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Lucia, the Walloon supercomputer - Companies

Lucia, the Walloon supercomputer – Companies

With computing power comparable to 5,000 laptops and 6,000 game consoles, Lucia will help Walloon companies develop innovative products. It is installed on the A6K site in Charleroi.

The new Walloon supercomputer was officially put into service on Tuesday. It is capable of carrying out four million billion operations per second, serving the research programs of companies, research centers and universities in Wallonia. “High performance computing and numerical simulation have become essential tools for the competitiveness of companies, assures Philippe Geuzaine, Managing Director of Cenaero, the research center which manages this tool. Industrialists are increasingly using this type of supercomputer to carry out R&D activities with a view to bringing innovative products to market.” The computing power makes it possible to limit the use of e…

The new Walloon supercomputer was officially put into service on Tuesday. It is capable of carrying out four million billion operations per second, serving the research programs of companies, research centers and universities in Wallonia. “High performance computing and numerical simulation have become essential tools for the competitiveness of companies, assures Philippe Geuzaine, Managing Director of Cenaero, the research center which manages this tool. Industrialists are increasingly using this type of supercomputer to carry out R&D activities with a view to bringing innovative products to market.” Computing power makes it possible to limit the use of experimentation – and therefore save time and money – for the development of new products. Take the example of the compressors for heat pumps and air conditioners designed by Emerson Climate Technologies in Welkenraedt. “To do this, we need a complex tool that couples fluid mechanics and mechanics so that we can calculate and simulate the real behavior of products, explains Pierre Poysat, Director Advanced Engineering. The use of supercomputers allows us to reduce development time and cost by 30 to 60%, accelerate innovation and arrive with a mature product during prototyping and physical testing. Wallonia has had one, called Zénobe, since 2013. This has helped the research of both large companies such as Safran and Sonaca (to reduce the materials needed to build certain parts of an aircraft by 10%) and start-ups such as Matgenix, a UCLouvain spin-off specializing in materials. The tool has also been used by IPCC researchers to study the melting of the ice cap or by Tractebel engineers to treat microcracks in the Doel and Tihange nuclear power plants. As technologies evolve, it was time to invest in a new machine. The Walloon government has released 10 million euros to replace Zénobe with Lucia – a reference to the chemist Lucia de Brouckère, the first woman to teach in a Faculty of Sciences in Belgium -, who displays a computing power twelve times greater than her predecessor . “It is fundamental to increase our competitiveness through innovation and the Lucia supercomputer is an additional asset in this area”, summarizes the Minister of Economy Willy Borsus (MR). tool, continues Philippe Geuzaine. A major shift has been taken with everything that revolves around artificial intelligence. You really need significant computing resources to develop in this area.” The supercomputer will also be valuable for the development of projects in the Internet of Things, cybersecurity but also health, agri-food, energy, telecoms or the environment. Lucia will also make it possible to make the link between, on the one hand, the computers of companies and universities, and on the other hand the most powerful computers on the planet, including that of the European consortium EuroHPC hosted in Finland and to which the Belgium and Wallonia. If Zénobe was installed on land at the aeropole of Gosselies, Lucia is located at the heart of A6K, an innovation center around engineering sciences close to Charleroi station. The idea is to facilitate its use by all businesses in Wallonia. These represent 15% of the approximately 300 Zenobe users.

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