Leftraru Epu, the new supercomputer in Chile that quadruples existing power

Leftraru Epu, the new supercomputer in Chile that quadruples existing power

It is part of the National High Performance Computing Laboratory and is available for all scientific research.

Thanks to an investment of $1,150 million, corresponding to the Major Equipment Fund of the National Agency for Research and Development (ANID) ($950 million) and contributions from the Center for Mathematical Modeling of the University of Chile ($200 million), the National Laboratory for High Performance Computing (NLHPC) was able to renew and quadruple its computing capacity by replacing the Leftraru cluster and giving way to Leftraru Epu (name in Mapudungún which means Lautaro 2 in Spanish).

This new equipment has just been installed in the second basement of the North building at Beauchef 851, headquarters of the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the University of Chile. There it already performs its first works together with Guacolda (Dell cluster, 2019), which completes the supercomputer in Chile, which has 4 petabytes of IBM Elastic Storage System (IBM ESS 3200) storage.

Leftraru Epu has components from processor manufacturer AMD, server development from Lenovo and deployment from Chilean company Emtec, which won the bid. It has 7,360 compute cores, 260 teraflops of performance, 12 graphics processing units (GPU, AMD Instinct MI210) and 24,320 gigabytes of RAM in a single rack.

Energy efficiency

The executive director of the NLHPC, Ginés Guerrero, explained that “we have taken an important step with the installation of Leftraru 2, which puts us in a more competitive position in the region. However, even with this acquisition, we are still far from meeting Chile’s growing computing needs. The demand for processing capacity continues to increase, especially in critical areas such as artificial intelligence and big data analytics.”

“It is imperative that we continue to empower the NLHPC in order not to be left behind and to be able to face the scientific and technological challenges of the future. The road is long and we need continued commitment from all sectors to achieve our goals. Supercomputing infrastructure is an essential requirement for the development of any country,” he added.

He also said that “Leftraru 2 is four times more powerful than its predecessor, this consolidates us as a complete and high-performance solution for the largest scientific network in Chile. The supercomputer is used by the entire national community. Researchers present their projects and then an expert committee evaluates the approval for the allocation of time of use”.

Regarding the attributes and advantages of this technology, AMD’s Data Centers and Cloud Manager for South America, Juan Moscoso, stated that “a key feature of this new technology is that we have doubled the energy efficiency, which means that we consume half the energy compared to the previous supercomputer. In addition, it also offers four times the computational capacity, allowing us to process larger volumes of data faster and more effectively”.

“The solution uses open source, which means that the computational capacity is accessible to everyone. Because it is open source, any developer can contribute and improve the technology, which fosters innovation and collaboration in the community. This democratizes access and allows more organizations and individuals to benefit from these advanced capabilities without the restrictions of proprietary software models,” complemented AMD’s general manager for Latin America, Nicolás Cánovas.

The general manager of Lenovo’s ISG area for Argentina and Chile, Christian Young, highlighted that “this is our first supercomputer of this magnitude. The choice made by CMM is Lenovo and AMD because of the power it offers, allowing high performance continuous use peaks (…) We have an area dedicated to high performance computing and we have the largest clusters in Latin America”.

In this regard, the general manager of Emtec Chile, Mario Gutiérrez, said that “the biggest challenges of the project were to integrate with the existing cluster (Guacolda) and to achieve adequate cooling of Leftraru Epu, which requires more than 100 liters of water per minute and at a temperature of 10 degrees. All this to obtain the maximum number of teraflops“.

Left to right: Juan Moscoso, AMD Data Centers and Cloud manager for South America; Nicolás Cánovas, AMD general manager for Latin America; Ginés Guerrero, NLHPC executive director; Héctor Ramírez, CMM director; Christian Young, Lenovo ISG Area general manager; and Mario Gutiérrez, Emtec Group general manager.

The role of the State

Chile is currently far from the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world and to enter it would need a computer five times more powerful than Leftraru Epu. Only Brazil has eight machines in this ranking, which are focused on the oil industry, and Argentina, with its Clementina XXI, specialized in the National Meteorological Service, is in 224th place.

