France to Boost Industrial Innovation with New Petascale Supercomputer

By Jane Glasser

April 20, 2016

This summer, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and 13 leading French industrial companies will boost their research capabilities when they take possession of a new shared supercomputer called COBALT, designed by Bull and based on the latest Intel Xeon processor E5 2680 V4.

CEA is a government-funded technological research organization with ten research centers across France. It focuses on low-carbon energy, defense and security, information technologies, and health technologies. CEA is also charged with collaborating with industry to solve diverse high-performance computing (HPC) problems such designing safer nuclear reactors and manufacturing processes to produce longer lasting lipstick.

Purchase of the new supercomputer is being managed through CEA’s computing center, the Computing Centre for Research and Technology (CCRT) – CCRT provides high-performance computing resources for CEA and its industry partners, with an emphasis on supporting French industrial innovation and promoting industry-research partnerships in the field of high-performance numerical simulation and data processing.

Current CCRT industrial partners include Airbus Defense & Space (aerospace industrial), Areva (global nuclear industry leader), EDF (French electricity provider), Ineris (industrial risk assessment), L’Oréal (leader in cosmetics), Safran-Herakles, Snecma, Turbomeca, SafranTech (aeronautics company), Thales, Thales Alenia Space (aerospace, space and defense, security, and transportation), and Valeo (automotive technology).

Since its establishment in 2003, CCRT has gone through three generations of supercomputers and increased its computing capacity by a factor of 700. The organization’s current supercomputer, named AIRAN and installed in 2012, was originally based on Intel Xeon processors E5 (Sandy Bridge) and later upgraded to Intel Xeon processors E5 (Ivy Bridge). With partner application needs growing, CCRT realized that extending AIRAN was no longer an option; it needed to start fresh.

“Unlike the academic research world, where researchers tend to buy a very big computer and keep it for four to five years, commercial companies prefer a ‘pay as you go’ model,” says Christine Ménaché, Business Manager at CCRT. “They don’t want to pay for a big system that they grow into; they’d prefer to buy a new computer and upgrade it after about two years.”

CCRT selected an X86-based supercomputing architecture based chiefly on price/performance metrics, says Ménaché, adding that the ease with which CEA and industry partners were able to run effectively run X86 application code was also an important factor.

The new 1.4-petaflop COBALT supercomputer will be installed in CEA’s Very Large Computing Centre (TGCC) in Bruyères-le-Châtel, France, mid-2016. COBALT will have a peak performance of roughly 1.4 petaflops and will be three times more powerful and three times more energy efficient than AIRAN. Storage is provided by a Seagate storage system with a capacity of 2.5 petabytes and throughput of 60 GB/s.

COBALT will have 2,304 Intel Xeon processors E5 2680 V4 (Broadwell) with a total of 32,256 cores at 2.4 GHz. It will also have 18 hybrid nodes with Nvidia Pascal GPUs for remote computing and visualization. A special partition dedicated to the France Génomique project will be equipped with 4,032 Intel Xeon E5 processor (Broadwell) cores at 2.4 GHz and 4 very large memory nodes at 3 TB/node. An InfiniBand EDR interconnect solution (100 GB/s vs 40 GB/s currently) forms the core of the new computer and will allow it to increase capacity based on the needs of its partners for the next four to five years.

Not surprisingly, the new system will use Lustre parallel file system as CEA is a longtime user of and contributor to Lustre, and is responsible for much of the development of the Lustre 2.5 Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) feature. CEA also maintains the Robinhood policy engine, a core component of Lustre HSM. Robinhood is widely used by the Lustre community to monitor large file systems and has also been adopted by commercial companies.

Intel provides commercial support to this open source project and provides extensive support and Lustre expertise to CEA. In addition to taking advantage of Intel’s Lustre expertise, CEA relies on the Intel Cluster Studio and Intel compilers, profilers, and other software development tools.

Focus on Digital Simulation

Ménaché says COBALT will provide CEA and its industrial partners a major performance boost in running numerical simulations in a wide range of areas, for example, extending power plant lifetimes, making nuclear reactors safer and more efficient, analyzing environmental risks, optimizing car ventilation and air conditioning systems, and decoding genomes.

CCRT works with industrial partners like Valeo on this aero-acoustic numerical simulation of a car interior air conditioning system.
CCRT works with industrial partners like Valeo on this aero-acoustic numerical simulation of a car interior air conditioning system.

Here are examples of planned projects:

  • CCRT partner Safran plans to use COBALT to reduce noise and fuel consumption in helicopter and aircraft engines. The company was able to reduce fuel consumption by 15 percent through numerical simulations run on AIRAN; with COBALT, Safran hopes to drive fuel efficiency even higher.
  • Multinational automotive supplier Valeo hopes to shorten design and validation times for its automotive products.
  • L’Oréal intends to apply higher-performance numerical simulation to discovering innovative new hair, makeup, and perfume products and predict their effectiveness and safety.
  • CEA will, among other projects, use the increased computing resources to predict enzyme functions and improve multi-scale computing in the field of materials.

