by Anton Shilov
11/19/2009 | 12:24 PM
Intel Corp. on Thursday announced collaboration with two French universities – Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique, Grand Equipement National de Calcul Intensif and Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – to create an Exascale Computing Research Center, which will explore how to build high-performance computing systems with a thousand times the performance of today's fastest supercomputers.
At present the world’s highest performance super computer – the Jaguar – has peak performance of around 1.75 teraflops. The hyper computers to be developed in the Exascale Computing Research Center, which will be a part of Intel Labs organization in Europe, will be able to produce over one exaflop of performance, or 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 of floating point operations per second.
The research agenda of the Exascale Computing Research Center will include integrating multi petaFLOPS systems, developing advanced performance optimization techniques, and collaborating with end users to optimize supercomputer performance in areas such as energy, seismology, computational fluid dynamics and health care.
"France has taken a leading role in driving high-performance computing research in Europe. We chose to work with these three organizations because of their world-class software competency in exascale and high- performance computing," said Steve Pawlowski, Intel senior fellow and general manager of Intel architecture group's central architecture and planning.
Intel will support the Exascale Computing Research Center with a multi-million Euro investment over a 3-year period. The French Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique), the Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University (Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines) and the French National High-Performance Computing Agency (Grand Equipement National de Calcul Intensif) will combine to match Intel's contribution. This is Intel's first joint lab in Europe focused exclusively on high-performance computing (HPC). It will complement and extend Intel's existing high-performance computing research programs, investments and initiatives, including the Intel Academic Community Program and European Space Agency's "Mapping the Globe from Space" project.
The advent of exascale is expected to enable supercomputers to solve much more complex problems than today. For example in health care this capability should enable highly sophisticated genome calculations, enabling individualized patient treatment, or simulation of cell interactions to provide new cancer treatments. Another application can be found in seismology where exascale computing could enable more detailed prediction of ground movement at sites with high security requirements or where frequent movement is expected. In climate modeling, more accurate long-term forecasts and much more detailed local weather forecasts could be made.
The Exascale Computing Research Center will combine French research expertise and high-performance computing vision with Intel's leading products, technologies and experience in this area. The lab will employ about a dozen people initially and is expected to eventually grow to about three times that number.