After a decade of planning, an investment of US$ 5 million in “irons” and technological equipment, and another 600 million pesos invested in the essential support infrastructure, the Argentine scientific system has a supercomputer that is in the Top 100 of the most powerful on the planet.
Is about Clementine XXI, which has a computing power of 15.3 petaFLOPs, which places it in 82nd place among the hundred most powerful computers in the world. And, due to its method of administration, it will become the most important machine for open scientific use in all of South America, since only Brazil has larger machines but they are basically used in the private sphere.
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Clementina XXI, whose “name” honors to the first supercomputer that Argentina had, and which operated for a decade, since 1961, the Institute of Calculations of the UBA, in the Faculty of Exact Sciences of the UBA. At that time the original Clementina was purchased in England and cost around £4.5 million.
The new one has a different “home”: the Data Center of the National Meteorological Service (SMN), whose meteorologists in charge of forecasts will be among the main users of the calculations made by the supermachine in the coming years. In fact, practically 10% of the time of use of this device is reserved to the SMN. The other 90%, being open-use equipment, will alternate calculations and simulations by scientific researchers from other disciplines and institutions that make up the national science and technology system, including universities.
Who will be able to take advantage of this supermachine? As explained by Celeste Saulo, director of the National Meteorological Service and secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, in a press conference that she attended PROFILE, “there are many users interested in taking advantage of a device forty times more powerful than the most powerful computer installed to date. But there are groups dedicated to genomic studies, testing of new drugs, new materials, industrial design, modeling of oil and gas basins, developments of artificial intelligence and data science and modeling of complex systems, apart from the preparation of weather forecasts.
The super iron
The computing capacity of Clementina XXI is 15.3 PetaFLOPS and this is achieved after to integrate 296 Intel Ponte Vecchio GPUs and 5120 Sapphire Rapids CPUs. The architecture and hardware of the equipment were provided by the Lenovo company. As it is a machine that generates a lot of heat when working, its system is directly water-cooled. This technology is more effective than traditional PC fans and allows a greater number of processors to be concentrated in less physical space.
There were several people responsible for carrying out this megaproject, among which the Ministry of Science of the Nation, the Ministry of Defense, the SMN and Conicet stand out. The financing of Clementina XXI was done with funds from a CAF loan. The ministers and staff of Daniel Filmus and Jorge Taiana participated in the inauguration.