in the country with the approval of Federal Law 12,351 / 2010. Since then, 14 contracts have been signed following the model. The Mero field is operated by the Libra Consortium, led by Petrobras (40%) and with the participation of Anglo-Dutch Shell (20%), French Total (20%) and Chinese CNPC (10%) and CNOOC Limited ( 10%).
Minister Marcos Pontes said the economic crisis also reveals opportunities and that investments in science and technology should not be treated as an expense. According to him, the expansion of the supercomputer contributes to create jobs, leverage companies and promote social development. “Science and technology is the foundation of all countries considered developed. You can see what is common in the history of all of them. Science and technology is definitely the tool that gives the fastest and most accurate return. Look the moments of crisis. When they go into crisis, they invest in science and technology.”
The LNCC was founded in 1980 as a technological development unit and as a government agency providing high performance computing infrastructure for the country’s scientific community. The installation of the Santos Dumont supercomputer cost R$ 60 million from the federal government and the machine started operating in January 2016. The company responsible for the installation is the French Atos, an information technology multinational that currently has work in 73 countries and also provides services to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“Most of the world’s supercomputers have god names or scientific names. Santos Dumont is a person. Human like all of us. And he was creative, scientific, innovative. He needed power to fly. He wanted to have his own propulsion and driveability. And Santos Dumont has control, has security, has efficiency. What he wanted when he became the father of aviation is reflected exactly in the supercomputer,” said Luis Cassuscelli, director of Big Data and Data Cyber Security of America. Southern Atos.
The main gain of the supercomputer is to accelerate research, obtaining in short time results of operations that would only be achieved in years on regular computers. In 2018 alone, about 150,000 machine experiments were performed and currently more than 130 research projects are underway in areas such as chemistry, physics, engineering, life sciences, meteorology, agrarian science, astronomy, climatology, seismology and others.
For example, studies on the Zika virus and projects involving genome mapping are underway. Petrobras also uses the machine, for example, to perform computer modeling that supports decision making in its operations in the oil and gas sector. Researchers from all over the country can use the supercomputer, so they should be aware of public notices for submission of their projects. Those who obtain approval from their studies now have remote access to the machine, without having to travel to Petrópolis.
In 2017, Santos Dumont supercomputer was surpassed by other machines and left the list of the top 500 and also lost the number 1 position in Latin America, posts that have now been recovered. With the expansion, it has more than one thousand servers installed. Its monthly energy cost is approximately $ 500,000. Maintenance requires $ 4 million per year. The high values combined with a budget constraint faced by the LNCC have even caused a reduction in machine operation between 2016 and 2017.
Brazil is today the 21st largest country in the world for supercomputer operations. Brazilian machines account for about 1% of world power. The country has two other supercomputers in the top 500 list, although in positions below Santos Dumont: one of them is in Salvador and belongs to the Senai Cimatec University Center, while the other, located in Rio de Janeiro, is from Petrobras.
The world leaders are the United States, with 37.1% of world capacity, and China, with 32.3%. “You take the largest supercomputers in the world and see that they are all in national computing centers supported by governments. Whether in China, the United States, Switzerland, Germany, wherever there is public investment,” said Augusto Gadelha, director of the LNCC.
Source: Agência Brasil