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Announcement - PRACE announces second Tier-0 system

Announcement - PRACE announces second Tier-0 system

Photo courtesy PRACE

The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe, PRACE, welcomed the upcoming availability of the second Tier-0 system of the European research infrastructure

This second world-class petaflopic supercomputer is financed by GENCI (Grand Equipement National de Calcul Intensif), acting as the French representative in PRACE. It will be located near Paris and operated in a new computing center, the Très Grand Centre de Calcul (TGCC), by CEA (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives). With a general purpose architecture, it will extend the PRACE high performance computing (HPC) services started with Jugene, an MPP system operated by Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany), in order to significantly increase the coverage of all the scientific needs of European reseachers.

Supercomputers are central tools for acquiring knowledge and adding value in the 21st century. Scientists use simulations on supercomputers to explore the properties of materials and active substances, to construct cars and aircraft, and in many applications in the life sciences such as drug discovery and understanding the molecular functioning of brain and body. As a new and independent method, computer simulations complement experiments, prototypes and studies, especially in fields which are difficult to investigate for financial, technical or ethical reasons.

“The French Tier-0 system strengthens the distributed research infrastructure PRACE is implementing in Europe, said Achim BACHEM, chairman of the PRACE AISBL Council. It’s a new milestone in our roadmap to provide world-class resources for both European scientific and industrial communities to address the enormous challenges our societies are facing up, like climate change or energy saving”.

Named Curie and provided by BULL, the French system will deliver a 1.6 Petaflops peak performance powered by more than 90 000 cores, mostly composed of the latest Intel® Xeon® processors. Developed with a balanced and modular architecture, Curie will be available for applications in all fields of science, such as high energy and plasma physics, chemistry and sustainable development, climatology, life sciences, energy technologies… “As a founding member of PRACE, we are extremely proud to host this very competitive system and therefore support the French and European scientists in achieving their research goals with global visibility”, expressed Catherine RIVIERE, CEO of GENCI.

Curie is expected to provide results from areas that wouldn’t otherwise be reached, like in the climatology field: “It is crucial to have a high computing power to simulate with the most possible realism the past of our climate, the current conditions and its future evolution according to various scenarios”, underlines Jean Jouzel, vice-president of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and director of the Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace. “With Curie, we will be able to consider ensemble climatic simulations, multisets, multi-models, with a resolution about ten kilometers on the whole planet and on several hundred years. That will also enable us to increase the European participation in the next international exercises of simulation of the climate, as those which are coordinated in the project CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) whose results will be then largely used in the fifth report of the IPCC”.

The French Tier-0 system will be installed in two phases: a first one before the end of 2010 and a second one in October 2011. Curie will be available for European users, through the next PRACE call for proposals starting in November 2010.

The second tier-0 system was announced in Brussels at the PRACE event for European parliamentarians.