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Home > iSGTW 16 July 2008 > iSGTW Feature - Sao Paolo grid to bring teraflops to Brazilian researchers

Feature - São Paulo grid brings teraflops to Brazilian researchers

Proposed distribution of GridUNESP sites in São Paulo state.

Image courtesy of GridUNESP.

Researchers at São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil will soon have 33.3 teraflops (33.3 trillion floating point operations per second) at their fingertips. GridUNESP , the university's first computational infrastructure fully dedicated to scientific research, is scheduled to come online in October.

The $1.9 million grid will consist of 368 servers on seven university campuses in the Brazilian state of São Paulo and will be the largest in Latin America. Further, GridUNESP has established a partnership with Open Science Grid (OSG), potentially increasing the number of processors available to GridUNESP several-fold.

More power, more research

“The new processing power represented by GridUNESP will allow the university’s researchers to improve the reach of their work and get involved in new scientific areas that otherwise would be impossible,” says the general goordinator of GridUNESP, Sérgio Ferraz Novaes, a professor at the Theoretical Physics Institute at the São Paulo campus.

Research areas at UNESP that require processing, analysis and storage of large amounts of data—such as genetic sequencing, weather forecasting, molecular modeling, medical imaging, quantum chemistry, and high-energy physics—expect to benefit from the computing power of GridUNESP. In addition, it will open doors to new areas of research, such as the survey for dark energy in the universe.

The grid equipment is in Brazil, and cluster configuration should begin soon. The grid’s central system will be installed at the new UNESP campus in Barra Funda, and seven secondary clusters will go to university campuses around the state.

Image courtesy of GridUNESP.  

Partnership is an asset

While GridUNESP is dedicated to UNESP, Noaves hopes to  establish partnerships with other organizations to share resources and expertise. Such partnerships could enhance research in areas such as Brazil’s deep-water oil potential and its genomic research into bioethanol fuel.
Novaes believes that GridUNESP’s partnership with OSG will be a major asset to the project. The Brazilian grid will operate inside one of the larger grid structures in the world, using OSG middleware that the São Paulo Regional Analysis Center has been using for years.
“The grid concept is the right approach to providing computing resources for the whole university,” Novaes says. “Furthermore, grid architecture is a new concept of high-performance computing, and it is very important for Brazil to get engaged in the development of this technology.”

Amelia Williamson, iSGTW


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