GENCI to Collaborate with IBM in Race to Exascale

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

worldToday GENCI announced a collaboration with IBM aimed at speeding up the path to exascale computing. Created in 2007 by the French government, GENCI has a mission to establish France among the leading countries on the international stage of HPC.

openpowerThe collaboration, planned to run for at least 18 months, focuses on readying complex scientific applications for systems under development expected to achieve more than 100 petaflops, a solid step forward on the path to exascale. Working closely with supercomputing experts from IBM, GENCI will have access to some of the most advanced high performance computing technologies stemming from the rapidly expanding OpenPOWER ecosystem. Supported by more than 140 OpenPOWER Foundation members and thousands of developers worldwide, the OpenPOWER ecosystem includes a wide variety of computing solutions that use IBM’s licensable and open POWER processor technology.

As part of the collaboration, GENCI will closely examine the impact and requirements of POWER’s open architecture on scientific applications, intending to foster a deeper understanding of application requirements as the computing industry advances towards exascale computing with an increased interest in accelerator technologies.

The collaboration will attempt to take full advantage of the impact of OpenPOWER-based innovations such as the connection of NVIDIA GPUs accelerators to POWER processors through the high-speed NVIDIA NVLink interconnect, as well as how Mellanox EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand switches can exploit IBM’s Coherent Application Processor Interface (CAPI) to dramatically improve solution performance. Additionally, experts from GENCI and French research organizations together with IBM plan to work on understanding the evolution of programming models, considering MPI and OpenMP as a first step for shared memory multiprocessing programming. Alternative application program interfaces will also be considered, given potential changes may be required as systems move closer toward exascale.

If we want to continue to address the challenges of the French scientists and engineers, we need to anticipate the rise of new high performance computing architectures that bring us closer to exascale and prepare our communities,” stated Catherine Riviere, CEO of GENCI.

genciIBM will provide dedicated technical experts to support application porting and optimization efforts as well as organizing along with GENCI education and porting sessions. This collaboration will be supported by the newly created POWER Acceleration and Design Center in Montpellier as part of the partnership established with both NVIDIA and Mellanox. The Center will provide technical expertise around scientific applications, programming models and systems, as well as early access to forthcoming 2016 platforms and the latest innovative technologies (NVIDIA NVLink, IBM CAPI), the IBM high performance computing software stack and the NVIDIA Tesla Accelerated Computing Platform.

The work we are doing with GENCI — bringing together some of the best minds in science and information technology – 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,” said Michel Teyssedre, CTO of IBM France. “We fully expect our collaborative efforts will produce innovations capable of moving the supercomputing industry that much closer to exascale.”

Sign up for our insideHPC Newsletter.


  1. Léon-Robert says

    Good choice of IBM: to partner with GENCI, one of the most influent public organizations in France and Europe. And transform GENCI, that was previously hostile to IBM, into a “Trojan Horse” in order to penetrate the large accounts in France and Europe. It will jeopardize the local R&D and open new ways to IBM. But the strategy of GENCI is unclear. Why play this role? Why break with its commitment and betray its own Region?