Microsoft softens high performance computing (HPC) stance

Microsoft-sponsored survey of HPC in oil and gas finds satisfied users and burgeoning budgets.

Last year, the Microsoft-commissioned Gulf Research survey of high performance computing (HPC) in the oil and gas industry found that Microsoft ‘dominated’ this market—a notion that we pooh-poohed in an editorial (Oil ITJ March 07). Microsoft has watered down its stance in its 2008 ‘HPC in oil and gas’ survey, carried out by the Oil & Gas Journal Online Research Center. Responses were received from 212 individuals working in all industry segments from exploration through refining and marketing.


As last year, little attempt was made to ring-fence HPC and Microsoft’s survey includes questions on Microsoft Office—used by 100% of the respondents to manipulate and report technical data*. Notwithstanding such ambiguity, users consider that ‘there is continued need for development of HPC capability,’ that oils need to add compute power and that suppliers of HPC technology need to educate users on its capabilities. A majority of respondents indicate being ‘mostly or somewhat satisfied’ with the performance of their current technical computing capabilities for specific applications.

Parametric sweeps

Of those power users of compute-intensive scientific applications using multiple iterations, 40% typically complete ‘two iterations’ per day times during a 24-hour day, while a third believe that eight iterations represents an ‘optimal number.’ Another third ‘didn’t know how many iterations would be optimal.’ 57% of participants reported that they have technical or scientific computing applications that are unique to their company or department. Of these 62.1% were applications are developed in-house. This indicates a ‘considerable increase in in-house development capabilities during the past year.’ Finally spend forecasts for 2007 were roughly one third up by more than 10%, one third up by less than 10% and no change for the remainder.

* Perhaps the Freudian message Microsoft is making here is that its resource hungry applications really need HPC to work—even if it’s just Excel on Vista!

Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.