Fusion supercomputer inaugurated in Japan

21 March 2012

French, Japanese and European organizations have inaugurated a new supercomputer that will be used for modeling and simulation to support the ITER fusion initiative.

Helios is one of the world’s most powerful super computers, with a peak performance of over 1.5 Petaflops. Information technology company Bull designed and delivered the system, which is part of a new data center being built at Rokkasho in Japan, under the auspices of the International Fusion Energy Research Center (IFERC).

The new data centre is part of the ‘Broader Approach’ research programme, which was launched in 2006 by Japan and Europe to complement ITER. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) is responsible for the Japanese contribution to the project, while Fusion For Energy (F4E) is responsible for the European contribution.

The Helios supercomputer will be used by research teams to model many fundamental questions posed by nuclear fusion including: the behaviour of plasma; ultra-high temperature ionized gas in intensive magnetic fields; the design of materials that will be subject to extremes fluctuations in temperature and particles.

Helios, which will operate around the clock, will be available to the European and Japanese researchers involved in the project for a five-year period. Bull will be responsible for maintenance and operation of the system for a five-year period.

Philippe Vannier, Bull's Chairman and CEO, commented: "I am extremely proud that Bull is involved in this very large-scale project aimed at perfecting the use of this sustainable and environmentally-friendly energy source.”

“Our teams have successfully demonstrated their technological and logistical prowess in installing this Petascale supercomputer in under six months, in an area affected by the tsunami a year ago."

Representatives the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Fusion For Energy (F4E), the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and Bull inaugurated the Helios supercomputer on 19 March.

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