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Bull installs GENCI’s new supercomputer – Europe’s largest hybrid system and the second largest worldwide – in under two weeks   


The new Bull supercomputer ordered by GENCI (the French national High-Performance Computing organization) to support the needs of the CCRT (the Center for Research and Technology Computing) and its partners is now operational after only a two-week installation period. Seen by the scientific community as an outstanding achievement, Bull once again demonstrated its expertise for hybrid architectures and its excellence in services on the HPC market.

“In the space of just two weeks, experts from Bull and the French Atomic Energy Authority’s Directorate of Military Affairs (CEA/DAM) installed the new supercomputer at GENCI, dedicated to the CCRT. And three days after it was installed, we could already see the proof of the exceptional efficiency of the cluster, which consists of 8,000 Intel® Xeon® cores and complemented by NVIDIA cores. It has already achieved an efficiency rating of over 91% against the Linpack benchmark, clearly demonstrating the real ‘scalability’ of the Bull architecture.” declared Jean Gonnord, Head of Computer Simulation and IT Project at CEA/DAM.

Designed around a hybrid architecture to respond to the needs of both production applications and research, the supercomputer has provided a step-change in the available power at the CCRT’s scientific computing center, which positions it as the first center in Europe in the civil domain.

From research to industry, the computer simulations carried out with the CCRT’s support touch on a highly diverse range of fields: aeronautical engineering, the safety of nuclear reactors, climate change, the birth of galaxies, behavior of materials, genome research, medical image processing... In effect, the CCRT is one of the few European high-power computing centers open to partners from research and industry. Its current partners included several divisions of the CEA (Energy, Nuclear, Life Sciences, Materials Sciences, Military Applications...), ONERA (the National Office for Aerospatial Research and Studies) and CERFACS (the European Center for Research and Advanced Training in Scientfic Computing), as well as industrial companies such as EADS/Astrium, EDF, SNECMA, Techspace Aero and Turbomeca.

Thanks to the new hybrid supercomputer that Bull has designed, GENCI can offer research and industrial organisations the most powerful resources, both for fundamental research and for production applications. Agreed on just a few months ago and brought into being today in record timescales, this investment comes at just the right moment. Getting through these times of economic crisis will very definitely involve greater use of computer simulation technologies,” explains Catherine Rivière, Chairman of GENCI.

This, the first large-scale hybrid machine in Europe, is the result of R&D work carried out by Bull, experts from CEA/DAM and their partners in the SYSTEM@TIC Paris-Region competitiveness cluster. Designed and developed by Bull, the supercomputer features a hybrid architecture, enabling it to deliver both a great deal of power for production tasks and to act as a research platform, thanks to the tight integration of so-called GPU1 processors for scientific computing. The new Bull supercomputer consists of a cluster of 1,068 8-core ‘generalist’ computing nodes (Intel® Xeon® 5500 processors), delivering some 103 Teraflops, and 48 specialist 960-core GPU NVIDIA nodes, providing additional theoretical power of up to 192 Teraflops.

 “We are especially proud of this new record achievement by our HPC teams,” commented Philippe Miltin, Vice-President of Bull Products and Systems, “which confirms their exceptional expertise. Access to high-performance computer simulation is becoming one of the key strategic challenges, which boosts the competitiveness of businesses and research bodies alike. It is also one of Bull’s key strategic engines for growth: a market where we have successfully won over 120 customers in 15 countries across three continents in under four years. Now, with some 500 experts, we have the most extensive HPC skill-bases in Europe and one of the largest teams in the world. Our aim is to be the European leader in this strategic market.”


GENCI is owned 50% by the French State represented by the Ministry for Higher Education and Research, 20% by the CEA, 20% by the CNRS and 10% by the Universities.

Created in January 2007, GENCI has the following mission:

  • To promote the use of modeling, simulation and High-Performance Computing (HPC) in fundamental and industrial research
  • To promote the organization of European HPC space and participate in its achievements
  • To set up and co-ordinate the major supercomputing equipments for the French national HPC civil centers, by providing for their financing and assuming their ownership
  • To perform all research required for developing and optimizing their HPC facilities
  • To open up the facilities it owns to all interested scientific communities, academic or industrial, national, European or international.

For more information, visit: www.genci.fr


The French nuclear energy authority (CEA) is a major player in research, development and innovation, and a contributor to three key sectors: energy, information technology and healthcare, defense and security; building on its excellence in fundamental research.

With 15,000 researchers and other staff, the CEA represents a real bank of expertise and forward-thinking for the public authorities. As a driving force for industrial innovation, the CEA has also developed a number of partnerships with French and European industrial players.  

For more information, visit: www.cea.fr

GPU: graphics processing units (GPUs) are dedicated graphics rendering devices, designed primarily for computer games and graphics applications