Discover the characteristics and potentialities of the supercomputers that make up the National Network for Advanced Computing (RNCA).
The first supercomputer open to the scientific community was installed by the FCT's FCCN unit in 1988, followed by others, which we identify here.
What are the national supercomputers?
It was in February 2020 that the University of Évora inaugurated the supercomputer Oblivion, a machine capable of processing 239 million million million operations per second, storing 1.5 Petabytes of data . The use of Oblivion, incorporated into the HPC-UÉ(High Performance Computing of the University of Évora), is divided between the activity of the ENGAGE SKA consortium(Enabling Green E-Science for the SKA Research Infrastructure) and the activity of the scientific community and companies within the National Network for Advanced Computing. An upgrade of the HPC-UÉ centre is planned with the installation in 2021 of a new cluster, called Vision, which has characteristics that are especially adapted to artificial intelligence and deep learning
Inaugurated in July 2019, after being installed at the REN datacentre in Riba d'Ave in Minho, Bob enabled a tenfold increase in national computing capacity and was provided by the University of Austin, under a partnership involving the University of Minho and the FCT. Operated by the Minho Advanced Computing Centre (MACC), with support from the FCT, the Bob will soon be replaced by the future supercomputer Deucalion, a change that will involve an increase in computing capacity by about 40 times. Co-funded by the partnership EuroHPC JU, the Deucalion will have a maximum performance of 10 Petaflops or 10 million billion calculations per second, based on part of the same ARM technology of what is considered the fastest supercomputer in the world: the Fugaku.
Inaugurated in February 2019, the Navigator supercomputer is part of the Advanced Computing Laboratory of the University of Coimbra (LCA-UC). This supercomputer is highlighted by the UC as an "important working tool for researchers in areas as disparate as biosciences, materials science, high-energy physics, astrophysics and fluid dynamics". Located on the ground floor of the building of the Departments of Physics and Chemistry, the installation of this laboratory involved an investment of 2.17 million euros. This cluster is part of the Tier-1 network of European supercomputers PRACE and participates in the DECI-17 call. In 2021, Navigator received an upgrade in cooling capacity and in the archiving/back-up system.
Cirrus and Stratus
It is in Lisbon, at the National Infrastructure for Distributed Computing (INCD), that we can find the Stratus and Cirrus-A platforms. These have been operated since 2017 by the INCD, contributing to this entity's ability to guarantee High Performance Computing services through the Cirrus-A cluster. The Stratus cluster, on the other hand, comprises the cloud computing infrastructure provided by INCD, widely used for Virtual-Research Environments and installation of Virtual Machines.
These supercomputers are also integrated in the National Network for Advanced Computing, managed by the FCT 's FCCN Unit. Advanced Computing Projects Call129 projects from a wide range of different areas were able to make use of these resources.
National Network for Advanced Computing
Comprising 4 operational centres and a set of competence centres, the RNCA aims at providing advanced computing services to the research, technology, innovation and industry communities. It also seeks to aggregate national advanced computing resources, promote cooperation between the various centres involved and develop national and international partnerships with other entities.
Having been created in 2018 by the digital skills initiative INCoDe.2030, RNCA also integrates the Iberian Network for Advanced Computing - RICA, based on the creation of MAAC - Minho Advanced Computing Centre.
What is supercomputing for?
All these High Performance Computing (HPC) resources aim to support applications in various areas, such as bioinformatics, climate, materials and life science, computational chemistry, physics, and civil engineering, among others, thus supporting research and boosting the competitiveness of Portuguese industry, as we can read in the article we published on the first Portuguese project approved by the SHAPE PRACE initiative