Brazilian supercomputer to be used for coronavirus research

The state-owned lab where Santos Dumont is located will enable researchers to access the resource for free

Brazilian supercomputer Santos Dumont will be available to scientists and researchers who are working on projects related to Covid-19.

The National Laboratory of Scientific Computing (LNCC), where the supercomputer is based, is now analyzing requests from professionals who could benefit from the computing power of the cluster, which has a capacity of approximately 5.1 petaflops.

Under the initiative, researchers will have free access to NVIDIA Enterprise's Parabricks software to optimize research tasks, such as reducing the time spent to analyze an entire human genome from two days down to less than an hour.

According to the LNCC, which is based in the Rio de Janeiro city of Petrópolis, the supercomputer is already being used for three research projects related to the new coronavirus.

Santos Dumont was launched in 2015 and is the largest in supercomputer in Latin America. It is composed of three systems, Santos Dumont CPU, Santos Dumont GPU, and Santos Dumont Hybrid and currently occupies the 193th place in the Top500 global ranking of supercomputers.

In addition to coronavirus research, the Santos Dumont complex is being used in approximately 150 projects, which include drug development focused on HIV and Zika, as well as oil drilling and renewable energy

In November 2019, LNCC received some new funding for the supercomputer, which had a four-fold increase in capacity following budget cuts that led to its partial deactivation as the Rio de Janeiro state government could barely afford to pay its electricity bills.