BP’s high performance computer hits the petaflop

300 GB dataset free to academia. Houston HPC cluster now among fastest in commercial world.

A few fascinating facts from the latest issue of the BP Magazine. First, for those in academia who complain that they never have any real data to work with, BP’s upstream innovation board has released some 300 gigabytes of high-resolution geophysical data covering the Atlantis, Holstein, Mad Dog and Thunder Horse developments in the Gulf of Mexico. The idea is to ‘encourage the development of geotechnical, geological and engineering concepts in the deep water.’ Elsewhere, BP’s head of technology, David Eyton, revealed that company’s advanced seismic computing centre in Houston now has a capacity of a little more than one petaflop, ‘making it one of the world’s fastest civil supercomputers.’

Another program involves the installation of hundreds of corrosion sensors, co-developed with Imperial College London, at all of its refineries worldwide. The sensors help refinery teams understand the impact of acidic crude oils in real-time. Eyton observes, ‘Investment in technology needs balance, the danger of doing everything in house is that you become insular and miss an important development. But if you do too much outside, then you might not be able to generate as much value from the intellectual property generated.’

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