Marathon uses SGI to model reservoirs

Marathon has installed a 12 CPU SGI Altix 3000 supercomputer for simulation and modeling.

Marathon Oil’s Reservoir Description and Management has installed a 12 CPU SGI Altix 3000 system for use in reservoir modeling. The Linux-based Altix superclusters leverage 54-bit Intel Itanium 2 processors and SGI’s proprietary Numaflex shared-memory architecture. The new machine will be used in Marathon’s geocellular modeling and fluid flow simulations.


Explaining the choice, Mark Petersen, Reservoir manager with Marathon, said, “Traditional distributed computing architecture breaks down complex tasks into subsets which becomes unwieldy as data sets increase in size. Numaflex shared memory gives all processors simultaneous access to a memory-resident task, even for a 30GB model.”


SGI’s Bill Bartling added “Numaflex speeds up by a factor of four what would otherwise be enormously difficult and time-consuming jobs. Previously, high-resolution reservoir models were decimated in order for yesterday’s lower-performance computers to handle them. Today, Altix systems allow companies to retain high-resolution models, computing them in the same time or less than was the case with yesterday’s models.”

1 TB/s bandwidth

In a separate announcement, SGI has claimed a world record for the Numaflex architecture’s memory bandwidth. A 512 processor system at the NASA Ames research center broke the terabyte/second barrier. SGI’s plans for the Altix anticipate 1,024 processor scalability for 2004.

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