The Colombian government is converting an underused data center into a supercomputer.

The government has said it will invest 1.5bn pesos ($330,000) into converting the data center into what it claims will be the country’s “most robust” supercomputer.

Cali Colombia
– Getty Images

The data center in question is the Tayra facility at Colombia’s center for bioinformatics and computational biology (BIOS) in Valle del Cauca which is dedicated to providing computing services to the government, academia, and various businesses.

“There is a computer worth 17bn pesos that’s not doing anything. We’re going to spend 1.5bn pesos to put it into operation so that this supercomputer, one of the few that Latin America has, helps develop the entire innovation ecosystem," ICT minister Mauricio Lizcano said.

The investment will bring the supercomputer to 130 teraflops of capacity, up from 17 and making it the most powerful in the country.

The supercomputer will be used for sociodemographic assessments, analyzing hydrometeorological data to predict the weather, and climate or pollution research.

While a significant step for Colombia’s supercomputer capabilities, the high-performance computing (HPC) system remains a long way behind those fronting the Top500 leaderboard. The current leader, Frontier, boasts over 1 exaflops of capacity, almost 10,000x more powerful than the Tayra will be.

In January 2023, Brazil’s Petrobras acquired a 7.7 petaflops Dell supercomputer named Gaia, and last year inaugurated Latin America’s most powerful supercomputer, Pegasus, at 21 petaflops.

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