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December 14, 2017

HPE, Intel help BP build world’s most powerful supercomputer for commercial research

BP aims to boost research and development in energy & environment sectors.

By April Slattery

Working with HPE and Intel, BP has more than doubled the total computing power of its Centre for High-Performance Computing (CHPC) in Houston to boost commercial research.

The collaboration with HPE and Intel has allowed BP to more than double its supercomputing power, from four petaflops to nine.

The nine petaflop system will significantly reduce the time needed to analyse seismic data to support exploration, appraisal and development plans as well as helping study hydrocarbon flows at refineries and pipelines to improve operational safety. The computer is an invaluable asset to BP – earlier this year the company announced that it had helped them to find an additional 200 million barrels of resources in the Gulf of Mexico.

HPE, Intel help BP build world’s most powerful supercomputer for commercial research

HPE systems have boosted performance for BP research.

BP will use HPE’s Apollo System and has also collaborated with Intel, using its Knights Landing Processors to boost the research rate.

The company has said the boost will make the supercomputer the most powerful of its kind for commercial research.

“Our investment in supercomputing is another example of BP leading the way in digital technologies that deliver improved safety, reliability and efficiency across our operations and give us a clear competitive advantage,” said Ahmed Hashmi, BP’s head of upstream technology.

The CHPC makes up part of BP’s upstream business segment, made up of computer scientists and mathematicians working in teams to research into challenging areas across the environment and energy industries.

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Scientists have made industry breakthroughs with the technology in advances imagine and rock physics research to help with reservoir modelling.

“With the expansion and new systems in place, BP will be able to further bolster its capabilities to accurately process and manage vast amounts of seismic data to identify new business opportunities and improve operational efficiency,” said Alain Andreoli, senior vice president and general manager, Data Center Infrastructure Group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

In total, the supercomputer has a memory of 1,140 terabytes with 30 petabytes of storage equating to the same as 500,000 iPhones. Since opening its CHPC in 2013, BP has already quadrupled its computing power as well as doubling storage capacity and is planning to continue expanding its capability into 2018.

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