Petrobras to Launch Atos-Built Pégaso Supercomputer

By Oliver Peckham

July 24, 2022

Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned petroleum company, is one of the highest-revenue companies in the world, pulling in nearly $84 billion in 2021 alone. Making that kind of money in the oil and gas industry means leveraging supercomputers, and now, Petrobras has announced plans to launch a new Atos-built system: Pégaso, which is Portuguese for “pegasus,” the mythical winged horse.

Corporate supercomputers are typically more opaque to the public, and Pégaso, despite the announcement, remains only a minor exception. Petrobras did reveal that the Pégaso will contain 678 terabytes of memory and 2,016 GPUs and deliver 21 theoretical peak petaflops. The system will have a 400Gbps network. Petrobras says that Pégaso’s 30 tons of components required 32 trucks to transport.

Pégaso will bring Petrobras’ total capacity from 42 to 63 peak petaflops. That preexisting 42 petaflops number includes at least three of Petrobras’ publicly ranked systems, all of which also bear mythological names: Fênix (5.37 peak petaflops, #161 on the Top500), launched in 2019; Atlas (8.85 peak petaflops, #116 on the Top500), launched in 2020; and Dragão (14.01 peak petaflops, #60 on the Top500), launched in 2021. Dragão is currently the top-ranked supercomputer in South America. Pégaso, which is expected to be fully operational by December of this year, will mark the fourth consecutive year that Petrobras publicly launches a major supercomputer.

Pégaso itself has not been benchmarked on the Top500 yet, but its peak petaflops—if it performs similarly to its predecessor systems—should net it a spot in the top 50 or so. “[We’re] going to benchmark it, and that benchmark will certainly put it in the top 50 [supercomputers] in the world, maybe even in the top 30,” said Nelson Campelo, CEO for Atos in South America, in an interview with BNamericas.

Speaking of similarities among the systems: Fênix, Atlas and Dragão are all Atos-built systems with Intel Xeon CPUs and InfiniBand networking. (Interestingly, this makes Dragão the sixth-ranked Atos system on the Top500.) Pégaso will also be an Atos-built system, but the components have not yet been confirmed.

What’s more, Petrobras seems to be hinting at a further increase in computing capacity by the end of the year: a graphic shows the evolution of Petrobras’ peak supercomputing capacity over the past four years, with 80 petaflops marked for end-of-year 2022—versus 63 petaflops of announced capacity.

Petrobras’ peak petaflops over time. Image courtesy of Petrobras.

Petrobras uses this supercomputing capacity for geophysical data processing and flow simulation in oil and gas discovery and extraction. The company says that its investments in supercomputing are essential for running programs like EXP100, which leverages AI to increase the certainty of oil discovery, and PROD1000, which helps the company reduce time-to-production in an oil field.

Header image: the Pégaso supercomputer. Image courtesy of Petrobras.

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