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French HPC organisation increases compute power for research

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The French national high performance computing organisation, Grand Equipement National de Calcul Intensif (GENCI), is expanding France's compute and storage capabilities with SGI supercomputing solutions. The organisation's new SGI Altix ICE installation called Jade is located at France's National Computer Center for Higher Education (CINES). It is being used by researchers in diverse scientific disciplines, including climatology and sustainable development, space and aeronautical research, energy exploration, industrial research, and life and materials sciences.

'This SGI Altix ICE deployment is essential technology that underpins our strategy to implement the computing infrastructures needed to assist the development of scientific research throughout Europe,' said Catherine Rivière, president of GENCI. 'It is testimony to the importance of HPC for accelerating innovation and strengthening global competitiveness.'

The supercomputer connects to Renater, the French high-speed network, and to European community infrastructures to provide quick and expanded access to data that scientists and engineers need to accelerate results throughout French and European research ecosystems. With 2,688 quad-core Intel Xeon processors, for a total of 10,752 cores, and 48TB of system memory, Altix ICE delivers up to 120 teraflops and features almost 50TB of distributed memory.

The SGI InfiniteStorage 4600 Raid system supports the I/O-intensive applications required by advanced science and engineering applications. The system delivers 175,000 sustained Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS) and provides additional storage, up to 250TB. Data is shared at 21GB/s via a Lustre distributed file system. The storage system is attached to an existing file server using SGI InfiniteStorage Data Migration Facility software, which maximises storage performance and capacity utilisation across multiple tiers of Raid and tape storage. As GENCI's storage needs evolve, SGI InfiniteStorage 4600 allows it to scale and assures critical data is always available to researchers.

When combined with existing SGI equipment, the Altix ICE installation at CINES now provides 267 terflops and 750TB of attached storage. The supercomputer yields an overall efficiency of 89 per cent as demonstrated on the High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark (237 teraflops sustained).