March 30, 2023

The ‘Imponderables’ delay the installation of the supercomputer in Guimarães

ANDIn a response sent to the Lusa agency, the ministry says the supercomputer, one of four advanced operational computing centers in Portugal coordinated by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), will be installed “in a building at the University of Minho, in Azurém Campus, in Guimarães”, and will have the capacity to perform 10 million trillion calculations per second.

“The testing phase of this equipment by the supplier will be completed by the end of July 2023, making it available to the national science community. The delay in the installation of Deucalion, in view of the original predictions, was due to some impasses that arose during this phase of project”, justifies the guardianship.

Initially, Deucalion, an investment of 20 million euros and which should operate mainly using renewable energy sources, was to be located at the Minho Advanced Computing Center (MACC), in Guimarães, Braga region.

“The ‘data center’ that was originally planned to house the computer was not available in time for the project, which led to the need to designate a new building to house Deucalion and carry out the necessary work to adapt it, which required the holding of a public tender for assignment, so these were the factors that contributed the most to the delay,” explains the ministry led by Elvira Fortunato.

In addition, the ministry reports, there have been “delays in the supply of equipment, as a result of the disruptions in the supply chains that are currently being verified”, adding that “this whole process was monitored and developed in close cooperation with the responsible European consortium EuroHPC [European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking]”.

“The investment in the Deucalion facility is 20 million, in which 35% of the funding comes from the European Union and the remaining 65% from the FCT budget. [Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia]and the last installment of the investment will be transferred only after the equipment starts working,” reads the reply sent to Lusa.

In a statement released in February 2021, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education said that the contract for the acquisition of the new “petascale” EuroHPC supercomputer was signed between the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU), FCT and Fujitsu. , the technology supplier.

This HPC system, called Deucalion, is a supercomputer capable of performing “10 million trillion calculations per second.”

“The machine will use ARM technology, which is the Fujitsu A64FX CPU, used by Fugaku, the fastest supercomputer in the world today,” the note states, emphasizing that “Deucalion will enable the development of a unique and innovative framework for the application of European and global green computing principles’.

A source from the ministry told Lusa that the first supercomputer went live in Portugal in 2019 and is called BOB.

The then Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, quoted in the statement, said it was “the achievement of an important objective during the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union”.

Manuel Heitor said it was “a step forward for the participation of all regions in the wide European supercomputing network”, enabling digital infrastructures to push new frontiers of knowledge in various industries and towards a better and greener future.

The then president of the FCT, Helena Pereira, said for her part that “this new supercomputer will integrate applications in various fields such as artificial intelligence, personalized medicine, drug and materials creation, bioengineering, Earth observation and the fight against climate change. cities, territories and mobility’.

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