“We expect to see big performance gains in all our simulations, large and small, but even where there is not a performance gain, applications will be able to process more data on COBALT, so runs will be more accurate and predictable,” says Ménaché. “Our benchmarks have shown that the latest Broadwell processors give us 1.5X better performance than AIRAN, even though the new processor has a lower frequency [2.4 GHz versus 2.7GHz]. COBALT will have a real impact on the competitiveness of our partner companies.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Researchers Use Supercomputing to Study Links Between Hurricanes and Climate Change

July 19, 2019

As climate change looms, researchers are scrambling to answer the question of how a warming planet will affect the frequency and severity of already-deadly hurricanes. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Il Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

San Diego Supercomputer Center to Welcome ‘Expanse’ Supercomputer in 2020

July 18, 2019

With a $10 million dollar award from the National Science Foundation, San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego is procuring a new supercomputer, called Expanse, to be deployed next Read more…

By Staff report

Informing Designs of Safer, More Efficient Aircraft with Exascale Computing

July 18, 2019

During the process of designing an aircraft, aeronautical engineers must perform predictive simulations to understand how airflow around the plane impacts flight characteristics. However, modeling the complexities and su Read more…

By Rob Johnson

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Bring the Combined Power of HPC and AI to Your Business Transformation

A growing number of commercial businesses are implementing HPC solutions to derive actionable business insights, to run higher performance applications and to gain a competitive advantage. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Smarter Technology Revs Up Red Bull Racing

In 21st century business, companies that effectively leverage their information resources – thrive. As it turns out, the same is true in Formula One racing. Read more…

How Fast is Your Rubik Solver; This One’s Probably Faster

July 18, 2019

In the race to solve Rubik’s Cube, the time-to-finish keeps shrinking. This year Philipp Weyer from Germany won the 10th World Cube Association (WCA) Championship held in Melbourne, Australia, with a 6.74-second perfo Read more…

By John Russell

Informing Designs of Safer, More Efficient Aircraft with Exascale Computing

July 18, 2019

During the process of designing an aircraft, aeronautical engineers must perform predictive simulations to understand how airflow around the plane impacts fligh Read more…

By Rob Johnson

Intel Debuts Pohoiki Beach, Its 8M Neuron Neuromorphic Development System

July 17, 2019

Neuromorphic computing has received less fanfare of late than quantum computing whose mystery has captured public attention and which seems to have generated mo Read more…

By John Russell

Goonhilly Unveils New Immersion-Cooled Platform, Doubles Down on Sustainability Mission

July 16, 2019

Goonhilly Earth Station has opened its new datacenter – an enhancement to its existing tier 3 facility – in Cornwall, England, touting an ambitious commitme Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

ISC19 Cluster Competition: Application Results, Finally!

July 15, 2019

Our exhaustive coverage of the ISC19 Student Cluster Competition continues as we discuss the application scores below. While the scores were typically high, som Read more…

By Dan Olds

Nvidia Expands DGX-Ready AI Program to 19 Countries

July 11, 2019

Nvidia’s DGX-Ready Data Center Program, announced in January and designed to provide colo and public cloud-like options to access the company’s GPU-powered Read more…

By Doug Black

Argonne Team Makes Record Globus File Transfer

July 10, 2019

A team of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory has broken a data transfer record by moving a staggering 2.9 petabytes of data for a research project.  The data – from three large cosmological simulations – was generated and stored on the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia, Google Tie in Second MLPerf Training ‘At-Scale’ Round

July 10, 2019

Results for the second round of the AI benchmarking suite known as MLPerf were published today with Google Cloud and Nvidia each picking up three wins in the at Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Applied Materials Embedding New Memory Technologies in Chips

July 9, 2019

Applied Materials, the $17 billion Santa Clara-based materials engineering company for the semiconductor industry, today announced manufacturing systems enablin Read more…

By Doug Black

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – an Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Announcing four new HPC capabilities in Google Cloud Platform

April 15, 2019

When you’re running compute-bound or memory-bound applications for high performance computing or large, data-dependent machine learning training workloads on Read more…

By Wyatt Gorman, HPC Specialist, Google Cloud; Brad Calder, VP of Engineering, Google Cloud; Bart Sano, VP of Platforms, Google Cloud

Chinese Company Sugon Placed on US ‘Entity List’ After Strong Showing at International Supercomputing Conference

June 26, 2019

After more than a decade of advancing its supercomputing prowess, operating the world’s most powerful supercomputer from June 2013 to June 2018, China is keep Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

Qualcomm Invests in RISC-V Startup SiFive

June 7, 2019

Investors are zeroing in on the open standard RISC-V instruction set architecture and the processor intellectual property being developed by a batch of high-flying chip startups. Last fall, Esperanto Technologies announced a $58 million funding round. Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Claims 6000x Speed-Up for Stock Trading Backtest Benchmark

May 13, 2019

A stock trading backtesting algorithm used by hedge funds to simulate trading variants has received a massive, GPU-based performance boost, according to Nvidia, Read more…

By Doug Black

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This