Brazil's top supercomputer turned off due to lack of cash

The Santos Dumont complex is inactive since May as electricity bills remain unpaid

Brazil's largest supercomputing complex is largely inactive since May due to lack of cash to pay for the electricity bills at the institute where it is based.

Electricity costs to maintain the resource up and running surpass R$500,000 ($147,986) a month and funding from the Rio de Janeiro state government, currently at the brink of default, has not been readjusted to meet these demands, according to a report from Brazilian radio CBN.

According to the National Laboratory for Scientific Computing (LNCC), power costs would eat up about 80 percent of the institute's monthly budget, making Santos Dumont impossible to maintain in its entirety.

The best Brazilian supercomputing facility, Santos Dumont is a cluster in operation since 2015 and composed of three systems, Santos Dumont CPU, Santos Dumont GPU (currently ranked 476th in the world) and Santos Dumont Hybrid. With a total processing capacity of 1,1 petaflops, Santos Dumont GPU alone can execute 456 teraflops/calculations per second.

Earlier this year, LNCC was selecting research projects for application within the Santos Dumont supercomputing resource where the computational capacity could be used in a large scale, as well as smaller projects.

With the current situation, six research projects are behind schedule and other 75 projects are waiting to get started. One of the research initiatives that was put on hold relates to the genetic mapping of the zika virus.

Currently, a very small part of the supercomputing complex is functioning daily to avoid lasting damages while the funding problems remain unsolved.

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