Paris, France – IBM (NYSE: IBM) formally announced on Friday its collaboration with french agency GENCI. The union aims to prepare scientific codes that could speed up the path to exascale computing, which is the ability of a computing system to perform at least one exaflop, or a billion billion calculations, in one second.

Currently, the fastest systems in the world perform between 10 to 33 petaflops, meaning 10 to 33 million billion calculations per second. “Put into context, if exascale computing is the equivalent of an automobile reaching 1000 miles per hour, today’s fastest systems are running within a range between ten and 33 miles per hour,” explained IBM in the statement.

Picture of the GENCI's CURIE supercomputer, installed and operated by CEA at its Très Grand Centre de Calcul (TGCC) in Bruyères-le-Châtel, near Paris.
Picture of the GENCI’s CURIE supercomputer, installed and operated by CEA at its Très Grand Centre de Calcul (TGCC) in Bruyères-le-Châtel, near Paris.

Regarding to the deal, the collaboration will take place for at least 18 months, and will focus on readying complex scientific applications for systems under development expected to achieve more than 100 petaflops, which will represent a solid step forward on the path to exascale.

The Grand Équipement National de Calcul Intensif (GENCI) is a “société civile” owned for 49% by the French State, represented by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research; 20% by Commissariat à l’énergie atomique; 20% by French National Centre for Scientific Research; 10% by the Universities and 1% by National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control. Its goal is to apply and ensure the coordination of the major equipments of the French high-performance computing centres, by providing funding and assuming ownership.

For this, GENCI will have access to some of the most advanced high performance computing technologies from the rapidly expanding OpenPower ecosystem, which includes a wide range of computing solutions that use IBM’s licensable and open POWER processor technology. OpenPower is supported by more than 140 OpenPower Foundation members and thousand of developers worldwide.

As for GENCI, its primary objective will be to closely examine the impact and requirements of POWER’s open architecture on scientific applications, aiming to foment a deeper understanding of application requirements as the computing industry advances towards exascale computing with a rising interest in accelerator technologies.

The collaboration between IBM and GENCI might as well benefit OpenPOWER, but is mainly focused on advancing efforts to get to exascale.

“The work we are doing with GENCI is a collaborative effort on a grand scale involving not just GENCI and IBM, but thousands of developers contributing to the rapidly expanding OpenPOWER ecosystem worldwide. We fully expect our collaborative efforts will produce innovations capable of moving the supercomputing industry that much closer to exascale,” said Michel Teyssedre, IBM’s CTO in France.

Source: IBM