Argentina Announces New Supercomputer for National Science

By Oliver Peckham

December 15, 2022

Argentina’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and its Minister of Defense announced this week that the country would soon host a new Top500-worthy supercomputer. The system, as-yet-unnamed, is expected to deliver about 15.7 peak petaflops when it becomes operational in spring of next year. The system will cost around 885,000,000 Argentine pesos (approximately 5.1 million USD) and will be housed in the computer center of Argentina’s National Meteorological Service.

The Lenovo-built system will include 5,120 cores’ worth of Intel Max Series CPUs (née Sapphire Rapids with HBM), which account for 440 teraflops of the flops estimate, and 296 Intel Max Series GPUs (née Ponte Vecchio), which account for the remaining 15.3 petaflops of the flops estimate. Beyond the CPUs and GPUS, the system will include 1.66 petabytes of memory and 400Gbps networking. The system will be direct liquid-cooled and have a power footprint of 233 kW.

Officials expect that the system would place around 82nd on the Top500 if it were operational today, which might give a hint as to expected Linpack petaflops (82nd place on the November Top500 list delivers 7.04 Linpack petaflops). It will be around 40 times more powerful than Argentina’s current top supercomputer, Huayra Muyu, a 2018 system that weighs in around 370 peak teraflops and which is used by the National Meteorological Service for operational forecasting.

This new system – while also hosted by the National Meteorological Service – will be used for a broad range of scientific purposes, such as drug development, bioinformatics, data science, AI and atmospheric modeling.

“Much of the future is linked to the ability we have to appropriate new technology [and] science,” said Jorge Taiana, Argentina’s Minister of Defense (in translation). “We want to become a player that is not just a receiver of this technology, but also be a creator who has the ability to use it and not only be a consumer of technology.”

Jorge Taiana (left) and Daniel Filmus (right).

“It is about the sovereignty of science and technology,” said Daniel Filmus, Argentina’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (also in translation). “Those who monopolize knowledge also monopolize rights. … In every decision there are arbitrary paths. Our arbitrariness is on the side of sovereignty, where science and technology play a central role.”

Argentina’s Secretary of Scientific and Technological Articulation, Juan Pablo Paz, said that these kinds of supercomputers were “necessary” for many scientific fields now and added that the system is expected to be “up and running by the end of April or May 2023,” at which point the system developers will know a more precise measurement of its processing speed.

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