CNRS acquires the most powerful supercomputer in France. It will be installed in Paris-Saclay

Installed at the beginning of 2019 at the IDRIS (Institute for Development and Resources in Intensive Scientific Computing) computing center at C.N.R.S. on the Saclay platform and financed by GENCI, this supercomputer has a computing power of more than 14 petaflops/s (14 million billion operations per second) and will extend the standard modes of use of high-performance computing to new uses for Artificial Intelligence. It will include more than a thousand specialized processors, known as G.P.U.

The acquisition of this new supercomputer is part of the National Research Strategy in Artificial Intelligence, presented by the government at the end of November 2018, which aims to make France the European leader in artificial intelligence research.

A new procedure has also been defined by GENCI to facilitate access to computing for the entire artificial intelligence research community: it will be implemented in 2019 and will enable, in particular, to use computing resources on the fly.

More generally, this acquisition is a major element of the national strategy for supercomputing infrastructure. It will double the computing resources available for numerical simulation, which, beyond artificial intelligence, is of major importance for most scientific fields and for fields as diverse as aeronautics, automobile, energy, climate simulation and weather forecasting, materials, biology and health, safety and defense, etc.

The national strategy of intensive computing infrastructure is defined in conjunction with the European strategy. In this context, France plans to be a candidate by 2022 to host one of the so-called exascale European computers (1 billion billion operations per second) co-financed by the European Commission within the framework of the Euro-HPC joint undertaking, which brings together the European Commission and 25 countries. It will be an investment of more than €320 million, half of which to artificial intelligence.

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Jérémy Hervé
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