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May 2006
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IT architectures: the new European dynamic

From 20-21 April, Bull welcomed many of its major international customers to the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, for a high-level conference on the theme of “IT architectures: the new European dynamic”. In an atmosphere conducive to exchanges of the highest quality, the event proved an excellent opportunity to debate new challenges and the evolution of information technologies: and an auspicious moment for Bull to share its ambition to occupy much more of the territory in the changing European IT landscape.

Several highpoints marked out the conference. The first afternoon: dedicated to exploring the major changes in the economy and the importance of IT in the competitive value chain. The following morning: focusing on the fundamental evolution in IT architectures, with the rise of Open Source, virtualization, and the growing power of the data center using standard systems… And finally the second afternoon, during which our customers had the opportunity to meet with members of the Bull senior management team for one-to-one discussions.

The keynote speaker was Stéphane Garelli, Economics Professor at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and IMD Business School, and former Director of the World Economic Forum and Symposium in Davos. He immediately captivated everyone present with an uplifting presentation looking at the major factors governing European competitiveness. The international economic balance, the consequences of an open world and globalization, the impact of Chinese consumerism, the creation of new markets, the evolution of value chains, the changes in customer expectations… all led to one main conclusion: Europe today is faced with a major challenge in terms of its competitiveness. There are a number of vital prerequisites for success: not least the ambition to win, to match up to these challenges.

Bull’s own ambition in this direction was indeed the subject of the speech made by Didier Lamouche, Bull's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. That ambition, set out in the company’s strategic plan ‘Horizon 2008’, is to take what it sees as its rightful place in the IT landscape, at the head of the pack among the European players in the industry. Calling on its strong and distinctive values: the ability to develop innovative products in open systems technologies, expertise in managing very large-scale infrastructure projects, in-depth mastery of IT security technologies.
In scientific computing, in complex infrastructures, it is up to Europe to rekindle its drive, its ambition and its independence. And it is up to Bull to play a major role in delivering the information technology to achieve this.

Lisa Graff, General Manager of Server Platform Management in Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, then went on to outline the technologies that Intel believes will change the world. Just a few years ago, who would have anticipated the launch of an Apple Mac based on Intel processors? And who would have expected Intel to start targeting sectors such as healthcare, education and digital cities? Lisa Graff – who flew in especially for the event from Intel’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon – demonstrated just how much Intel is investing in Europe and just how far the company is in the process of reinventing itself.

Lisa was followed by Daniel Verwaerde, Director of the Nuclear Deterrence program at the French Atomic Energy Agency (the CEA), who rounded off the first afternoon’s proceedings by presenting Tera-10, Europe’s most powerful supercomputer and one of the biggest in the world today. He outlined how the computer was being brought into service, putting the emphasis on the reasons why Bull was chosen. He also stressed that this is an essential project for European competitiveness, given that the CEA is very keen to make its unrivalled computing resources available to other research centers and enterprises, for example as in the Ter@tec project.

We will be revisiting the conclusions of the second part of this event in more detail, in the next edition of Bull Direct. The morning featured presentations from Janick Taillandier, IS Director of the Paris transport company RATP, Frédéric Taieb, Director of France Télécom’s Address+ project, and Francisco Antonio Huertas Méndez, Director of the Center for New Initiatives for the regional authorities in Extremadura, Spain.

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