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Bull-Joseph Fourier Prize for computer simulation awarded to three researchers for their contributions in three vital areas for society

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Prix Fourier

At the Ter@tec Forum 2009, Didier Lamouche, Chairman and CEO of Bull, and Catherine Rivière, President of GENCI* – the French national High-Performance Computing organization – awarded the Bull-Joseph Fourier Prize to three young researchers for their work in the field of computer simulation.

First prize was awarded to Luigi Genovese, for his work on parallelization of molecular modeling software on hybrid systems.


The Bull-Joseph Fourier Prize: actively supporting the development of computer simulation in Europe

The Prize aims to recognize the work of researchers working in the field of computer application simulation parallelization in traditional or hybrid architectures, under the auspices of a French R&D laboratory, whether in the public or private sector. It was instigated in response to two major challenges faced by computer simulation activities in France:

Bull and GENCI are keen to support and encourage the development and improvement of computer simulation in France, both in the field of scientific research and in all its applications in industry. The Prize also pays homage to the eminent French scientist Joseph Fourier, whose work made such a major contribution to the mathematical modeling of physical phenomena.

The Selection Committee – who chose the most deserving candidates to go forward to the final selection process – and the final Jury who evaluated the researchers’ work and awarded the Bull-Joseph Fourier 2009 Prize, were both made up of independent experts from industry and academia.

The Prize-winners

With a first prize of €15,000, the Bull-Joseph Fourier Prize is also particularly notable as it offers other recipients ‘machine time’ on GENCI supercomputers to enable them to intensify their research efforts.

First Prize: Luigi Genovese
Luigi Genovese work in the area of nano-sciences at ESRF (the European Synchroton Radiation Facility at Grenoble). He has been recognized both for his work aimed at improving the parallel performance of a molecular modeling software program through the innovative use of wavelets and for adapting the program for hybrid systems, which combine traditional processors with graphics accelerators. This work could well lead to major breakthroughs in the areas of novel materials and new molecules.

Second Prize: Gabriel Staffelbach
The Jury chose to acclaim this young researcher from CERFACS (the European Centre for Research and Advanced Training in Scientific Computation at Toulouse) for the quality of his work on the use of massively parallel technologies for the development of a specialist code (AVBP), leading to record levels of accuracy in the simulation of combustion in engines. Designing the most reliable and energy-efficient internal combustion engines is vital to both the aeronautical and automotive industries, against a backdrop of increasing need for environmental protection and scarcity of fossil fuels. Gabriel Staffelbach was awarded 500,000 hours of machine time.

Third Prize: Dimitri Komatitsch
A researcher at the Geosciences Modeling and Imaging Laboratory at the University of Pau and the Pays de l'Adour, as well as at INRIA, Dimitri Komatitsch was awarded Third Prize for his work on code parallelization to simulate global geo-phenomena, as well as for the impact of his research which enables earthquakes and their aftershocks to be predicted more accurately. The work has already been used by the Italian authorities following the earthquake in l’Aquila in April 2009. GENCI is offering Dimitri 100,000 ours of machine time on GPUs.

* GENCI (Grand Equipement National de Calcul Intensif) is the French national High-Performance Computing organization. It is a legal entity taking the form of a société civile (civil company) under French law, owned 50% by the French State represented by the Ministry for Higher Education and Research, 20% by the CEA (French Atomic Energy Authority), 20% by the CNRS (the national center for scientific research) and 10% by the universities.