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Posted: Apr 14, 2011
Supercomputer to perform one quadrillion mathematical operations per second in order to crack plasma physics
(Nanowerk News) The contract for the supply of a high performance supercomputer centre that will perform complex plasma physics calculations has been signed between the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA) and Bull. The supercomputer is an important milestone of Europe's contribution to the Broader Approach (BA), an Agreement signed between Europe and Japan to complement the ITER project through various R&D activities which are developed in the field of nuclear fusion. The European participation to the BA is coordinated by Fusion for Energy (F4E), the EU organisation managing Europe's contribution to ITER. This specific activity is provided by France as a part of its voluntary contribution to the BA.
The supercomputer will be located in Rokkasho, Japan, and will be available to a scientific community of more than 1,000 European and Japanese fusion researchers for the next five years starting from January 2012. With a computational power above 1 Petaflop, the supercomputer will be ranked among the most powerful systems in the world and at least 10 times more powerful than any existing system dedicated to simulations in the field of fusion in Europe and Japan. The supercomputer, with a memory exceeding 280 TB and high speed storage system exceeding 5 PB, will be complemented by a medium term storage system and a pre/post-processing and visualization system.
The operation of the supercomputer will begin with a few high-visibility code runs, otherwise known as "light-house projects" because of the light they are expected to shed with their findings, to test drive the capacities of the supercomputer and achieve maximum performance. During the rest of its exploitation period, European and Japanese researchers will be invited to submit proposals which will be selected according to their importance for the development of ITER and fusion research. The volume of findings stemming from this activity will feed into the plasma codes in preparation for ITER and into the design of the future DEMO reactor.