Centrale Nantes Supercomputer, one of the most powerful in France

The supercomputer, which was installed at Centrale Nantes at the end of 2015 as part of the Connect Talent project in the Pays de la Loire region, is one of the most powerful in its category in France (Tier-2). Giving access to unprecedented levels of precision, this state-of-the-art equipment is a real game changer which will release new potential for innovation.

Intensive numerical calculation is an indispensable tool for both research and industry: it reduces the cost of testing, facilitates optimization and promotes creativity and the search for new solutions. The means of calculation are also an indicator of the research and development of a region, or a nation.

A 24-hour calculation on a conventional PC takes only a few minutes on a supercomputer.

High Performance Computing (HPC) consists of using software for acquisition, modeling or analysis on supercomputers of several thousand processors capable of executing several billion operations per second to model complex phenomena, process or characterise large volumes of data. It is also a set of servers designed to run long-term processes to massively and intensively calculate programs. These supercomputers can be seen as a large number of machines (computing servers) linked together by very high-speed networks.
Centrale Nantes is the only higher education establishment in France to have such a powerful supercomputer which is open to different users.

Students at the school benefit from this state-of-the-art equipment, in particular those following the specialisation in High Performance Computing in Engineering Science. Any other teaching requiring computing resources (e.g. Mechanical Engineering for Materials and Manufacturing Processes or Virtual Reality) is also involved.

Access to part of this supercomputer is also open to industrialists and publicly funded research projects (subject to a charge), as well as to certain projects selected by a technical and scientific committee (free of charge).

"It is a high performance computing machine with 6,000 cores, a powerful visualization environment and a capacity that will double within three or four years. The simulation software installed on this computer will improve the performance of on- and offshore wind farms, allow the study of pollution dispersion in cities, of composite material behaviour, of engines and turbines, and enable the simulation and processing of massive geographic data."

Thierry Coupez, international HPC expert and the director of the High Performance Computing Institute.


Technical details

Known as LIGER (“Loire” in Latin) because part-financed by the "Connect Talent" programme of the Pays de la Loire region.
Built by BULL / Atos.
Hosted and administered by the High Performance Computing Institute.
Parallel scalar supercalculator with a total peak power (Rpeak) of the order of 280 Tflop/s (200 Tflop/s as per LINPACK)
266 dual x86 nodes (Intel Xeon with 12 cores at 2.5GHz) of 6384 cores
Cumulative system memory of over 32TB, including 252 so-called "thin nodes" with 128GB of RAM (5.33GB/core)
Bullx DLC Direct Liquid Cooling technology for optimal energy efficiency.

NB there is a global ranking of the 500 most powerful computers, the TOP500 (top500.org). The most powerful machine is Chinese, the SUNWAY TAIHULIGHT in Wuxi, with more than 10,000,000 cores. At 6384 cores, LIGER does not feature in the top 500. With the upcoming extension to more than 11,000 cores, a positioning between the 300th and 400th places is anticipated for the June 2017 ranking. The most powerful French supercomputers are at Total, CEA or Météo France and are reserved for internal use.
Published on June 29, 2017 Updated on June 29, 2017