Technology transfer policy
GENCI, Inria and OSEO join forces to support SMEs in first-time access to high-performance computing
The "HPC-SME Initiative" is the name of the programme jointly launched by GENCI, Inria and OSEO in partnership with four global competitiveness clusters to facilitate and encourage access by SMEs to high-performance computing (HPC). Put together in compliance with the recommendations of the Digital France 2012 plan, this programme aims to support and increase the competitiveness of SMEs whose industrial innovation projects are liable to benefit from the use of high-performance computing. The core element of the initiative is long-term assistance provided with the aim of guaranteeing the effective integration of the growth capabilities afforded by HPC.
Making high-performance computing accessible to SMEs to support and increase their competitiveness
By assisting them throughout their initial experiences with high-performance computing, the programme will help SMEs, from a technical, commercial and financial viewpoint, to assemble an industrial innovation project. From optimising the performance of their technologies to preparing tomorrow's innovations, the goal is to help SMEs gauge the business advantage of HPC in terms of their growth model.
The "HPC-SME Initiative" draws on the complementary nature of each partner's skills, namely: GENCI for assisted access to high-performance computing resources; Inria for its scientific and technological expertise; and OSEO for its comprehensive command of tools to support and finance innovation.
The offering comprises four facets that span all of these skills: training, assessment, access to equipment and integration into innovation financing structures.
It will be managed in partnership with four global competitiveness clusters, each with a strong regional foothold in the academic and industrial landscape: Aerospace Valley (aeronautics, onboard systems), Axelera (chemicals and environment), Minalogic (intelligent miniaturised solutions for industry) and System@tic (complex systems).
Arrangements have been made with each partner to present the HPC-SME Initiative to regional players likely to be interested in this approach, beginning in September 2010.
An initial assessment will be carried out in the spring of 2011.
High-performance computing: providing genuine growth potential
An essential tool in scientific, technological and industrial research, high-performance computing is delivered by supercomputers capable of executing several billions of operations per second to model extremely complex phenomena and rapidly process or qualify very large volumes of data. In just a few minutes, a supercomputer can perform a calculation that would take 24 hours on a normal PC.
This time saving and enhanced reliability allows organisations to cut costs at each stage in the lifecycle of a product or process (design, optimisation, validation) and is potentially beneficial to a number of sectors vitally important in terms of the economy or society in general: aeronautics and space, transport, energy, chemicals, medicine and biology, materials, environment, multimedia, finance, etc.
In these areas, the use of high-performance computing allows major technological breakthroughs. This is the case for example when evaluating a material's resistance, modelling aerodynamic flows and electromagnetic or acoustic phenomena, analysing the structure and properties of chemical or biological components, optimising the processing of financial and multimedia data, or supporting medical diagnostics.
The French National Supercomputing Facility, is a non-trading company that is 49% owned by the state (represented by the Ministry of Research and Higher Learning), 20% by the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), 20% by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), 10% by universities and 1% by Inria.
Born out of the political will to place France at the European and international forefront of supercomputing, and benefiting from the combined efforts of the leading players in academic research and the support of the authorities, GENCI has been striving to achieve three key missions since its creation in 2007:
- Implement and coordinate key equipment at the French civilian research centres that it finances and owns.
- Promote the organisation of a European supercomputing space and participate in its achievements. In this field, GENCI represents France in the permanent research infrastructure PRACE.
- Promote simulation and supercomputing among players in fundamental and industrial research.
A public science and technology institution under the supervision of the ministries for Research and Industry. Annual budget (2009): €217 million, 21% of which from its own resources.
Regional research centres: Paris - Rocquencourt, Sophia Antipolis – Méditerranée, Grenoble – Rhône-Alpes, Nancy – Grand Est, Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique, Bordeaux – Sud Ouest, Lille – Nord Europe, Saclay – Île-de-France. 3,150 researchers, including over 1,000 doctoral students, working in more than 170 project-teams, most of which are jointly run with other organisations, higher education institutes and universities. 80 associate teams around the world. Around 100 companies created since 1984.
A public company, OSEO gives entrepreneurs the resources to expand by financing their innovation, investment and international projects.
Present nationwide, OSEO provides the necessary consulting and financing at all stages of their lifecycle.
OSEO works in close collaboration with a network of European, national and regional partners to make the riskiest of innovative projects a reality.