After the delay in disclosing the results of the first round of Elections 2020, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) tried to explain what happened. The agency said that the error happened with Oracle’s private cloud, acquired for R $ 26.2 million in a process without bidding. The contract was executed in this way because the court understood that only the company could offer “Oracle cloud”.
In a note released on Tuesday (17), the court stated that it has used Oracle services since 1996, when the electronic ballot box was implemented in the country. In the Elections 2020, the company was hired to centralize the totalization of votes in the TSE – until then, the totalization took place in each Regional Electoral Court (TRE). The new contract was analyzed by several sectors of the TSE and confirmed in March 2020.
The process considered the Bidding Law (Law 8.666 / 1993), which authorizes purchases without bidding “when competition is not viable, given the existence of an exclusive supplier”. TSE claims to have based itself on the Brazilian Association of Software Companies (ABES), which issued the following certificate:
“Oracle do Brasil Sistemas Ltda. holds exclusivity to sell Oracle cloud services to Public Administration entities, in contracts whose object is exclusively the provision of Oracle cloud services, that is, without any aggregate service related to the Oracle cloud ”.
As you can see, ABES does not claim that Oracle is the only one that provides cloud services to public agencies. What the note says is that the company has exclusivity over the Oracle cloud. So, at least in theory, TSE could look for equivalent services from companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google.
In his explanation, the court does not deal with the existence of other services and states that the model of contracting without bidding is also used by bodies such as the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the Supreme Federal Court (STF).
TSE explains slowness in counting
Under the private cloud contract, Oracle has committed to making two processing devices available in the TSE building: the Exadata X8 Full Rack, with eight cores, and the Exadata X8 Half Rack, with four cores. The court had considered that the slowness to total the votes was due to the disconnection of one of the cores from the main device, of eight cores.
The team from the TSE’s Secretariat of Information Technology (STI) concentrated efforts to reestablish the disconnected core, but only afterwards did it identify that the slowness was not linked to this failure. In fact, the problem happened in the feature that would optimize data processing through artificial intelligence.
According to the court, he was trained on Sunday (15) to simulate the processing of votes. However, the training took place with empty tables, a scenario very different from reality, where more than one million lines are received per minute.
“The execution plan generated by the computer with the empty bank proved to be inadequate for processing with the database full. As a result, the equipment was unable to simultaneously and with the necessary speed, learn a new execution plan suitable for processing the large volume of data and perform the totalization with the expected speed ”, stated the TSE.
The electoral body reported that the pace of total votes increased when the system was paralyzed and a new, more appropriate execution plan was created. “It is normal for learning the artificial intelligence of the equipment to be time consuming. However, this could have been avoided by carrying out tests to calibrate the optimizer ”, continued the court.
The note indicates that the equipment passed only 2 of the 5 planned tests. This happened due to a delay in delivery. The contract signed in March predicted that they would be delivered in early June, but with the new coronavirus pandemic, Oracle claimed it was affected by the absence of electronic parts and unavailability of devices. The handsets were delivered in July and, with the setup process, became available for use by the court in August.
Despite the delay, the TSE assesses that “Oracle fulfilled, in the course of the episode, all the obligations assumed”. The court also says that the failure in the execution plan will not happen in the second round, scheduled for November 29, because the optimizer is already calibrated to process the votes with more speed.
With information: O Globo, Poder360.