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CEA Very Large Computing Centre

A world class infrastructure for scientific computing

High Performance Computing (HPC) has become a key technology for research, industry and services. A third pillar of science beside theory and experimentation, numerical simulation through HPC enables major scientific advances as well as the design of products and services in a more environment friendly way and with enhanced compliance constantly changing requirements and constraints.

Outstanding infrastructures are needed for hosting and exploiting the high-end supercomputers used for the most complex simulations. In this context, CEA identified in 2006 the necessity to build the “Très Grand Centre de calcul du CEA” (TGCC) in order to make France able to host and exploit world-class supercomputers. 

Today, TGCC hosts :

The new supercomputer of CCRT (Centre de Calcul Recherche et Technologie): Airain, used by CEA and its industrial partners, has a peak performance of 200 Teraflops. read more

The CURIE supercomputer. With a peak performance of 2 Petaflop/s this supercomputer, funded by GENCI, is the French contribution to the PRACE European infrastructure.

TGCC, with exceptional technical features and capacity, is not only a leading edge HPC centre infrastructure but also a place of choice for scientific exchanges and for the promotion of HPC. It encompasses floor space and accommodation for the organization of conferences, workshops and training sessions in HPC.

TGCC site: TERATEC technopole

The TERATEC technopole is located in Bruyères-le-Châtel, near Arpajon (37 km south of Paris, 29 km from the Orly airport and 20 km from the Saclay area), close to the CEA DAM-Ile de France center and inside the R&D area of the “world class” French Cluster of Competitiveness Systematic Paris-Région.

This technopole, set to becoming a world class center of excellent in HPC, encompasses TGCC and TERATEC Campus.  This campus, the outcome of a TERATEC association initiative, is a structure meant to host HPC technology and service suppliers, platforms for SMEs, training activities and research laboratories. A unique concentration of high-end computing skills and activities all along the HPC supply and value chain, the technopole fosters collaborations between all kinds of HPC stakeholders.

Outstanding features

TGCC building and the associated infrastructure equipment (power supply, cooling...)
were designed in a flexible and modular way, foreseeing evolutions for future generation of supercomputers. Moreover, the design targets high energy efficiency, taking direct benefit from the experience of CEA teams with the defense supercomputer (Tera-100).

Funded by CEA, GENCI and the Conseil Général de l’Essonne (in the framework of the 2007-2013 State-Region plan), the main features of TGCC are the following:

  • Computer rooms floor space of 2600 m2, designed to be cooled by air and/or water, complemented by a floor space of close to 4000 m2 for infrastructure equipment.
  • Infrastructure equipment sized for IT equipment up to 7.5 MW, easily upgradeable for higher values. Electrical feed by very high voltage line (225 kV).
  • Very high speed network connection (10 Gbit/s) with a node of the French academic network (Renater) hosted in the TGCC.
  • Conference room with 200 seats, multipurpose space and meeting rooms for scientific events.

With such features, TGCC, among the most efficient infrastructure in the world, is ready to host the future generations of supercomputers in Europe.

CEA contributes to the development of such infrastructures and to the dissemination of best practices by organizing the reference annual conference in this domain: « European Workshop on HPC Centre Infrastructure ».with other leading HPC centres in Europe, LRZ (Garching, Germany) and CSCS (Lugano, Switzerland),

TGCC supercomputers

Inaugurated on October 25, 2010 by the French Minister of Higher Education and Research, Valérie Pécresse, TGCC is currently operating two supercomputers: CURIE and AIRAIN.

  • AIRAIN supercomputer (for the CCRT partners, including CEA and industrial partners): installed in early 2012, this new CCRT supercomputer has a performance of 200 Teraflop/s.

  • CURIE supercomputer(for PRACE and national usage): the first phase of installation was completed in the end of 2011 and the system was opened to French and European scientists in early 2011. By the end of 2011, the system was fully installed and operational. With a peak performance of 2 Petaflop/s, Curie supercomputer is the most powerful system in Europe (Spring 2012).

Early results

The conclusions of the first months of exploitation of TGCC are excellent. Due to the optimization of the infrastructure equipment, of the IT equipment and to the careful design of their coupling, the target energy efficiency is met. The adequate level of redundancy, decided in accordance with the quality of the power feed of the site, using a mix of ultra capacitors, high efficiency UPS and diesel generators, contribute to this optimization.  In addition, heat recovery is used for heating the offices of the TGCC building and a deployment at larger scale of this free heating solution is planned in the next years.



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