Bull Sequana, the new French supercomputer

A state-of-the-art supercomputer , Bull Sequana, will soon be installed at the TGCC (Very Large Computing Center) of the CEA (Comissariat à l'Energie Atomique) in Bruyères-Le-Châtel, in Essonne.

It was chosen to replace the Bull Curie system currently in service. Its power will be 4.5 times greater than the current supercomputer.

Bull Sequana, the new French supercomputer

It will allow France to advance in the supercomputer race mastered by the United States and China, which hold most of the places in the top 500 of the most powerful machines.

Power worthy of 75,000 desktop PCs

Ordered by the GENCI (Large National Equipment for Intensive Computing) for an investment of 24 million euros, the device will be delivered at the end of the year. In its initial configuration, it will have a colossal power of 9 petaflops, or 9 million billion operations calculated per second, for a memory capacity of 400 terabytes.

It will reach the astronomical power of over 20 petaflops in 2019, once its configuration is extended. This equates to the added computing power of 75,000 desktop PCs. Impressive. Imagine the number of computers needed to reach the power of the largest Chinese calculator, which exceeds 93 petaflops.

In total, 124,700 cores constitute all of the computation nodes. They are equipped with Intel Xeon Skylake-EP and Intel Xeon Phi KNL processors. The storage cluster provides a minimum throughput of 300 GB per second, to reach 500 GB per second thereafter.

What are these dizzying numbers for?

With this power, you will be able to play Battlefield 1 and soon Call Of Duty WWII perfectly. Joking aside, this debauchery of power is intended for research, and will be made available to French and European scientists to support them in academic and industrial fields which always require more power to calculate and process complex data.

Different fields will thus benefit from this power put to good use, such as climatology, astrophysics, energy, medicine and even artificial intelligence. These sectors thus carry out substantial simulations which require these supercomputers, such as plasma physics or the evolution of the universe.

The Bull Sequana aims, like other specialized companies, to exaflop with 1 billion billion transactions per second over time. There is no doubt that it will be beneficial for French research, especially in its final version of 2019. This capacity will certainly be extended in the future, to perhaps one day compete more seriously with the major players in the field of computing …

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