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Getting up to Speed the Future of Supercomputing
centers, the French center is partly open and supports a collaboration with French industrial partners and other agencies (power, EDF; space, ONERA; engines, SNECMA; and turbines, TURBOMECA). France’s next two largest systems are industrial and commercial (petroleum, Total-Fina ELF; and banking, Société Générale). France has two academic supercomputing centers: CINES (55 people, yearly budget of about €10 million) and IDRIS (44 people, yearly budget of about €1 million).
Spain recently announced its plan to build a 40-Tflops cluster system in Barcelona using IBM Power G5 technology. The Spanish government will invest €70 million in the National Centre for Supercomputing over 4 years. This will significantly enhance the compute power available in that country.
Generally, the type of research performed in these various centers is similar to the research performed in the United States; similar software is being used, and there is significant sharing of technology. However, both in Japan and in Europe there seem to be more targeted efforts to develop high-performance application software to support industry. Japan’s Frontier Simulation Software Project for Industrial Science is a 5-year program to develop parallel software in support of industrial applications, funded at about $11 million per year. The expectation is that the program, once primed, will be able to support itself from revenues produced by commercial software use. In joint university/industry projects, it is anticipated that university-developed software will be available through open source licensing, although industry-developed software will probably be proprietary. Various European countries, in particular France, have significant programs with industrial participation for the development of engineering codes. For example, the French SALOME project aims at the development of a large open source framework for CAD and numeric simulation; currently available code is distributed and maintained by the French Open Cascade company. EDF, EADS (aerospace) and other French companies are partners in the project. DARPA invested in similar projects as part of the SCI program, but that support seems to have disappeared. Furthermore, from the committee’s visits to DOE sites, members got the clear impression that there are no incentives for the transfer of codes developed at those sites to industrial use and no significant funding to facilitate the transfer.