Total enters TOP 10 high performance computing list

A new 10,240 core SGI Altix ICE provides Total with access to 2 petabyte seismic data set.

Total has purchased an SGI Altix ICE system with compute bandwidth of 123 teraflops and a petabyte of storage. The machine is to be used by Total’s geophysicists in Pau, France on high-end seismic imaging. The system runs SUSE Linux across 10,240 Intel Xeon cores each with 2GB memory. Storage comprises 500TB of SGI InfiniteStorage plus another 500GB of in a distributed file system based on Sun Microsytems’ Lustre technology. Total’s new machine came in at number 10 on the June 2008 TOP500 list with a LINPACK performance of 106 teraflops.


Total E&P SVP Philippe Chalon said, ‘Drilling cost increases justify significant investment in seismic processing capabilities to better model the subsurface. Total has invested in one of the most powerful computers in the world and will continue adding compute capacity over the next years. Our investment in SGI storage solutions gives us optimal flexibility in accessing and managing up to 2 petabytes of seismic data on current and future exploration prospects.’ More from


It should be noted that the TOP500 is not an exhaustive listing of HPC deployments—in fact this is the first time we have seen an oil company machine in the list. It is therefore likely that there are many HPC installations in oil and gas of the caliber of Total’s new supercomputer. Large machines used in seismic processing houses would likely fill up the top ten if they all entered.

This article originally appeared in Oil IT Journal 2008 Issue # 6.

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