Chapter 4
Industrial Applications
on Supercomputing
in France
Catherine Rivière and Stéphane Requena
In France, industry began to signicantly use HPC in the early 1980s. Back
then, the usage was mainly driven by big industrial companies: oil and gas
companies such as TOTAL, Elf Aquitaine, and CGG were using vector
machines for improving seismic processing, energy companies like EDF
4.1 History 47
4.2 Current HPC Service Provider Landscape 48
4.2.1 HPC Service Providers from Industry 48
4.2.2 HPC Service Providers from Public Research 49 At the National Level 49 At the Regional and European Level 51
4.3 French HPC Ecosystem 52
4.4 French HPC Industry 53
4.5 Industrial HPC Applications Landscape 55
4.6 Case Studies and Business Cases 58
4.7 Stimulation Plans for Adoption of HPC by the French
Industry and SME 59
4.8 Extension to Big Data 61
4.9 Conclusion 62
References 62
48 Industrial Applications of High-Performance Computing
used HPC to model the uid dynamics involved inside nuclear reactors,
and car companies such as Renault and PSA were using it to perform CFD
and crash test simulations. Similar adoption happened on the independent
soware vendors’ side. It was the French group ESI that realized, in 1985,
the rst numerical crash test simulation ever done, for a consortium led by
Volkswagen, and it was Dassault Systèmes, created in 1981, that pioneered
computer aided design (CAD) with the tool that became a worldwide
leader in this market: CATIA (originally named CATI).
In the 1990s, the use of HPC by industry began to conquer new domains,
most notably aeronautics with Airbus and Dassault Aviation and nance
with BNP Paribas and Société Générale.
Nowadays, although the historical domains mentioned rmly remain
heavy users of HPC, the usage has spread across various industrial elds,
and an increased number of industries are jumping on the bandwagon.
Electronics, telecommunications, health, cosmetics, multimedia, and
environmental companies, to name a few, are beginning to routinely rely
on HPC to increase their productivity and cut costs. Aeronautics and
car manufacturers use increasingly complex virtual prototypes to save
millions of euros in physical prototypes, whereas at the other end of the
spectrum, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are seizing the
opportunity by applying HPC to specic innovative applications like
marine hydrodynamics for renewable energies.
e democratization of the use of HPC in industry is on good track in
France, especially for big companies. However, there is still a lot to do with
regard to expanding its use especially in the whole supply chain of those big
companies that are now outsourcing the development of their products. As
the same constraints, methodologies and tools are propagated to the full
supply chain, the global competitiveness could be increased by fostering
the use of advanced numerical simulation in all stages including SMEs.
e French HPC service provider landscape is very rich. It goes from
providers from industry to providers from academia whose mission
includes the objective to democratize the use of numerical simulation and
HPC in industry.
4.2.1 HPC Service Providers from Industry
e development of HPC service oered to industrial companies is linked
with the surge of interest in “cloud” applications. Companies, especially

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