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Information and communication technologies: The CEA is the leading beneficiary of the H2020 programme

​The French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is the leading European beneficiary of the Horizon 2020 (H2020) framework research and innovation programme in the field of "Information and Communication Technologies" (ICT). From its 2017 application proposals, the European Commission has selected 11 projects involving the participation of the CEA. This excellent result confirms the leading position of the CEA in this research sector in Europe.

Published on 14 September 2017

The 2017 application proposals for the H2020 programme in the field of ICT[1] identify 11 research and innovation projects involving the CEA. The latter has secured European subsidies to a total of nearly 10.5 million euros. This makes the CEA the leading European beneficiary in 2017.

Among the 11 projects selected for the CEA, four are to receive subsidies in excess of one million euros. These projects bear witness to the diversity of leading edge research conducted by the CEA:

The Cobalt supercomputer at the CCRT (Centre for computing research and technology), commissioned in the spring of 2016, with a performance of the order of 1.5 petaflops. © CEA/DAM

  • The MONT-BLANC 2020 project conducted by the LETI and LIST institutes at the CEA, with EU support to the value of 10.13 million euros, 2.05 million euros (or 20.2%) of which are allotted to the CEA, is intended to pave the way for the development of a European processor for the exascale computers of the future, which will be capable of executing one billion billion calculations per second (1018 FLOPS). There are many technical challenges to be met: performance of core processors and computing accelerators, optimization of data exchanges, management of energy consumption, safety and reliability. The project will define a system-on-chip architecture, based upon ARM core processors and incorporating innovative modules for the fulfilment of these issues, and will involve the prototyping of key components.
  • The 3D-Muse project, also conducted by the CEA-LETI and subsidized to the value of 3.85 million euros, 1.6 million (or 41.8%) of which are allotted to the CEA, is researching the 3D-integration of CMOS transistors with dense interconnections for applications in intelligent sensors which are simultaneously ultra-miniaturized and operate with very low energy consumption. This project will permit the exploitation of a 3D sequential technology, described as "Coolcube", developed by the CEA for More-than-More operation[2], and incorporating CMOS transistors on highly-specialized multiple levels, executed using widely varying technological processes in each stage.

  • The 3eFERRO project, with a total budget of 3.99 million euros, 1.46 million euros (or 36.6% of which) is allocated to the CEA, conducted by the Condensed State Physics Department of the Fundamental Research Division - UMR CNRS/CEA, involves the conduct of research into thin layers of ferroelectric materials with a HfO2 and HfZrO2[3] base, and their electrical properties. The project has a two-fold objective: the production of ferroelectric memories for the storage of information, and ferroelectric transistors for logic circuits, both of which are fully-compatible with CMOS technology. This type of memory will specifically be capable of replacing flash memories in devices of the microcontroller (MCU) type, for the web interfacing of everyday devices. One aim is to place European operators in the microelectronics industry in pole position for the development of simple memories with a high storage density, high read/write speeds and low costs.
  • The COVR project conducted by the CEA-List institute, which has obtained 1.17 million euros (or 10.95%) from a total grant of 10.71 million euros, is intended to establish protocols which will ensure that collaborative robotic systems, involving a high degree of interaction between humans and robots, are fully compliant with European regulations, in terms of safety and security.
Example of structured designs in CEA clean rooms. © PF.Grosjean/CEA

The H2020 programme for ICT

The Information and Communication Technologies programme is intended to support European industry throughout the value chain of these technologies (new-generation components and systems, new-generation computing, the Internet of the future, content and information management technologies, advanced interfaces and robotics, key emerging technologies (KET) associated with micro- and nanoelectronics and photonics).
[1] Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the EU framework programme for the funding of research and innovation over the period from 2014 to 2020. This programme is the successor to the 7th FRDP, with an enlarged scope.
[2] Rather than the constant quest for the miniaturization of electronic chips (the physical limits of which are expected to be reached in the near future), the More than More approach starts from the requirements of the application concerned, then identifies technical solutions for their fulfilment (for example: a change of materials, circuit architecture, design method, etc.)
[3] HfO2 (hafnium oxide); HfZrO2 (hafnium/zirconium oxide)

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