portugalscience

Project wants to show how supercomputers can help companies

A research project that joins the University of Coimbra (UC) and the Technological Center for the Molds, Special Tools and Plastics Industry (CENTIMFE), located in Marinha Grande, aims to demonstrate that High-Performance Computing, HPC in English) can bring great benefits to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“TOOLING4G | Minimize the airflow generated noise on automotive HVAC systems”, the first Portuguese project with the seal of the SHAPE initiative of the European network PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe), will work as a proof of concept and focuses on the sector car.

In particular, the consortium formed by CENTIMFE and UC intends to support a national company in the development of innovative fans that substantially reduce the noise of automotive air conditioning systems, which can be integrated into the next generation of electric cars.

The simulations will be carried out at the Advanced Computing Laboratory of the Faculty of Science and Technology (FCTUC), using advanced computing systems – commonly known as supercomputers – Navigator and Navigator Plus. In all, at least 64 processor cores will be used, which together will perform sophisticated and complex calculations at an “ultrasonic” pace, equivalent to 250,000 hours of traditional computing on a single processor.

In the era of Industry 4.0 and Digitization, this six-month project could pave the way for SMEs. According to Rui Tocha, director-general of CENTIMFE, a Portuguese technological center that integrates and supports the development of the Cluster Engineering & Tooling (Molds and Plastics Industries), «this project is in line with the evolution of the avant-garde and technological differentiation offer, in especially in the fields of design for manufacturing, which characterizes the international competitiveness of companies in our Cluster, over the last 30 years, in the development of global products in most industrial sectors».

In turn, Pedro Vieira Alberto, coordinator of the project at UC, says that this investigation intends to «sow seeds for the near future. High-performance computing can provide small and medium-sized companies with a great competitive advantage, enabling them to obtain more innovative and sophisticated products and much more quickly».

With the use of supercomputers, «it is possible to optimize processes and increase productivity, as well as reduce costs and increase the quality and speed of production», underlines the person also responsible for the Advanced Computing Laboratory at UC.

«This project is a proof of concept, that is, the consortium will try to demonstrate that this type of resources [HPC] is really useful for small and medium-sized companies», says Pedro Vieira Alberto.

The SHAPE initiative’s mission is to provide European SMEs with the necessary experience to benefit from the innovation possibilities created by High-Performance Computing, thus increasing their competitiveness.

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