BP builds supercomputer

BP and Hewlett-Packard have built a $15 million high performance computer in Houston for seismic processing. The new system has over 500 processors and a chunky 8 Terabyte total RAM.

An article in the latest edition of BP’s Frontiers Magazine reveals a massive investment in in-house seismic processing technology. BP’s Houston-located high performance computing (HPC) facility uses Intel’s latest 64 bit Itanium 2 processors in a Hewlett-Packard cluster running Linux. Each cluster node has four processors and 32 GB of memory. The system has 259 nodes and a total of 170 TB of disk storage. Bandwidth is quoted at 7.5 TeraFlops an total system cost is around $ 15 million.

Buy not build?

Comment - BP has a reputation for focusing on ‘core business’, outsourcing and vigorous ‘downsizing’. Does spending $15 million building a computer (when excess seismic processing capacity abounds) represent a departure from this philosophy? Is this a case of ‘bye-bye buy not build’? Perhaps a cost center like Thunder Horse allows for a certain largesse in what’s ‘core’ to BP’s geophysical grandees.

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