“World-leading supercomputer instrumental in discovery of proof point for Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity by Cardiff University”

London, 29 February 2016

The discovery announced  by an international team of scientists, including Cardiff University's Gravitational Physics Group, of the detection of the first-ever gravitational waves proving Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity was supported by a Bull supercomputer. This world-leading technology is the power behind much scientific research by universities, research institutions and, to a growing extent, by business.


The discovery is being considered as one of the biggest breakthroughs in physics for the last 100 years, as these tiny ripples in space-time are likely to offer a new way of exploring the universe. Gravitational waves interact very weakly with particles and require incredibly sensitive equipment to detect them which is why technological advances have been so important to the process.


Dr. Stephen Fairhurst, Cardiff University, said: “To be able to make breakthrough discoveries of this nature we need the power of the best technology behind us. The supercomputer is designed to enable the most ambitious programmes and gives our scientists and researchers the opportunity to become industry leading. A Bull team of technology experts and Cardiff University's Advanced Research Computing Group (ARCCA) were available to us throughout the project to make sure we were able to get the highest performance possible from the supercomputer so that we could make this once in a generation breakthrough.”


The supercomputer is designed to be able to comb through extensive data that had been gathered by more than 1,000 scientists and researchers involved in the project. The Cardiff University team also used the supercomputer to conduct simulations of black-hole collisions to produce theoretical models, confirming the signals detected by the US-based LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) Project were in fact gravitational waves.


Andy Grant, Senior Vice President for Big Data and Security at Atos, said: “Technology is a huge enabler of science and research and it's incredible for our technology to have played a part in such an important scientific discovery. Having cutting edge innovative solutions like our supercomputers, in terms of compute performance and the ability to process large volumes of data is key to enabling scientific leaps in innovation and discovery.  It is particularly pleasing that researchers from Cardiff University worked extensively with the Bull Centre for Excellence in Parallel Programming to optimise the performance of their applications for the supercomputer.”


Bull specialise in designing, building and operating some of the worlds' largest supercomputers. On-going investment into research and development in this area means that the technology remains at the forefront of the industry. The current focus on the next iteration is on the drive to exascale, and energy efficient supercomputing which Bull will deliver using our recently announced Sequana HPCplatform.

[1] http://www.ligo.org/


About Bull


Bull is the Atos brand for its technology products and software, which are today distributed in over 50 countries worldwide. With a rich heritage of over 80 years of technological innovation, 2000 patents and a 700 strong R&D team supported by the Atos Scientific Community, it offers products and value-added software to assist clients in their digital transformation, specifically in the areas of Big Data and Cybersecurity. Bull is the European leader in HPC and its products include bullx, the energy-efficient supercomputer; bullion, one of the most powerful x86 servers in the world developed to meet the challenges of Big Data;  Evidian, the software security solutions for identity and access management; Trustway, the hardware security module  and Hoox, the ultra-secure smartphone. Bull is part of Atos. For more information: www.bull.com


About Atos

Atos SE (Societas Europaea) is a leader in digital services with pro forma annual revenue of circa € 12 billion and circa 100,000 employees in 72 countries. Serving a global client base, the Group provides Consulting & Systems Integration services, Managed Services & BPO, Cloud operations, Big Data & Cyber-security solutions, as well as transactional services through Worldline, the European leader in the payments and transactional services industry. With its deep technology expertise and industry knowledge, the Group works with clients across different business sectors: Defense, Financial Services, Health, Manufacturing, Media, Utilities, Public sector, Retail, Telecommunications, and Transportation.


Atos is focused on business technology that powers progress and helps organizations to create their firm of the future. The Group is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic & Paralympic Games and is listed on the Euronext Paris market. Atos operates under the brands Atos, Atos Consulting, Atos Worldgrid, Bull, Canopy, Unify and Worldline.




For further press information please speak to:

Jackie McColl

0141 221 0707/ 0771 065 1973 


Julia Correia

0141 221 0707/0789 421 7069 


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