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The Argentine supercomputer that is among the 100 most powerful in the world: what it is like and what it is used for

2024-02-20T09:53:22.900Z

Highlights: Clementina XXI is in the data center of the Meteorological Service. It cost 5 million dollars. Its processing power is equivalent to 1,672 PlayStation 5 or 2,903 MacBook Pro. It is already used in research ranging from modeling oil and gas basins to analysis of various aspects of physics, astronomy and even some topics related to social sciences. The world of “supercomputers” is made up of equipment that can perform an immense amount of calculations compared to home equipment.


"Clementina XXI" is in the data center of the Meteorological Service. It cost 5 million dollars. Its processing power is equivalent to 1,672 PlayStation 5 or 2,903 MacBook Pro.


Argentina

has a supercomputer in the country that is

among the 100 most powerful

in the world:

Clementina XXI

.

With a cost of

5 million dollars

and put out to tender in 2022, the equipment, which is in the

data center

of the National Meteorological Service (SMN), is used for tasks that demand an enormous amount of computing processing power.

And it is already used in research ranging from modeling

oil and gas

basins to analysis of various aspects of physics, astronomy and even some topics related to social sciences.

The world of “supercomputers” is made up of equipment that can perform an immense amount of calculations compared to home equipment, such as notebooks or cell phones.

Clementina XXI is

as powerful as 1672 Playstation 5 or 2903 MacBook Pro.

In general, unlike a home PC, they do not have one but multiple processors to handle highly complex tasks, from the simulation of weather phenomena for prediction to research into drugs and astronomical phenomena.

“A high-performance computing system is a system designed for tasks that a common computer cannot perform, because they are very large or because they would require a lot of hours to complete,” explained Clarín Pablo Minnini, coordinator of the National High-Performance Computing System. Performance (SNCAD) of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MinCyT), which financed the cost of Clementina XXI, in a 2022 article.

The equipment, which is in the Data Center of the National Meteorological Service, was installed last year by the Ministry of Defense and to achieve this,

there was a tender that was won by Intel

and that allowed the country to obtain a million-dollar equipment, for a reduced price.

Clarín

spoke with Laura Huarte, Public Sector Business Development and Education Manager at Intel Argentina & Uruguay, who was involved in the negotiation and supervision process of the construction of Clementina XXI.

“The

TOP500

is like a global snapshot of the most powerful supercomputers in existence, updated every six months.

To evaluate the power of these machines, they are asked to solve a bunch of mathematical equations very quickly.

Although this test does not give us the whole picture of what a computer can do in general, it does tell us how good it is at solving a specific type of mathematical problem,” Huarte said.

“The ranking is based on how well these computers perform on a test called the LINPACK Benchmark, which measures their ability to solve complicated math problems.

In short, the TOP500 gives us an idea of ​​the processing capacity and performance of these supercomputers compared to the others to

reflect the technological advances in the world of high-performance computing

,” he added.

Here, the specialist told the details of one of the supercomputers in the country, which stands out in particular for being the most powerful in Argentina.

The tender and Clementina XXI's position in the ranking

Supercomputers for complex tasks.

HPC Photo

─What is the tender like?

Why Intel and not its competition, AMD?

─The tender for the acquisition of Clementina XXI was carried out as part of the National Supercomputing Strategy, in collaboration between the Ministries of Science and Defense, the National Meteorological Service (SMN) and

CONICET

.

Lenovo emerged as the winner in this process, designing the system in partnership with Intel technology, and funding came from the Ministry of Science through a loan from the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF).

─And what determined Intel to win?

─During the tender, which took place in October 2022 and was awarded in December 2022, different solutions were evaluated in an international competition.

Although the tender did not specify brands, it did detail the configurations and power required for High-Performance Computing (HPC).

The selection of the winner was not based solely on price

, since an evaluation table was used that assigned specific weights to different components (technical/economic) through a formula to establish a ranking.

─Who competed?

─There were three competing offers: Lenovo, with a configuration with Intel processors and Intel Max Series GPUs, HP, with AMD processors and GPUs, and Bull, with

Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids

processors and AMD GPUs.

Although the prices of the offers were similar and adjusted to the known budget of around $5 million, the decision was based on an evaluation matrix that considered both technical and economic aspects.

