Atos, through its technology brand Bull, has won a contract with GENCI (Grand Équipement National de Calcul Intensif) to deliver one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, planned for the end of 2017. A successor of the Curie system installed at the TGCC (Très Grand Centre de Calcul of the CEA in Bruyères-Le-Chatel), the Bull Sequana supercomputer has an overall power of 9 petaflops and can carry out 9 million billion operations per second. It will be used for research purposes in France and Europe. The announcement was formalised yesterday at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.
A supercomputer to speed up academic and industrial research
The new supercomputer will be made available to French and European researchers for use in academic and industrial fields that require extremely high computing and data processing power.
The applications for intensive computing are many and varied, such as climatology, where the supercomputer will help to model past, present and future meteorological conditions with incredible accuracy within the framework of international activities carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). When applied to life sciences, the high-performance computer will make it possible to work on the scale of basic chemical processes in molecular systems, thus paving the way for major advances in the personalisation of medicine. In the energy industry, the supercomputer will not only optimise the process of combustion in motors and turbines, but also develop alternatives based on electricity with new-generation batteries in the wind, tidal and, in future, fusion power sectors. In astrophysics, only a supercomputer with this kind of power is capable of simulating the entire universe, thus putting us in a position to better understand its origin and evolution.
The equivalent of 75,000 PCs connected together
Based on the platform of the latest generation of the Bull Sequana X1000, which will eventually be capable of achieving an exaflop (a billion billion operations per second), the first instalment of this supercomputer will have a peak computing power of 8.9 petaflops and a distributed memory capacity of almost 400 terabytes. An extension of its configuration is planned for 2019, when its computing capacity is set to increase to more than 20 petaflops.
Consisting of more than 124,000 computing cores, the supercomputer will benefit from the patented direct liquid cooling (DLC) technology used to cool the system down to room temperature, creating an energy saving of up to 40% compared to air cooling.
"The design of Curie's successor illustrates the expertise of Atos engineers, confirming Atos’ European leadership in the supercomputer domain. Following on from the Curie supercomputer, deliveredin 2011 and already amongst the most powerful in the world, we are proud of the renewed trust that GENCI has placed in us to accompany them each day in their development of academic and industrial research" states Philippe Vannier, Group Advisor for Technology at Atos
"GENCI welcomes the acquisition of a new Atos supercomputer, which will actively help us to maintain the scientific competitivity of our French researchers. This highly anticiapted acquisition indeed marks an acceleration in French investment in research organisations. This will also be of great advantage to f industrial companies, especially SMEs and start-ups. This high-performance equipment spearheads our commitment in the European research infrastructure PRACE (PartneRship for Advanced Computing in Europe) in which GENCI is highly involved in representing France" says Philippe Lavocat, CEO of GENCI.
The Atos group, leader of the supercomputer in Europe, has 22 supercomputers in the TOP500 of the most powerful machines in the world.
Specifications of the new supercomputer:
§ All of the computing nodes consist of 9 Sequana cells and are equipped with the latest generation of Intel® Xeon® Skylake-EP processors and Intel® Xeon Phi™ KNL manycore processors for a total of over 124,700 cores;
§ The peak computing power is in the range of 8.9 petaflops (6.86 petaflops in x86_64 technology and 2.08 petaflops in accelerator technology);
§ The distributed memory capacity is in the range of 400 Tb;
§ The patented direct liquid cooling technology makes it possible to cool the machine with hot water, reducing energy consumption by up to 40% in comparison to using air to cool.
§ The entire solution functions under the new Bull SCS 5 environment based on the Linux Red Hat 7.x operating system. The solution also includes a cluster of Lustre multi-level storage capable of releasing a minimum output of 300 Gb/s (500 Gb/s over time) for a minimum required data storage of 5 Pio.