What are Belarusian super computers? Interview with developers

What are Belarusian super computers? Interview with developers

Photo: dev.by

For more than 18 years, highly efficient and productive systems have been developing in Belarus. The latest development of the Joint Institute of Informatics Problems - office supercomputer - found itself among the top ten developments in the field of fundamental and applied research of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. dev.by spoke with the deputy director general for scientific and innovative work Sergei Kruglikov about the purpose of Belarus' supercomputers.

In 2010, scientists announced the merger of all the supercomputers of the Belarus-Russia Union State into the cluster "SKIF-Grid", which had a peak performance of 8 Tflops. In the international project in the field of bioinformatics GPUGRID, Belarusian plants with graphics processors took first place in the world ranking by the number of points scored in calculations for one day - more than 2 million.

At present, the most productive configuration in the family of Belarusian supercomputer models is SKIF-GEO, developed within the framework of the program of the Belarus-Russia Union State SKIF-NEDRA. Its main difference from previous generations is its industry purpose. The supercomputer improves the processing efficiency of data obtained in the exploration and production of minerals. In a literal sense, it allows you to look into the earth and helps in the search for new oil and gas fields.

The SKIF-Nedra program has two main areas: software development for geologists and seismologists and the creation of high-performance computing systems, which include supercomputers. Two laboratories, employing no more than 12 people, are working to create supercomputers themselves.

A supercomputer with data center capabilities has 10 computational nodes in one package. Each compute node is a good server. Its operating memory is 320 GB, the total amount of SSD drives is 2.4 TB. At full capacity the personal unit consumes 600 watts.

A unique solution inside this computer is a Belarus-made cooling system, thanks to which the unit is absolutely noiseless. It was possible to achieve such a result by distributing heat in the radiators with the help of special elements. Under necessary conditions, the unit is capable of continuously serving for 10 years.

The United Institute of Informatics Problems of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus is the leading developer of automated medical systems in the country.

For example, the system of electronic prescriptions developed by Belarusian scientists works around the clock on local servers. Daily the Electronic Recipe system processes at least 10 million transactions.

"We are ready to take up the supply of office supercomputers, but for this there should be the will of heads of enterprises. We are already negotiating with the Ministry of Education about the introduction of parallel computing courses in schools and universities. We, on our part, offer 2- and 4-node supercomputers, so that you can learn parallel programming," developers say.

According to Sergei Kruglikov, deputy general director for scientific and innovative work, the need for own resources is growing now.

"First, it's more secure. Secondly, there are a number of products that are best kept only at home. In addition, office supercomputers can be connected to a single supercomputer network. And you do not even recognize where you work - on an office-based SKIF or the cloud-based web service like Amazon.

But the problem is that many still pay attention only to foreign manufacturers, despite the fact that we provide a full cycle: from design and development to delivery, maintenance and disposal. Why not work with a domestic manufacturer then? If I were the manager I would try without thinking. Many simply do not know about this possibility or do not want to believe that this is possible."

There has been no serious commercialization of the Belarus supercomputer. A memorandum was signed with Saudi Arabia, but they did not begin to cooperate closely. China wanted to buy an office version of a supercomputer but they have their own large data centers.

"We cannot afford a marketing department, don't forget that we are still a state scientific institution. We can make prototypes, small series, we are ready even to provide the equipment. Quite frankly, we are thinking about launching production, but for this we have to do a lot of work and determine the opportunities for the commercialization of our developments."

In any case, the future belongs to parallel computations. This type of computers will be in demand at least to be able to mine cryptocurrencies, which have been introduced into law in Belarus.

The prototype of the personal unit will be twice as powerful as the experimental one, scientists promise.

Source: dev.by