Benchmarks

[performance tests]

were conducted to evaluate technical capability, and these results were weighted in a formula that determined the final ranking.

In this process, Lenovo, with its complete configuration proposal powered by Intel CPU and Max Series GPU, obtained the highest score in the technical and economic evaluation, securing its position as the winner and successful bidder of the tender.

─What position is it in and what ranking?

How does that list work?

─For the first time in history, Argentina managed to secure a prominent position in the Top500, the prestigious ranking that evaluates high-performance computing (HPC) systems.

Clementina XXI, the supercomputer located at the National Weather Service,

burst onto the list at position 196,

exhibiting an impressive capacity of 3.88 Pflops, according to the Linpack test.

It is crucial to emphasize that this milestone was achieved using only 60% of the total capacity of the supercomputer.

Despite conducting performance testing with half of the nodes activated, we are engaged in an ongoing effort to refine and optimize the performance of Clementina XXI.

Our goal is to resubmit the application for ranking in the next evaluation scheduled for May 2024, this time with the entire operational team at 100%.

Without This achievement represents a significant step and

highlights the potential and dedication of the team involved in this project

.

We are committed to continuing to improve and consolidate Argentina's presence in the field of high-performance computing.

How powerful is Clementina XXI

HPC: high performance computer.

Photo: Shutterstock

─What computing power does it have?

─The new system is the first implementation in Latin America based on the advanced technology of the Intel® Xeon® CPU Max Series processors and the powerful Intel® Data Center GPU Max Series GPU, designed with integrated high-bandwidth memory (HBM). .

In contrast to its predecessor,

the Huayra Muyu supercomputer

with about 340 TeraFLOPS, this system not only demonstrates remarkable performance, exceeding up to 40 times the computational power, but also stands out for occupying only half the space that Huayra Muyu required.

There have been several advancements in computing technologies within CPUs and GPUs over the past five years.

Additionally, supercomputing initiatives within Argentina, spearheaded by the country's Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, along with the Minister of Defense, are leading

Argentina to new computing prominence in Latin America.

─What performance capacity does it have?

─With a maximum performance of 15.7 petaFLOPS, 5120 cores of the Intel® Xeon® CPU Max series and 37,888 cores Intel® Data Center GPU Max Series is one of the

fastest HPC in Latin America and the fastest resource dedicated to academic scientific research.

─What specific uses will this supercomputer have?

─Despite being physically located at the headquarters of the National Meteorological Service, only 10 percent of the system's capacity will be dedicated to SMN codes.

The remaining 90 percent will be available to public researchers

from universities and industry.

Its operation will serve to strengthen the virtuous interaction between the public and private sectors.

─And what will access to its use be like?

─Clementina will operate through a free access regime, providing significant benefits to the entire national scientific and technological fabric.

This infrastructure will not only contribute to improving climate forecasts, but will also provide a platform for scientific researchers to carry out studies in genomics, drug design, new materials, as well as advances in artificial intelligence and data science, among others. crucial applications.

The use of high-performance computing

will be made possible for research

ranging from modeling oil and gas basins to the analysis of complex systems, various aspects of physics, astronomy and even some topics related to social sciences.

─Will they make public calls to take advantage of their computing power?

─To access the platform, periodic open calls will be held, either annually or semi-annually, to which scientists from all regions of the country can join.

Each interested team must submit a detailed project that describes its objectives and

the time required for its execution

.

Following an evaluation by subject matter experts, each project will be assigned a specific number of hours of processing capacity on the supercomputer.

─What place does it occupy in the local high-performance computing ecosystem?

─According to Pablo Mininni, coordinator of the National High Performance Computing System (SNCAD) of Argentina of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MinCyT), in 2019 the organization surveyed the state of supercomputing in Argentina.

The investigation revealed that Argentina had 10 percent of the computing capacity needed by researchers across the country.

Therefore, a National Computing Center was created to provide scientific computing capacity to researchers across the country.

The Center will be the head of a network of SNCAD centers.

Their first purchase was Clementina XXI, designed by Lenovo and built with Intel.

SL

Source: clarin

All tech articles on 2024-02-20

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