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November 2009
CEA, GENCI, Intel and the University of Versailles
Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines are investing in a
European laboratory for research on exascale computing

Les ordinateurs exascale seront 1000 fois plus rapides que les supercalculateurs actuels.

CEA, GENCI (Grand Equipement National de Calcul intensif) - the French national high-performance computing organisation, Intel Corporation and the University of Versailles at Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines have finalised their cooperation agreement to set up an Exascale computing research laboratory. This laboratory, a member of the Intel European research network, will address the technological challenges related to designing computers which can provide a performance 1000 times greater than the most powerful computers currently available.

CEA, GENCI and UVSQ will share the funding of this laboratory together with Intel. This will represent an investment of several million euros over a period of five years.  This public private partnership combines the strong vision of French participants in scientific computing, the academic software expertise of the sector and the knowledge of Intel.

This laboratory is both the outcome and continuation of the agreement made in 2005 between Intel and the CEA-DAM as part of the TERA project. "The creation of this joint laboratory bringing together CEA, the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin, GENCI and INTEL is a major step towards the implementation of the policy which aims to consolidate, in Europe, a capacity to design and produce these large machines which are key to research, services, industrial innovation and the global security of our fellow citizens. INTEL is the world's leading supplier of processors for a large range of uses and these are essential components for future very-high performance computers. By bringing together these developers of hardware and software components, architects and users, the laboratory will open the door to the production of machines achieving exaflop performance (one billion billion operations per second) while being energy efficient" explained Bernard Bigot, CEA Chairman.

The activities of the laboratory include the exploration of the challenges related to the integration of multi-petaflop systems, the optimisation of software performance and a collaboration between the developers and users of large systems, in order to optimise applications. The energy, seismology, fluid dynamics and health sectors are involved in this collaboration. The emergence of the Exascale will make possible the resolution of complex problems which are currently impossible to solve with a reasonable time to solution. It will for instance be possible to propose customised health treatments based on a calculation of the patient's genome.

“By anticipating future technologies linked to the exascale, this laboratory will allow us to better prepare the tools required by French and European research in order to guarantee its competitiveness on the world stage. The high-power machines that are planned both at the national and European level in the years to come address this goal directly" emphasised Catherine Rivière, President of GENCI.

For Intel, this is the first laboratory in Europe dedicated to high-performance computing. It will strengthen the investments and research programmes of Intel in this sector.
"France has a leading position in research on high-performance computing in Europe" explains Steve Pawlowski, General Manager and Senior Fellow, Intel Central architecture and planning. "We have chosen these three organisations because of the international level of their skills in software, in exascale studies and in high-performance computing".

This laboratory will set out with a team of around a dozen experts and will develop rapidly over time with the inclusion of new projects. It will start up in the buildings of the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and then plans to join the Ter@tec campus.            

"The contribution of UVSQ will focus on large scale performance optimisation tools, in an application environment dedicated to exascale. The tight coupling between the hardware and application platforms is a major challenge for this laboratory, and a field where the expertise of the UVSQ is widely recognised both at the national and international levels" commented Sylvie Faucheux, President of the UVSQ.
This laboratory resolutely aims to fit into the European scene whilst also collaborating in projects launched by the competitiveness clusters, taking part in French and European research programmes and developing specific collaborations with industrial companies.


Joint press release by Intel, CEA, GENCI and University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

Read more : http://www.exascale-computing.eu/