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Total now owns the world’s most powerful commercial supercomputer

Written by Tue 18 Jun 2019

IBM has dropped a HPC fossil fuel finder on the doorstep of one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies

French oil and gas giant Total has bought the world’s most powerful commercial supercomputer from IBM.

The Pangea III supercomputer runs off IBM’s Power9 processors and has a total computing power of 25 petaFLOPS, making it the eleventh most powerful supercomputer in the world, according to the Top500 supercomputers rankings. The US Department of Energy’s Summit and Sierra supercomputer is ranked top of the same list and is based off the same processors.

Total will use the system to identify untapped oil and gas resources, by gathering seismic data to draw up an in-depth picture of what lies underground, improving the reliability and accuracy of predictive production models.

“Pangea III’s additional computing power enhances Total’s operational excellence. It enables Total to reduce geological risks in exploration and development, accelerate project maturation and delivery, and increases the value of our assets through optimised field operations, with all this at lower cost,” said Arnaud Breuillac, president of Total’s exploration and production division.

The scientific consensus is that burning more fossil fuels is the exact opposite of what the planet should be doing right now, but at least Total’s new system is more energy efficient than its predecessor.

Pangea III requires 1.5 MW of power, compared to the immense 4.5 MW of power Pangea II needed. Adjusted for Pangea III’s performance gains, this translates to a 10 percent reduction in the energy consumption per petaflop, Total said.

“Based on the same IBM technology found in Summit and Sierra, the world’s smartest supercomputers, Pangea III demonstrates that IBM Power Systems are not just for the large government or research organizations,” said David Turek, VP of Exascale Systems for IBM Systems.

“The world’s largest businesses, like Total, are now tapping that same technology to profoundly change how they operate. It also gives them room to explore the role IBM Power Systems can play against their most data-intensive workloads like hybrid could and AI,” he added.

Written by Tue 18 Jun 2019

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