EXPLOR is a mid-size computing center which provides the Lorraine calculation community with a scientific environment and high-performance computing techniques (HPC): modelling, digital simulation and data analysis. It plays an essential role in structuring intensive calculation resources and strengthening R&D competitiveness in Lorraine (small- and medium-sized businesses, corporations, University).
It is made up of:
The benefits of this project, among others, are an increase in the competitiveness of Lorraine's companies through the use of digital simulation for R&D, enhanced visibility for the Lorraine Region in the field of intensive calculation and "big data" analysis, structured digital services in the fields of modelling and simulation which help create links between scientific, technical and industrial partners and economies of scale through rationalization of resources and implementing eco-responsible I.T.
The project was presented in the frameworks of both the Pacte Lorraine (financing for a hosting room and primary calculation hardware/software) and the CPER 2015-2020 (data storage and analysis, immersion room, etc.) in collaboration with the CPER's scientific programmes requiring calculation resources for their research.
EXPLOR is the priority transversal project for the Université de Lorraine and the region's public scientific and technical establishments (CNRS, INRIA, etc.). It is currently supported by 8 out of the University's 10 Scientific Hubs.
The first grouped purchase between different laboratories involved a machine providing access to the project partners' existing clusters.
B. Dussoubs, head of the ERMIONE Skills Center, is the project's co-leader.
The aim is to set up a 3D visualization demonstration platform for teaching and scientific work (ModVis project) where students and researchers are put into an artificial 3D environment created and modified by computers. They have to be able to move around in and interact with this environment.
Several of the Université de Lorraine's laboratories including the IJL are leaders in these fields which enable the study, understanding and prediction of the state or dynamic evolution of systems in 3 dimensions. However results obtained using three-dimensional codes are often visualized in two dimensions because it is difficulty to "see" them in 3D on paper or on-screen. To study results in the most detail possible, "immersion" is now required so that researchers can observe the core of a domain, focus accurately on its zones, find the values of certain parameters, zoom, modify elements in real time and see the effects of such modifications. The data generated may amount to several terabytes and can thus be first visualized then analyzed in greater detail using physical models.
In many teaching fields (transfer and transformation phenomena in industrial processes or geological objects, materials and product design, risk sciences, finance, transport, decision-making and production systems, languages, etc.), the only way of apprehending reality is by situating oneself actually inside the systems being studied. There too, immersion is essential to "visit" a danger zone, be immerged into a foreign language environment, check how a part whose design has been modified fits into a machine or learn how to use a tool or vehicle.
An immersion room demonstrator has been installed at the Ecole des Mines as part of a strong collaboration project with the IJL. The room was opened during the 2014 Fête de la Science and attracted over 100 people in 2 half-days. The next objectives involve exploiting the IJL's simulation results, Tube plans etc.
B. Dussoubs, head of the ERMIONE Skills Center, is the project leader.