PARIS, June 19, 2017 — The French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation) and GENCI, the French national agency in charge of funding and making available large-scale facilites in high performance computing, hailed the signing of a contract, with ATOS Bull, for providing a new supercomputer that will further increase the scientific and economic competitiveness of both France and Europe, with an investment effort of 24million euros.
Hosted at the CEA’s TGCC centre (Très Grand Centre de Calcul) in Bruyères-Le-Châtel (Essonne), thissupercomputer, operational at the beginning of 2018, will have a peak computational capacity of 9 petaflops, or 9 million billion operations a second in its initial configuration (the equivalent of more than 75,000 office PCs), multiplying the available computing power by 4.5 factor over the existing BULL Curie system at the TGCC. Alongside its computing capacity, the computer will also be able to manage massive amount of data thanks to its data read/write capacity in excess of 500 Go/s. The capacity of this supercomputer is then scheduled to be increased to 20 petaflops in 2019.
The use of numeric simulation and high-performance computing has become a vital instrument in the field of fundamental and applied research, as well as in a growing number of industrial sectors and also as a decision-making tool for the public sector.
For scientists, in every field, this offers the opportunity to use an essential modelling tool that is complementary to both theory and experimentation, involving the fast generation and processing of a massive volume of complex data. This state-of-the-art equipment for extreme simulations will make it possible to improve research and applications within a range of fields as varied as climatology, combustion, new energies, astrophysics, medicine and biology, plasma physics, materials science, as well as humanities and social sciences to artificial intelligence and deep learning.
And for business, and in particular the SMEs and start-up sectors, numerical simulation enables them to optimise the performance of their technologies and processes, and helps create the innovations of tomorrow, in, for example, the aeronautic, automotive and energy sectors.
In the context of the digital revolution taking into account many countries such as the USA, China and Japan making huge investments in the world class strategic areas of HPC and big data, this new, extremely powerful and energy-efficient supercomputer will also become the French high level contribution within the PRACE (PartneRship for Advanced Computing in Europe) European research infrastructure to which GENCI is strongly committed.
This very expected purchase represents a further step up of investment into research infrastructures. It follows on from the full capacity commissioning of the Occigen supercomputer at the CINES centre, in Montpellier, at the beginning of 2017 and will be followed between now and 2019 with an investment in a new computer to be hosted at CNRS’s IDRIS centre, located on Paris-Saclay plateau.
GENCI also welcomes the fact that this highly competitive tender call was won by a European computer manufacturer, ATOS Bull, and is thus contributing to the creation of jobs and the recognition of the excellence of the scientific and technological expertise of France in this high added-value sector.
Since its creation in 2007 by the Public authorities, GENCI is working to increase the use of numerical simulation and high performance computing (HPC) for boosting competitiveness within the French economy, across all scientific and industrial fields. GENCI’s role is:
- to implement the national strategy for equipping inHPC resources the three national computing centres and making the systems available for French researchers
- to support the creation of an integrated European high performance computing ecosystem
- to work to promote numerical simulation and high performance computing within the academic and industrial communities.
GENCI is a “civil company” (société civile) under the French law, and 49% owned by the State, represented by the ministère en charge de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, 20% by the CEA, 20% by the CNRS, 10% by the Universities, which are represented by the Conférence des présidents d’Université, and 1% by Inria.