Nation or even continent-wide programs are a fundamental piece in developing high performance computing expertise. Two examples of that are the XSEDE in the United States and PRACE in Europe. XSEDE is a program that assembles HPC resources from several supercomputing sites. At the time of this writing, XSEDE lists 10 supercomputers, 2 visualization clusters, 6 storage systems, and 1 high throughput cluster. XSEDE has sparked a huge amount of applications and new research directions. Similarly, PRACE encloses 6 supercomputers and has 25 member countries in Europe. Programs of this nature provide a fertile ground to develop new and powerful HPC applications, mainly because it is easier to find people with the right expertise on a particular field, the right computing infrastructure, and a formidable source of feedback.
In the same vein, SCALAC, Spanish for "Advanced Computing Services for Latin American and the Caribbean", aims at providing the region with a program that integrates consolidated advanced computing centers. Such program would integrate HPC experts, service providers, and supercomputers. Therefore, the necessary resources would be within reach for scientist and engineers eager to develop groundbreaking simulations.
The SCALAC project was formally established in March 2013 with the Bucaramanga Declaration, signed by the original members in the Industrial University of Santander, in Bucaramanga, Colombia. The SCALAC project is supported by a bigger program in the region called RedCLARA. Short for Latin American Cooperation in Advanced Networks, RedCLARA has implemented a high speed interconnect among several countries in Latin America. SCALAC was inspired by other initiatives in the region, namely project GISELA (Grid Initiatives for e-Science virtual communities in Europe and Latin America) and grid computing projects EELA and EELA-2. The operational center of SCALAC is a distributed system installed in the three major participants: Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. In addition, Costa Rica and Ecuador provide small scale services. As a supplement, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and the Center of Research in Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT) in Spain provide international support.
The goal of SCALAC is threefold:
- Support high-level scientific endeavors, providing supercomputing platforms for applied and fundamental research projects.
- Support to academic activity, forming HPC specialists at different levels (technical, specialized, scientific).
- Support HPC technology transfer and use of HPC platforms for projects focused on the most important needs of the region (climate, health, and security).
For more information on the project, please visit http://www.cenat.ac.cr/computacion-avanzada/scalac.