Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The National System of High Performance Computing in Argentina

Policies at the national level are a pivotal element to foster the development of high performance computing in a country. For instance, it was the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNet), a nation-wide effort in the United States of America, what set the bases during the 80's for a solid HPC development. The NSFNet project helped in the creation of now highly reputable HPC centers such as Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC).
Argentina has developed a national strategy to increase its HPC arsenal, increase the HPC literacy among scientists, and established fruitful international connections. The program is called the National System of High Performance Computing, or SNCAD by its acronym in Spanish. The program is attached to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation under a major initiative on big instrumentation and databases.
The SNCAD aims at satisfying the growing requests of scientific and academic institutions regarding storage, cloud computing, HPC, visualization, and emerging technologies. Its main goals are:

  • Create policies that maximize the use of equipment funded by public grants.
  • Contribute to the development of funding strategies to improve HPC services.
  • Offer at least a funding program for institutions to acquire new hardware or renovate equipment.
  • Promote training on HPC through nation-wide programs.
  • Foster the integration of national centers wit the international community.
  • Create a system to emit certificates on HPC.

So far, the SNCAD has invested more than $2,124,695 in 17 different centers in Argentina. Those centers represent 36 computational systems that are already into production. Those centers are already supporting research in many scientific disciplines: atmospheric science, theoretical chemistry,  biological systems, mathematics, astronomy, and more. For more information, please follow this link

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

International Supercomputing Conference in Mexico

The 6th International Supercomputing Conference in Mexico just took place at Mexico City last week. From March 9th until March 13th, hundreds of the best researchers in the HPC community gathered at the Fiesta Americana Hotel to discuss some of the most pressing topics in the supercomputing community. The conference featured a well rounded technical program and poster session, together with workshops where students could learn and experiment with new techniques and tools for large scale computing. In addition, thanks to the support of the industry partners, the conference could offer free registration to a certain number of students interested on attending the conference.

The conference featured a large list of well known researchers from all the corners of the world, including USA, Japan, Germany, Russia, Spain and Brazil, who presented the latest developments and new insights in challenges related to data-intensive computing, power-aware programming and heterogeneous computing:
  • Ilkay Altintas - Director for the Workflows for Data Science (WorDS) Center of Excellence, San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), USA 
  • José M. Cela Espín - Director of the Computer Applications in Science and Engineering (CASE) Department, Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Spain
  • Ian Foster - Director of the Computation Institute, University of Chicago, USA 
  • Jean Luc Gaudiot - Professor of Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of California – Irvine, USA
  • William Gropp - Director of Parallel Computing Institute National Academy of Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA
  • Ryutaro Himeno - Director of Advanced Center for Computing and Communication (ACCC) RIKEN, Japan
  • Thomas Lippert - Director of the Institute for Advanced Simulation, Head of Jülich Supercomputing Centre, Germany
  • Philippe O. A. Navaux - Professor Titular Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil Edward Seidel Director of National Center for Supercomputing Applications, USA
  • Mateo Valero Cortés - Director of Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Spain
  • Vladimir Voevodin - Deputy Director of the Research Computing Center at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
  • Nancy Wilkins Diehr - Associate Director at SDSC and co- director of XSEDE's Extended Collaborative Support program San Diego Supercomputing Center, USA
The International Supercomputing Conference in Mexico (ISUM) series, started in 2010 with a first meeting in Guadalajara, followed by events in San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, Colima and Ensenada in the following years. The list of keynote speakers this year was impressive and the conference continues to gain a strong attendance. This event is of major benefit for the HPC community in Mexico, as it opens new opportunities for research collaborations and dialogue with the industrial partners.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Profile of national HPC developments in Latin America - Part IV

In this series of posts, we present some of the national developments in high performance computing seen in Latin American countries. Following the discussion of the developments in Argentina and Brazil, Chile and Colombia, and Mexico, today we discuss Peru and Uruguay.


Although many universities and research institutions exist in Peruvian soil, no integrated national effort in HPC has been developed lately. For instance, the Peruvian Academic Network (RAAP) provides connectivity among national research institutions and to others in Latin America, but lacks computing resources to provide to its own members.

Nevertheless, not all hope is lost, as the San Pablo Catholic University (UCSP) is heading the proposal of a Center of Excellence in "High Performance Computing for the Research, Development and Technological Research for Urban Centers' Problems". This initiative is competing with five other center of excellence proposals to be funded by the Peruvian National Council of Science, Technology and Technological Inovation (CONCYTEC). This Center of Excellence in HPC will be developed in cooperation with Brazilian, French, German, and North American universities, and Peruvian companies. Besides its research focus, this center also aims to promote the training and education of master, doctoral and post-doctoral personnel with the support of the collaboration network.


Uruguay does not have national policies and agencies to support the development of high performance computing research and development in the country. Additionally, most of its universities and research centers are in Montevideo, the country's capital. Nevertheless, the country had only one public university - the University of the Republic (URU), which counts with over 100,000 students and 10,000 faculty members - until recently. In this sense, the HPC efforts developed in URU could be seen as national developments.

The University of the Republic expanded its efforts in HPC with the creation of the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific High Performance Computing (NICCAD) in 2010 with the joint work of 20 different research groups. NICCAD aims to promote the integration of researchers with varied backgrounds in order to solve diverse scientific problems using HPC techniques. To run scientific applications on domains such as fluid dynamics and biomolecular simulations, researchers rely solely in the FING cluster, a heterogeneous cluster composed of Dell Power and HP Proliant nodes funded by the own university that provides 5 TFlops of performance over 440 cores and 848GB of memory.