The CEA agency and Atos team up to deliver an exaflop supercomputer by the year 2020
July 9, 2015
Atos, an international leader in digital services has signed a contract with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, CEA, to supply Tera1000, a Bull supercomputer and the forerunner to the exaflop by 2020, a project entailing major technological challenges.
To deliver an exaflops supercomputer by the year 2020 calls for technological breakthroughs, and most especially to control the electricity consumption of such a machine. To this end the CEA decided to apply an early methodology of co-design of the future computers along with a specialist in the industry.
The contract stipulates an initial phase in 2015 for supply of a preliminary machine to deliver a computation capacity similar to Tera100 for the CEA’s Military Applications Division (“DAM”), using 5 times less electricity. The first component of the system was delivered on 14 April 2015.
The architecture of the second phase will predesign the new generation of exaflop supercomputers for the 2020s. The prototype, which will be up and running by 2017, will have a computation capacity of 25 petaflops, and an electricity consumption 20 times lower than Tera100 with respect to capacity. Thanks to its partnership with Bull, since 2010, the CEA has been working with Tera100, the first Bull supercomputer to break through the petaflop barrier, the first designed and built in Europe.
François Geleznikoff, Head of the CEA’s Military Applications Division, says: “The CEA/DAM team has been the driving force behind R&D for high-performance computing in France and Europe since the beginning of the noughties. Specifically, the DAM is helping to develop an ecosystem enabling it to produce a competitive, longlasting, sovereign industrial offer of supercomputers in line with its own needs, on the basis of Atos’ high-performance computing technology, the only technology of its kind in Europe. To meet this objective, we have now signed the contract with Atos for the Tera1000 as the successor to two generations of Bull supercomputers produced to our entire satisfaction.”
In the words of Philippe Vannier, Executive Vice-Chairman Big Data & Security and Chief Technology Officer at the Atos Group, “the Atos Group is extremely proud the CEA has reconfirmed its confidence in Bull technologies. This forms part of our exascale programme, which seeks to develop a new generation of supercomputers by the year 2020, with exaflop performance, i.e. more than one billion billion operations per second, with a major reduction in electricity consumption. “
 FLoating-point Operations Per Second. The prefixes “peta” and “exa” denote the number of operations carried out per second: peta = 1015 or one million billion; exa = 1018 or one billion billion.
 Tera100 is the petaflop supercomputer for defence applications presently operated at the CEA/DAM site in Île-de-France.
About the CEA and the Military Applications Division
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, defence and security, information technologies and health technologies. The CEA’s Military Applications Division (“DAM”) takes charge of defence and security missions. The DAM is responsible for the design, manufacture, through-life support and dismantling of the nuclear warheads that equip France’s sea- and airborne deterrence forces. It is also responsible for the design and manufacture of the nuclear reactors and reactor cores on French Navy submarines and aircraft carrier. It assists the Navy with in-service follow-up and through-life support for these reactors. The DAM is in charge of procuring strategic nuclear materials required for the nation’s deterrence. The DAM also contributes to national and global security through the technical support it provides to the authorities relative to the prevention of nuclear proliferation and terrorism and to disarmament.
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