France’s GENCI Deploys SGI Supercomputers to Accelerate Scientific Research

SGI® Altix® ICE and InfiniteStorage Reduce Time-to-Insight in Climatology, Astrophysics, New Energies, and Life and Materials Sciences

FREMONT, Calif. & JOUY EN JOSAS, France — (BUSINESS WIRE) — May 6, 2010SGI (NASDAQ: SGI) a global leader in HPC and data center solutions, today announced that the French national high performance computing (HPC) organization Grand Equipement National de Calcul Intensif ( GENCI) is expanding France's compute and storage capabilities with SGI supercomputing solutions. The organization’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.

The SGI Altix ICE 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 TFLOPS and features almost 50TB of distributed memory.

The new 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 maximizes storage performance and capacity utilization 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.

“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.”

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

“SGI is proud to supply GENCI with its new Altix ICE supercomputer for systems that allow France to maintain its research leadership in a multitude of disciplines,” said Joop Ruijgrok, vice president of SGI EMEA. “When using the systems to run many iterations of a simulation or to analyze huge amounts of data, scientists rely on SGI Altix ICE and InfiniteStorage to deliver reduced time to insight. This supercomputer deployment illustrates how SGI delivers powerful solutions to meet the exacting needs of the most demanding HPC customers in the world.”


Grand Equipement National de Calcul Intensif, is a société civile under French law, 49 percent owned by the French State represented by the Ministry for Higher Education and Research, 20 percent by CEA, 20 percent by CNRS, 10 percent by the Universities and 1 percent by INRIA.

Created in January 2007, GENCI has the following missions:

  • To promote the use of modeling, simulation and high performance computing (HPC) in fundamental and industrial research;
  • To promote the organization of European HPC and participate to its actions;
  • To set in place and coordinate the main equipment of the French HPC centers for civil research by providing funding and assuming their ownership;
  • To perform all research required for developing and optimizing the utilization of computing hardware;
  • To open its facilities to all interested scientific communities, academic or industrial, national, European or international;
  • To promote the organization of European HPC and participate to its actions, GENCI is the French representative in the PRACE project.


CINES, the National Computer Centre for Higher Education, is based in Montpellier, France. CINES provides the scientific community with powerful means to pursue public research. It is a national public institution under the authority of the Minister of Research.

  • CINES offer laboratories the opportunity to exploit their codes on parallel supercomputing resources. Many scientific disciplines (such as fluid mechanics, chemistry, materials chemistry, physics, astrophysics and bioinformatics) use the Centre's equipment to solve problems that require extreme computing power and large amounts of memory. Via its scientific visualization service, CINES offers its users the opportunity to visualize the results of their calculations.
  • Through projects driven by the Directorate of Higher Education's Library and Information Science group, CINES helps research bodies and public institutions by offering network-based database support and services.
  • In partnership with the Agency Bibliographic of Higher Education (ABES) and other groups, CINES hosts and operates Sudoc, a university documentation system. The center also houses digitized texts, images, and videos, and provides access to these over the Web.
  • CINES is connected to the Internet by RENATER (National Network for Technology, Education and Research) through a 1Gb per second connection. CINES collaborates with IPTF RENATER, which organizes training under CiRen (CINES-RENATER).

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