Speaking to El Mercurio about this scientific milestone, Chile’s Minister of Science, Aisén Etcheverry, stated that “computing capacity is one of the fundamental components for progress in science and technology. If you don’t compute, you don’t compete. That the NLHPC quadruples the power of Guacolda is tremendous news that we celebrate“.

“Today the NLHPC covers more than 40 different research areas, starting with physics and chemistry, discovery of new materials, bioinformatics, astroinformatics, climate, climate change studies, weather forecasting, air quality studies. Having these capabilities also has an impact on our companies and our public sector to be able to innovate,” he added.

In this line, the Secretary of State said that “artificial intelligence computing capabilities, for example, are a necessity. Today Chile does not have these capabilities and as a government, together with the NLHPC and other actors, we are developing a plan to have them. We require private investment and also public investment to sustain Chile’s digital leadership, and if we are already thinking about artificial intelligence, we also have to prepare for the next emerging technologies”.

So far, the State -through ANID- has invested a total of Ch$5,084 million in the development of this high performance computing program, which in 2009 was created by the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM) of the University of Chile, together with the Universities of La Frontera, Talca, Federico Santa María, Santiago, Católica de Chile, Católica del Norte and the National University Network (REUNA). It began to operate officially in 2011 and then in 2022, after the creation of the National Supercomputing Laboratory, a total of 45 associated institutions: 39 universities, five research centers and REUNA.

A vision of the future

The director of the CMM, Héctor Ramírez, said that “15 years ago we had the vision to realize the country’s need to compute large amounts of data from all scientific fields. Today, more than 500 researchers and academics benefit from the service, which allows the annual materialization of over 200 projects, more than 200 publications and more than 90 undergraduate and graduate theses“.

“In our center we work, among other areas, in astronomy, satellite images and data obtained from the ocean by national and international expeditions. We do analysis and use artificial intelligence tools that require supercomputing. We have also used it in health, a line that I direct. The tests are done with supercomputing where many combinations of scenarios are required, but then the solutions are landed for the real capacity of hospitals that do not have supercomputing capacity installed”, explained the also full professor of the U. of Chile.

The National Exact Sciences Award 2023, CMM researcher and scientific director of the NLHPC, Jaime San Martín, stated that “supercomputing is a basic and key tool for scientific development, human capital formation, technological, industrial and public policy development in all countries. For several years now, supercomputing has been fundamental for modeling and the massive use of data and is an important part of Chile’s intellectual and technological independence”.

“The NLHPC encourages its use in academia, industry and the State, providing services to a large part of Chile’s scientific capacity, but also several applied research groups that our State has also use these capabilities, in a model of cooperation quite unprecedented in our country, with equal access to Chilean researchers, regardless of their institution and the area of knowledge they cultivate,” he emphasized.

Leftraru Epu has components from processor manufacturer AMD, server development from Lenovo and deployment from Chilean company Emtec, which won the bid.

National Laboratory for High Performance Computing

The National Laboratory for High Performance Computing (NLHPC) is Chile’s national supercomputing center. It specializes in high-performance computing and manages Guacolda-Leftraru Epu, the most powerful supercomputer in the country and one of the most powerful in South America.

Since its origin in 2011, it offers computing resources to the entire national scientific community in a centralized and equal manner. It fosters the collaboration of the country’s scientific community around multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary projects, to enhance the impact of this critical infrastructure on R&D&I, and ultimately on Chile’s development. It also aims to contribute to national development beyond science, improving the competitiveness of the business fabric, and promoting innovation in the public sector.

Center for Mathematical Modeling

The CMM is today the most active scientific research institution in mathematical modeling in Latin America. It is a center of excellence of the National Agency for Research and Development (ANID) of Chile, integrated by eight partner universities and located at the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the University of Chile. It is also the International Research Laboratory (IRL) #2807 of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

Its mission is to create mathematics in response to problems in other sciences, industry and public policy. It seeks to develop science with the highest standards, excellence and rigor in areas such as data science, climate and biodiversity, education, resource management, mining and digital health.

By Alonso Farías Ponce, journalist of the Center for Mathematical Modeling.

Posted on Jun 10, 2024 in News