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January 2006
Hot topics

French Atomic Energy Authority (CEA) takes delivery of Tera-10, Europe’s most powerful supercomputer and one of the top few in the world, designed and built by Bull

Less than three years after it launched its new-generation NovaScale® servers, Bull is on the podium in the world of High Performance Computing (HPC). On 20 December 2005, the French Atomic Energy Authority (the CEA) effectively took the lead in the European supercomputer race with Tera-10; announcing that the supercomputer designed by Bull had attained the expected performance levels running the applications being used to test the entire configuration, several days ahead of schedule! It is clear proof of just how capable Bull’s engineering teams are of designing and manufacturing large-scale open servers based on standard Intel® Itanium® 2 components, without compromising performance, robustness and reliability.

For Jean Gonnord, Digital and IT Simulation Project Manager at the Military Applications Directorate of the CEA: “With Tera-10, Bull marks Europe’s return to the global HPC stage. The implementation of a real policy governing high powered computing is starting to take hold in France and in Europe more widely, in the same way that it has been long established in the USA, Japan and now also in China.”

Tera-10, which occupies an 800 m2 of space at the CEA, is designed to test and guarantee the security and reliability of France ’s nuclear deterrent, without the need for actual nuclear tests. A cluster of 602 NovaScale nodes, comprising 4,352 Intel® Itanium® 2 ‘Montecito’ dual-core processors for the calculation operations, interconnected via a very high performance Quadrics QsNetII network, Tera-10 is capable of executing in excess of 60,000 billion operations a second (60 Teraflops) and is expected to claim a place among the world’s five most powerful supercomputers (according to the respected Top 500 rankings) some time in mid 2006. Tera-10 has the power of 8,704 processors, with 30 Terabytes of central memory and one Petabyte (one million billion bytes) of disk space with a 100GB/s bandwidth. It runs using Bull’s own HPC platform, which features the Linux® operating system and the Lustre global parallel file system. This software platform is based on Open Source components, integrated and optimized by Bull at its HPC center of expertise in Grenoble, France.

This computing giant was recently praised by Nobel Physics laureate Georges Charpak, for whom the most positive event of the year in 2005 was “the Tera-10 supercomputer designed by Bull, which the CEA will be utilizing for its research”. Source: “La Dépêche du Dimanche”, dated December 25th, 2005.

Read the article from Jean Gonnord, Pierre Leca and François Robin:
"Tera-10: 60 thousand billion operations a second!" >>
Translated from the special edition of "La Recherche" published January 2006.

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