CCRT boosts industrial innovation with a petascale supercomputer from Bull

February 4, 2016

Paris, 4 February 2016 – Following a tender bid, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, CEA, and its industrial partners at the Centre for Computing Research and Technology, CCRT, have invested in a new petaflop[1] supercomputer of ~1.4 Pflops, designed by Bull, the Atos brand for technology products and software. Three times more powerful than the current computer at CCRT, it will be installed in the CEA’s Very Large Computing Centre[2] in Bruyères-le-Châtel, France, mid-2016 to cover expanding industrial needs.

This new supercomputer, called COBALT, has a peak computing performance of ~1.4 Pflops, and will be three times more powerful than the current computer and three times more energy efficient. A private storage system, external to the computer, with a storage capacity of 2.5 Pbytes [3] with a throughput of 60 GB/s will enable users to store their data.

It will have 2304 Intel® Xeon® E5 processors (Broadwell) with a total of 32,256 cores at 2.4 Ghz and 18 hybrid nodes with Nvidia Pascal processors, for remote computing and visualisation. The partition dedicated to the France Génomique[4] project will be equipped with 4032 Intel® Xeon® E5 Broadwell cores at 2.4 Ghz, and 4 very large memory nodes at 3TB/node. An InfiniBand EDR interconnect solution (100 GB/s vs. 40 GB/s currently) forms the core of this new computer and is sized to allow it to increase capacity based on the needs of its partners for the coming 4 to 5 years.

The mandate of the CCRT is to support digital simulation development, particularly in the industrial world. Established in 2003, based on a unique partnership model in France, it has demonstrated its capacity to respond sustainably to the needs of industry partners. It offers a wide range of high performance computing (HPC) competencies, tailored to the growing needs of its partners, combining security and flexibility in its use of resources.

Digital simulation development

Teams from Airbus D&S, Areva, EDF, Herakles, Ineris, L’Oréal, Safran Tech, Snecma, Thales, Thales Alenia Space, Techspace Aero, Turbomeca, Valeo and CEA shall have the highest class computing resources at their disposal, necessary for developing their projects in the future. Research into the lifetime of power plants, the design and safety of nuclear reactors, the development of aircraft and helicopter engines, optimisation of car ventilation and air conditioning systems, the design of radar systems, environmental risk analyses, studying proteins and decoding the genome, predicting the performance of cosmetics or even the search for new materials are all areas in which numerical simulation is growing rapidly.

Philippe Vannier, Executive Vice President Big Data & Security at Atos concludes: “The renewed confidence of the CEA and CCRT in Bull technologies is something we are very proud of at Atos. This project is a new milestone accomplished within our exascale programme which aims to develop a new generation of supercomputers by 2020 capable of achieving performance levels in the order of exaflops, a billion billion calculations per second, while at the same time significantly reducing energy consumption.”

About CEA

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission is a public body established in October 1945 by General de Gaulle. A leader in research, development and innovation, the CEA is active in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. The CEA’s Military Applications Division (“DAM”) takes charge of defense and security missions.

[1] 1 petaflop: a quadrillion operations per second.
[2] The Very Large Computing Centre is a facility capable of hosting supercomputers, with all the IT resources and services tailored to high performance computing.
[3] 1 petabyte: a quadrillion bytes of memory.
[4]The CCRT hosts the data processing infrastructure of the France Génomique project. The latter groups together and pools the resources of the main French genome and bioinformatics platforms.