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The French Atomic Energy Authority (Commissariat àl'Énergie Atomique or CEA) started to investigate electronic computing in 1952 and in 1956 created a specialized team, trained in England. It bought its first digital computers in 1957. From then on it continually acquired the most powerful computing equipment available (IBM Stretch, IBM 360/91, CDC 7600) to meet the needs of both civilian and military nuclear research. For many years, the CEA was IBM's largest customer outside the United States. In 1972 the Computer Division of the "Civilian CEA" was subsidiarized into a leading European software company, the CISI.