Groupe Bull

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BULL (S.A)Informatique
Type Public
Traded as EuronextBULL
Industry Computer hardware
Computer software
IT Services
Founded 1931
Headquarters Les Clayes-sous-Bois, France
Area served Worldwide

Bull SAS (EuronextBULL) (also known as Groupe Bull, Bull Information Systems, or simply Bull) is a French-owned computer company headquartered in Les Clayes-sous-Bois, in the western suburbs of Paris. The company has also been known at various times as Bull General Electric, Honeywell Bull, CII Honeywell Bull, and Bull HN. Bull was founded in 1931, as H.W. Egli - Bull, to capitalize on the punched card technology patents of Norwegian engineer Fredrik Rosing Bull (1882–1925).[1] After a reorganization in 1933, with new owners coming in, the name was changed to Compagnie des Machines Bull.

The company has undergone many takeovers and mergers since its formation. In particular, it has had various ownership relations with General Electric, Honeywell, and NEC from the 1960s to the 1980s; and with Motorola, Debeka, and France Télécom more recently. It acquired Honeywell Information Systems in the late 1980s, and later also had a share of Zenith Data Systems and Packard Bell. Bull was nationalised in 1982 and was merged with most of the rest of the French computer industry. In 1994, the company was re-privatised.

Bull has a worldwide presence in more than 100 countries, and is particularly active in the defense, finance, health care, manufacturing, public and telecommunication sectors.

Recent major products of the company are the scalable Bull NovaScale family of Itanium 2-based servers for high performance computing and commercial applications and the high-availability Bull Escala family of IBM Power5-architecture servers. Bull also has a Bull DPS-9000 mainframe computer range (catering to long-time customers with Bull computer installations) and a blade server line. All new products are available with a distribution of Linux.

Bull also offers services, including IT consulting (from IT architecture and ‘urbanization’ to project management support), IT integration and IT operations.

Bull launches the first integrally secured European smartphone, the Hoox which will be available in January 2014. It is for professionals and companies at a price of 2,000 euros, the Hoox is "the only highly secured professional with an Android Operating System smartphone in Europe".[2] It has been designed to ensure the confidentiality of communications. Providing far higher levels of security than encryption solutions available on market smartphones, Hoox meets the security requirements needed for highly sensitive data with restricted distribution. With strict control of access to user data, which is stored locally encrypted, Hoox prevents personal data from being used on third-party servers.[3]

The name[edit]

A 1990 Honeywell-Bull DPS 7 mainframe

The company is named after its Norwegian founder, Fredrik Rosing Bull, whose name is pronounced in French as the French word bulle (bubble), but is pronounced in English as the less innocuous English word bull. Overcoming the potential negative connotations of this linguistic coincidence for advertising and marketing campaigns in English has been a continuing challenge for the company.[citation needed]

List of computers produced by Bull[edit]

  • Gamma 3 rekenautomaat (1953)
  • Gamma 60 (1960)
  • CAB500 (1962)
  • Série 300 TI (1962)
  • Gamma 30 (1964) (RCA 301)
  • Gamma M 40 (1965)
  • Gamma 10 (1966)
  • GE 400 (1967)
  • GE 115 (1966)
  • GE 55 (1967)
  • GE-265 (1968)
  • CII Iris 50 (1970)
  • CII Iris 60 (1972)
  • CII Iris 80 (1972)
  • CII Mitra 15 (1972)
  • GE-600 series (1965)
  • Honeywell H200 (1970)
  • HB 2000 (1973)
  • Micral (1973)
  • Mini6 (1978)
  • GE 58 (1970)
  • CII HB 64/40 (1976)
  • CII HB 66/60 (1976)
  • CII HB 61 DPS (1978)
  • Bull DPS4 (1980)
  • Bull DPS7 and DPS 7000 (1981)
  • SM 90 (1981)
  • Correlative Syst. 1982
  • SPS7 and SPS9
  • DPX 2 (1992)
  • Escala (1994)
  • DPS 9000 (1999)
  • NovaScale (2004)
  • DS800 (2007)
  • bullx (2009)[4]
  • Novascale bullion (2010)

Machines at TOP500[edit]

As of June 2012 Bull has 16 machines at the TOP500 supercomputer list[5]

Rank Rmax
Name Computer
Processor cores
Country, Year
9 1359
Curie thin nodes Bull bullx B510 blades
77184 (Sandy bridge), Infiniband
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique
  France, 2012
12 1237
Helios Bull bullx B510 blades
70560 (Sandy bridge), Infiniband
  Japan, 2012
17 1050
Tera 100 Bull bullx super-node S6010/S6030
138368 (Beckton), Infiniband
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique
  France, 2010
45 360
Bull Benchmarks SuperComputer II Bull bullx super-node S6010/S6030
20480 (Sandy bridge), Infiniband
Groupe Bull
  France, 2012
63 274.80
JUROPA Bull HPC-FF Supercomputer
26304 (Xeon), Infiniband
Jülich Research Centre
  Germany, 2009
78 219.8
RWTH Compute Cluster (RCC) Bull bullx B500 blades
25448 (Westmere), Infiniband
  Germany, 2011
97 177.5
Tera 100 hybrid nodes Bull bullx B505 blades
9440 (Westmere), Infiniband
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique
  France, 2011
115 177.5
Airin Bull bullx B510 blades
9440 (Sandy bridge), Infiniband
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique
  France, 2012
144 124.6
Blackthorn Bull bullx B500 cluster
12936 (Westmere)
Atomic Weapons Establishment
  United Kingdom, 2010
168 108.5
Titane Bull Novascale R422-E2
11520 (Xeon)
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique
  France, 2009
244 87.47
Layon Bull bullx super-node S6010/S6030
11520 (Xeon)
Groupe Bull
  France, 2010
245 57.47
Curie fat nodes Bull bullx super-node S6010
11520 (Beckton)
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique
  France, 2010
245 85.9
Cheops Bull bullx Blade/Supernode
9376 (Xeon)
University of Cologne
  Germany, 2010

Amesys: Controversies about this lately acquired affiliate[edit]

On 12 March 2013 Reporters Without Borders named Amesys, a subsidiary of Groupe Bull, as one of five "Corporate Enemies of the Internet" and “digital era mercenaries” for selling products that have been or are being used by governments to violate human rights and freedom of information. Amesys sold its EAGLE spyware to Libya, while Muammar Gaddafi was still in power and where it was used to spy on journalists and human rights activists. The company is now being criminally investigated in France for complicity in torture, following allegations by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).[6][7][8]


  1. ^ "Heide, Lars (2002) ''National Capital in the Emergence of a Challenger to IBM in France''" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  2. ^ "Bull lance le Hoox, un smartphone professionnel sécurisé qui coûte 2000 euros". 
  3. ^ "Bull launches the 1st integrally secured European smartphone". 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  6. ^ "Corporate Enemies: Amesys", The Enemies of the Internet, Special Edition: Surveillance, Reporters Without Borders, 12 March 2013
  7. ^ "Firms Aided Libyan Spies ", Paul Sonne and Margaret Coker, Wall Street Journal, 30 August 2011
  8. ^ "Life Under the Gaze of Gadhafi's Spies ", Margaret Coker and Paul Sonne, Wall Street Journal, 14 December 2011

Further reading[edit]

  • Pierre E. Mounier-Kuhn (1998). "Bull: A World-Wide Company Born in Europe". IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. pp. 279–297. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  • History of Bull Extracted and translated from Science et Vie Micro magazine, No. 74, July–August, 1990: The very international history of a French giant

External links[edit]