Multicore and ‘petascale’ seismic processing analyzed

IBM paper sees promising future for multi core architecture in seismic. Repsol flagship implementer.

IBM researcher Mike Perrone has just released a paper* on the impact of multi core computing on seismic processing. Perrone notes that the seismic imaging industry deploys ‘some of the largest supercomputing clusters on the planet’ and has a ‘tremendous appetite’ for computing resources. He sees the adoption of petascale computing as ‘only a few months away.’ The transition to petascale means that oil and gas will be one of the first groups to make the significant changes required for petascale computing.

The move to multicore architectures is driving a ‘sea change’ in the computer industry and brings challenges such as algorithm design, integration of novel architectures with traditional computational systems and data management. Typifying the new breed of scientific computing engines is the IBM BladeCenter QS22 blade server with over 400 GFLOPS of peak performance per blade. The PowerXCell 8i processor on the QS22 has 9 cores optimized for parallel processing and consumes only 0.5 watts per GFLOP.

Perrone cited Repsol’s Kaleidoscope Project in Barcelona as an example of the way forward. ‘Unparalleled speed’ for applications such as reverse time migration have been claimed for the existing Kaleidoscope setup. This system will be a ‘pure’ QS22 cluster with next generation Cell processors in 2010.


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