While some extol the virtues of outsourcing and off-site ASP-based computing, Phillips Petroleum’s (PPCO) seismic imaging group based in Bartlesville, believes that the best way to perform number-crunching is on a humongous in-house mainframe. PPCO’s strategy seems to be "Buy Fastest Available."
PPCO has just signed a check for $3.6 million order for the first Cray T3E-1350 system, a faster model of the product line that holds the current world record for sheer compute speed. Phillips will use the new supercomputer to perform 3-D seismic processing and imagery of very large data sets. The new system features 136 processors clocked at 675 MHz, each capable of 1.35 billion calculations per second. These are supported by a cool 84 gigabytes of main memory.
PPCO seismic imaging group project manager Paul Valasek said "Finding oil is increasingly challenging as we explore deep offshore prospects beneath salt layers that distort seismic data. We use Cray technology to run massive seismic imaging applications that correct this distortion and help us to ’see’ the geological strata more clearly and help reduce risk in well placement."
PPCO research leader Kay Wyatt added "We also use the Cray technology to assist us in multi-component seismic which improves our understanding of rock and fluid properties." Cray Inc. acquired the Cray Research business assets from Silicon Graphics So far business is good with second quarter revenues of $51 million. Net profits for the same period were $5.1 million.
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