Oil giant Petrobras launches Latin America's largest supercomputer

The new equipment is intended to support the Brazilian company in its data processing requirements and reduce geological and operational risks.

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras has launched Latin America's largest supercomputer as part of a plan that will see the company's in-house computing capacity reaching 40 petaflops by the end of 2021.

With 200 terabytes of RAM and a network with 100 gigabits per second, the processing capacity of the Dragão supercomputer is "equivalent to 4 million smartphones or one thousand modern laptops", according to the company. It added that the new equipment surpasses Atlas and Fenix, previously the largest supercomputers in the region, which also belong to Petrobras.

The new equipment is expected further to increase the performance of geophysical data processing at Petrobras, while reducing geological and operational risks. In addition, the equipment will support the firm's strategic projects.

According to the firm, the algorithms developed by its geophysics and analysts will be used in exploratory projects, allowing the generation of images with higher resolution in areas of interest for the exploitation of oil and natural gas and optimizing production processes as well as significantly reducing processing times. The new supercomputer will also boost new technological platforms, scanning and robotization with a focus on efficiency gains.

"[The Dragão supercomputer] reinforces our strategy to bring more economy, agility, safety and resilience to our operations, increasing the data processing capacity to support the business and add value to Petrobras", said the director of digital transformation and innovation at the company, Nicolás Simone.

According to Simone, nine supercomputers have gone live at Petrobras over the last couple of years. The cloud will further boost the capacity of 40 petaflops of in-house processing power.

The assembly process for Dragão lasted about three months, followed by a period of software implementation and assisted operation from June 1. Ten trucks were required to carry all parts of the equipment, according to Petrobras. The Dragão supercomputer was installed in rows with eight to nine blocks totaling 34 meters of extension.