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Federal University Protects Amazon

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- For projects ranging from protecting the Amazon to international grid computing, the Center for Parallel Computing (NACAD) at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro: UFRJ) has added to its existing SGI
(NASDAQ:SGIC) computational resources with the purchase of SGI(R) Altix(R) 450 server, SGI(R) Altix(R) XE cluster, and SGI(R) InfiniteStorage technology.

One of the main projects the new SGI Altix 450 server will be used for is the massive PIATAM Project, funded by Brazil's national oil and gas company, Petrobras, which is dedicated to the clean development of oil and gas resources in the Amazon. Translated from Portuguese, the acronym PIATAM means Potential Impacts and Environmental Risks of the Oil and Gas Industry in the Amazon.

At approximately 3900 miles long, the Amazon River is the world's second longest river and produces about 20 percent of all fresh water pumped into the world's oceans. During the dry season, the river can be almost 7 miles wide at some points. During the rainy season, parts of the river flowing through the Amazon River Basin, which drains into the Southern Atlantic Ocean, can be almost 25 miles wide. The environmental impact of an oil spill or gas leak from the interior would be devastating. At UFRJ, the Center for Parallel Computing's role is to help Petrobras assess the risk of potential environmental damage stemming from either boats carrying oil in the Amazon River or leaks and/or explosions from the rich natural gas reserves transported via Petrobras pipelines.

"We are doing some prototype computations, large simulations of water flows in the environment, such as red currents, and the new Altix 450 has definitely increased our computational capability," said Professor Alvaro L.G.A. Coutinho, Center for Parallel Computing and Department of Civil Engineering, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. "We are experiencing speed-up by at least a factor of 5 on the prototypes using the SGI Altix 450, and we expect a significant speed-up to escalate for HPC grid use and on the PIATAM project as well, which means we can run more and larger containment strategies for spills or leaks."