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Creation of the Minho Advanced Computing Center


Creation of Minho Advanced Computing Centre (MAAC)

FCT, UMinho, and UTAustin formalized the memorandum of understanding that will trigger the process of installing the first supercomputer in Portugal, already in the 1st quarter of 2018, along with the creation of the Minho Advanced Computing Centre (MAAC).

The protocol session of this act took place at the Gualtar Campus of UMinho, in Braga, on November 25th, and was attended by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, the President of FCT, Paulo Ferrão, the President of the Northern Regional Coordination Commission, Fernando Freire de Sousa, and the outgoing Rector and the elected Rector of the University of Minho, António Cunha and Rui Vieira de Castro, respectively, researchers, entrepreneurs and several representatives of scientific institutions and companies.

STAMPEDE 1 is the name of this advanced computing platform, to be installed at the University of Minho, and which was lent to the FCT by the Texas Advanced Computing Centre (TACC) of UTAustin, under the international partnership between the University of Texas at Austin and Portugal. This new infrastructure will allow the development of new areas of computing in Portugal, complementing the resources already existing in the regions of Lisbon and Tagus Valley and the Center in this area of research. It will also have diverse scientific and business applications, namely in areas covering climate, maritime safety, support for fisheries, monitoring mobility patterns in cities, biodiversity stimulation, risk management in forests, and applications in health, including bioinformatics. 

The infrastructure will be owned by FCT and its operation will be fully integrated in national, European and international networks in fully open access modes, facilitating the adoption of the National Open Science Strategy. The management of this new infrastructure is the responsibility of a Committee of experts, including users, coordinated by the FCT Advanced Computing Services.

Among other potential applications, the infrastructure will serve the AIR Centre, recently created by the "Florianopolis Declaration" of June 20, at the initiative of Portugal in close international cooperation. The MACC will serve as the basis for the establishment of the "AIR CENTRE DATA INTELLIGENCE NETWORK (AIR_DataNet)" network , to be developed during 2018 together with the Texas Advanced Computing Centre (TACC) at UTAustin and the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre (BSC), among other international partners involved in the AIR Centre, in order to facilitate the development of data science and applications to climate-ocean interaction. 

This new infrastructure also fits into the national effort underway in the scope of the National Digital Skills Initiative e.2030 (INCoDe.2030) which, under FCT coordination, includes the stimulation of new R&D activities in the areas of scientific computing, quantum sciences and technologies, artificial intelligence and digital media.

Also in this scope, Portugal was one of the signatory countries of the European Declaration for the Advancement of Advanced Computing, EuroHPC, on March 23, 2017 in Rome, through which it aims to establish the intergovernmental framework that will enable the development and operation of the next generation of European advanced computing infrastructure.

Read FCT President Paulo Ferrão 's speech at the session.