ExxonMobil Sets Record with Cray Supercomputer

ExxonMobil, working with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), has achieved a major breakthrough with proprietary software using more than four times the previous number of processors used on complex oil and gas reservoir simulation models to improve exploration and production results. The breakthrough in parallel simulation used 716,800 processors, the equivalent of harnessing the power of 22,400 computers with 32 processors per computer. ExxonMobil geoscientists and engineers can now make better investment decisions by more efficiently predicting reservoir performance under geological uncertainty to assess a higher volume of alternative development plans in less time. The record run resulted in data output ... [ Read More ]

Why PGS Made the Move from Clusters to Supercomputers

PGS is a marine seismic company that acquires high-resolution seismic data for use in imaging and modeling the earth’s subsurface. When the company launched its Triton survey in the Gulf of Mexico in November 2013, they knew they’d end up with the largest seismic survey they’d ever collected. When they finished acquiring the data in August 2014, they had the most complex imaging challenge they’d ever faced. The high-fold, long-offset, dual-sensor, broadband survey provided full-azimuth data and covered approximately 10,000 square kilometers in a notoriously difficult-to-image area of the Gulf. The result: a 660 terabyte dataset. Triton overcomes deepwater challenges Considered the most revolutionary and technologically advanced ... [ Read More ]

Cray “Blue Waters” Supercomputer Tackles Gerrymandering

Yan Liu and Wendy K. Tam Cho

Redistricting — the process by which congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn — sounds like an unremarkable government chore. And, in theory, it should be. But, too often, it is subject to “gerrymandering,” or manipulation, by the majority political party. Decades ago, University of Illinois political science professor Wendy K. Tam Cho (pictured above) realized that what’s needed is a computational tool that would help the courts objectively measure the fairness of a legislative map. She developed a tool that could generate hundreds of millions of voter district maps that would serve as a “comparison set” — a way to measure the level of partisanship exhibited by any particular electoral map. But any further work ... [ Read More ]

‘Shaheen II’ System Enables World’s First Trillion-Cell Simulation

Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, has set a record for oil and gas reservoir simulations. The achievement was made possible by “Shaheen II,” a Cray® XC40TM system at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. “The ‘trillion cell’ designation refers to how dense and high-resolution the imagery is,” explains Saber Feki, KAUST computational scientist lead, in a KAUST report on the breakthrough. “Think of it this way: We all carry megapixel cameras in our pockets. The Saudi Aramco team just simulated subsurface images with six orders of magnitude higher resolution on our machine. It’s research that will yield much more reliable information for oil exploration and ... [ Read More ]

Machine Learning at Scale for Full Waveform Inversion at PGS

Seismic exploration and imaging in the ultra-deep Gulf of Mexico is incredibly challenging: The hydrocarbon-bearing sedimentary rocks are deep and buried under evaporite salt domes and geological layers that come in complex shapes and feature strong acoustic impedance and velocity contrasts. Proper imaging requires application of advanced velocity model-building techniques to address not only velocity variations, but also seismic velocity anisotropy. Then wave propagation must be performed with numerical schemes that accurately model reflections, refractions and even converted waves. While such features are known (and advanced) textbook examples of wave propagation in complex media, computing them requires massive supercomputer resources ... [ Read More ]