Covers environment, transportation, urban and regional planning, economic and social issues with a focus on Finland and Portugal.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Europe's Fastest Supercomputer serves Institute for Plasmas and Nuclear Fusion

Supercomputer Jugene (Jülich Blue Gene)  built by IBM for the Jülich Research Centre
In Lisbon, capital of Portugal, the Institute for Plasmas and Nuclear Fusion (IPFN), a research unit of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), will be able to enjoy 31 million hours of the supercomputer Jugene (Jülich Blue Gene), the fastest supercomputer in Europe, with 300,000 processors. Jugen was built by IBM for the Jülich Research Centre  in Germany. 

IPFN is a leading Portuguese institution in physics research. It has the status of Associate Laboratory in the thematic areas of controlled nuclear fusion, plasma technologies and intense lasers

A collaboration led by IPFN with the University of California (USA) and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK) was honored by the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE), which gave them a computational power equivalent to the continuous calculation of 3500 processors during a year and it has an estimated cost exceeding 300,000 euros. 

The project was distinguished by PRACE due to its high scientific quality, large scale, and potential significant impact on European and international level. The PRACE assigns supercomputing time to projects with innovative elements, transformative aspects, and a recognized scientific impact, including the possibility of obtaining results that can be published in journals with recognized scientific impact.

Frederico Fiúza e Luís Oliveira e Silva are the team responsibles of IPFN According to the first, "this project aims to explore the amplification of laser pulses in plasmas to obtain ultra-intense lasers, as well as the nuclear fusion processes induced by these lasers." 

New computational techniques recently developed by IPFN, will allow for the first time to study these processes at real scale, thus requiring access to the largest supercomputers in the world. The IPFN research team uses supercomputers to prove theory which could revolutionise lasers .

source: Ciência Hoje


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Portugal Near Default: Bond Yields Reach New 7% Record

A month ago, the portuguese Finance Minister  Teixeira dos Santos said that if the interest payments surpass the threshold of 7% , Portugal would have to start thinking of resorting to international aid.

Today, the  "yield" of Portuguese 10-year bond down slightly since the late morning, after hitting new highs (7 %) since Portugal adopted the euro currency.

While Ireland doesn't plan to enter primary markets the rest of this year, Portugal will auction as much as €1.25 billion bonds Wednesday. It is likely to pay record yields of nearly 7% on its 10-year bond, a level deemed unsustainable over the long term.

For Silva Lopes,  former Finance Minister  of Nobre da Costa Government,  assistance from the European Fund and the IMF would have two advantages. First, would reduce interest payments and, secondly, would bring the fiscal adjustment measures, that "governments have not been able to do."