March 24, 2014

CEA Expands Power of Helios Supercomputer

PARIS, France, March 24 — The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (the CEA) – working on behalf of F4E to implement and run the Data Center for nuclear fusion at Rokkasho in Japan – is expanding the power of the Helios supercomputer by equipping it with additional bullx nodes featuring Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors.

Helios, which is designed and operated by Bull, supports research work aimed at controlling nuclear fusion, so as to refine a sustainable energy source that produces no carbon dioxide emissions or other greenhouse gasses. The system provides modeling and simulation capacity which is open to all European and Japanese researchers under the ‘Broader Approach’, a research program that complements the international cooperative ITER program.

The new Intel Xeon PHI coprocessors that will be incorporated into Helios will enable researchers to take advantage of exceptional computing performance. Their massively parallel architecture delivering leading performance per watt, foreshadows technologies that will ultimately lead to Exa-scale computing.

“We are delighted to be helping the CEA and the community working on Nuclear Fusion to develop the knowhow and computing resources that will allow them to significantly expand the potential for research associated with the ITER program,” said Pascal Barbolosi, Vice-President, Extreme Computing at Bull.

“Computer simulation plays an essential role in the development of research into Nuclear Fusion – both in terms of understanding the extremely complex physical phenomena involved and in scoping future tokamaks. The Nuclear Fusion community already has very advanced parallel simulation software. Adapting these for processors with an extremely high levels of parallelization is essential to guarantee their ability to fully utilize future generations of supercomputers, and the integration of Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors into Helios is an important move in this direction,” explained Gabriele Fioni, Director of Materials Sciences at the CEA.

The architecture of the Helios supercomputer initially featured 4,410 bullx B510 compute nodes, with 8,820 Intel Xeon E5 processors producing a power of 1.5 Petaflops. The 180 new bullx B515 compute nodes will each include two Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors delivering an additional 400 Teraflops, taking the total power of the Helios system to almost 2 Petaflops.

Intel is convinced that Exascale computing will represent a major technological advance for the scientific community working on Nuclear Fusion projects. The Intel Xeon Phi range of coprocessors has been designed with this in mind, and we are very pleased that the Helios supercomputer will be benefiting from this,” explained Stéphane Negre, CEO of Intel France and Regional Manager of Intel Western Europe.

About the CEA

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is a public technological research organization working in four main areas: low-carbon energies, information technologies and health technologies, very large-scale research facilities (TGIRs), and global defense and security.

Building on excellence in fundamental research and on recognized expertise, the CEA takes part in organizing cooperation projects with a wide range of academic and industrial partners. With its 16,000 researchers and employees, it is a major player in European research and is also expanding its international presence.

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About Bull

Bull is the trusted partner for enterprise data. The Group, which is firmly established in the Cloud and in Big Data, integrates and manages high-performance systems and end-to-end security solutions. Bull’s offerings enable its customers to process all the data at their disposal, creating new types of demand. Bull converts data into value for organisations in a completely secure manner.

Bull currently employs around 9,200 people across more than 50 countries, with over 700 staff totally focused on R&D. In 2013, Bull recorded revenues of €1.3 billion.

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Source: Bull

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