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Inria-Urbana champaign


A productive partnership based on high performance computing

Frank Cappello Frank Cappello - © Inria Photo Jim Wallace

As the fifth workshop of the Inria-Urbana-Champaign joint lab (Joint Laboratory on Petascale Computing-JLPC) came to an end in Grenoble, Franck Cappello, its co-director, took stock of the activities of this institution dedicated to high-performance computing. Two years after its creation, it was now time to review its most emblematic results and to present its current research on climate and the international G8 Exascale project, with which the joint laboratory is associated.

To decide upon the best publications resulting from research conducted at the JLPC, Franck Cappello relies on the selections made by Supercomputing .  This major conference dedicated to intensive supercomputing has chosen "4 publications among 352 papers submitted. One of these articles concerns a fault tolerance system which presents the first large-scale simulation results of the earthquake of March 11, 2011, in Japan."

On the subject of software development, Franck Cappello note "the success of a Masters internship which resulted in an ACM award (student competition)." The research of Matthieu Dorier , the student in question, focuses on a tornado simulation application. This example underscore the quality of the training provided in an environment that brings together all research stakeholders on the same campus. Franck Cappello also attributed these positive results to the participation of expert teams on both sides of the Atlantic, and the presence of a permanent Inria researcher at Urbana. "This allows us to detect potential opportunities for collaboration, to facilitate our discussions and to resolve potential deadlocks much more quickly."

These positive results are due to the participation of expert teams on both sides of the Atlantic.

These various factors have contributed to the renown of the joint laboratory beyond France and the United States. Among more than 80 projects submitted in response to the G8 Exascale call for proposals, one of the six selected projects on climate simulation using high-performance computing was from the joint laboratory. The Exascale supercomputer "will accurately answer questions such as: what changes should we expect as regards sea levels and ocean currents? (...) Some applications are already running with a 10 kilometers grid resolution. For Exascale, our aim is a 1 kilometers grid. This entails a very large increase of the grid and a need to multiply our computing power by a factor of 1000."

Franck Cappello notes that the United States was several steps ahead in this area. So, he considers it desirable for Europe at present "to successfully join forces with American partners, trying to achieve a good balance and benefits for both sides."

Keywords: Urbana Champain G8 Exascale Climate Tornado Seism JLPC Supercomputing HPC