Innovative HPC Models Give Oil and Gas Companies an Edge


As worldwide demand for energy continues to rise, the oil industry is working to satisfy demand for the hydrocarbon part of that equation. High performance computing is becoming critical to companies that are seeking new sources of hydrocarbons and trying to maximize existing reserves.

At Cray, we’ve been working hard to stay ahead of oil and gas companies’ needs, and our efforts over the past few years have made our solutions an excellent match for them.

Understanding the HPC problems facing oil and gas organizations

Traditionally, efforts to improve seismic processing throughput have come from a match between the availability of newer CPUs featuring faster clock speeds, and new algorithms designed to take advantage of these faster processors and larger storage capacities. But current survey and seismic simulation techniques involve incredibly large datasets and complex algorithms that face limits when run on commodity clusters. These complex computing requirements mean that you can’t just throw processing power at your problems. Systems that meet the performance requirements of the world’s largest and most complex scientific and research problems must be built from the ground up.

Considering the Cray advantage

At Cray, we have decades of experience leading the supercomputing sector, and we noticed the importance of data-intensive analysis processes years ago. As such, we’ve been developing solutions that are not built around traditional operating models and instead use innovative techniques to maximize operational efficiency.

Specifically, our HPC systems go beyond adding raw power to operations and instead focus on moving data between supercomputing nodes efficiently. Traditional computational and I/O techniques can be replaced by methods focused on improved interconnect and storage capabilities – alongside traditional computing functionality – to help oil and gas companies stay ahead of the competition. We’ve also designed systems that incorporate GPUs and coprocessors, alternatives to traditional multicore CPUs, which can be leveraged to run today’s most demanding seismic processing workflows.

The current reality of the oil and gas industry dictates that organizations gather more data, find ways to use that information more effectively and make better decisions based on their analyses. This is leading to a huge influx of information entering into simulations, modeling and other supercomputing tasks. At the same time, the algorithms needed to support these efforts have become much more complex and demanding.

In the end, oil and gas companies must be able to find and produce hydrocarbons faster. Simply accelerating operations won’t do. Global consciousness on sustainability is making energy efficiency critical while increased competition for limited natural resources makes operational excellence essential. All this pressure makes knowledge more important than ever. The right information can help you ensure safe field operations and streamlined business functionality, giving you the edge you need to get ahead of competitors.

Legacy supercomputing models aren’t equipped to support the changing needs of oil and gas companies, but Cray has already created solutions that are well positioned for current and future demands.


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