The CNRS will equip itself with the most powerful supercomputer in France
The GENCI (Large National Equipment for Intensive Computing), a computer center attached to the CNRS announces the acquisition of the most powerful supercomputer in France. Its design was entrusted to HPE for an amount of 25 million euros.
GENCI has announced the acquisition of the most powerful supercomputer in France. This CNRS-dependent data center will acquire a machine capable of performing 14 million billion operations per second , or 14 Petaflops.
The supercomputer will be installed at the Idris center in Saclay in mid-2019. According to Antoine Petit, president of the CNRS at the microphone of France Info, it will offer power ten times greater than the equipment previously used by GENCI . Indeed, the Atos Bull Sequana X1000 supercomputer provides 9.4 petaflops. Currently, the most powerful machine in France equips the military division of CEA. It develops a computing power of 12 petaflops.
The most powerful supercomputer in France costs 25 million euros
Such a power gain has a significant cost. Indeed, the GENCI will pay 25 million euros to obtain the supercomputer . To this, we will have to add the operating costs. The machine will be supplied by HPE, which recently distinguished itself by designing the most powerful supercomputer based on ARM. The architecture called HPE Superdrome Flex will be used here to meet the needs of CNRS researchers. The equipment is based on the most efficient Intel Xeon processors and nearly 1000 Nvidia graphics accelerators.
This supercomputer will obviously be used in Big Data processing. CNRS researchers will use it to simulate climate change, improve medical and machine translation algorithms, or even design more efficient artificial intelligence. Scientists will be the main users of the computer equipment, but companies could also have access to it under certain conditions.
An initiative led by the government
More generally, this investment meets the government’s innovation requirements. On November 28, 2018, Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, unveiled the national research strategy in artificial intelligence . France wants to become the leader of this sector in Europe .
Finally, the Ministry of Higher Education specifies in a press release that France will be a candidate by 2022 ” for hosting one of the European machines known as exascale (1 billion billion operations per second) co-financed by the European Commission within the framework of the Euro-HPC joint venture which brings together the European Commission and 25 countries ”.
This represents an investment of 320 million euros, half of which will be devoted to Artificial Intelligence.