University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne joins forces with Bull and Microsoft to make computer simulation more accessible to SMEs
16, 2010 -
The University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, Bull and Microsoft today announce that they have signed a partnership agreement to provide open access to the University's new bullx® supercomputer to the widest possible range of users, both from higher education and industry.
The new partnership will enable a new hybrid operating environment to be implemented across the entire bullx supercomputer recently acquired by the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne. The supercomputer, which has been installed at the University's Champagne-Ardenne Computing Center, delivers some 6 Teraflops of power. Known as "Clovis", it has significantly increased the capacity of the Computing Center, and is destined to meet the intensive computing needs of researchers and businesses in the Champagne-Ardenne region.
Linux or Microsoft: no need to choose
Those who wish to use Clovis can access its powerful processing capacity via either a Linux® environment - traditionally favoured by scientists and experts in High-Performance Computing (HPC) - or Microsoft® Windows® HPC Server 2008 R2, which is better suited to meeting the needs of local businesses as it offers a more familiar Windows® environment which is accessible to non-specialists.
Over and above its computing resources, the Computing Center is also offering businesses and researchers support in using its intensive computing tools, as well as expertise in a range of advanced scientific and technical areas, enabling them to benefit from the very latest technologies. This represents a significant advantage in today's highly competitive economic environment, where computer modeling and simulations can help to cut costs and shorten product development timescales for new projects.
According to Professor Michaël Krajecki, Director of the ROMEO Regional Computing Center in Champagne-Ardenne: "Supporting academic research in the Champagne-Ardenne region, the medium-sized Champagne-Ardenne Computing Center is positioning itself in between the large-scale national computing centers and the internal computing resources available to local research labs and SMEs. Adopting a hybrid environment, in partnership with Bull and Microsoft, ensures that our Clovis supercomputer is more accessible to everyone."
"We are proud that the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne is the first medium-sized computing facility to offer a hybrid Linux-Windows environment," said Muriel Barthelemy, HPC Sales Engineer at Microsoft France. "This openness will give SMEs in this region access to a familiar, easy-to-operate environment, which will undoubtedly encourage users to become customers of this Data Center. The close working relationship between the teams from the University, Bull and Microsoft should provide us with some useful lessons, which other organizations are awaiting with interest."
"In 2006, we installed the romeo2 computer at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne," said Pascal Barbolosi, Vice-President and Director of Bull's Extreme Computing business in France. "Now, in 2010, it has been followed by the Clovis supercomputer, based on bullx blades and a bullx supernode, which will significantly boost the available processing power at the Reims Computing Center. This partnership - which brings together the University, Microsoft and Bull - is another important step towards greater democratization of computing power, designed to meet both the requirements of professional researchers and the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises who are already familiar with Windows environments."
An ambitious research program
The new supercomputer consists of 36 bullx blade servers as well as a bullx supernode SMP server and a bullx R425 E2 server equipped with GPU technology and a visualization node. With a total of 516 Intel® Xeon® processor cores, it is destined to support numerous different areas of scientific research, most notably in:
Mathematics and information technology: to help develop new approaches that will enable current parallel architectures to be used more effectively. This work takes priority over research in the following two areas
Physics and engineering sciences: running scientific computing applications in fluid mechanics, processes at the level of atmospheric particles, the fundamental processes involved in shaping materials, etc.
Modeling complex molecular systems: for a very wide range of objects such as electrode surfaces, proteins, atmospheric ice particles, organic molecules, complex minerals- The fact that the computing platform is situated in close proximity to the theoretical Chemists based in Reims has encouraged significant growth in this area.
About the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)
With a clear focus on excellence, the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne educates over 22,000 students a year.
Its research programs - involving its 750 nationally and internationally recognized researchers and research students - are mainly concentrated in five areas: Natural Sciences and Healthcare; Mathematics, Information and Communications Technology and Nanotechnologies; Agrosciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Chemistry and Engineering Sciences; and the Humanities and Social Sciences.
By orienting its education programs (from technical diplomas to PhDs) more and more towards the real issues faced by society, through lessons drawing on this innovative research, the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne has successfully highlighted its strengths as a multi-disciplinary, multi-site establishment to emphasize its role in the economic development of the region.
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