Total operates Pangea supercomputers with SGI and Suse

It is one of the two fastest industrial computers worldwide. With Pangea, the mineral oil company Total intends to increase the performance of its predecessor system tenfold in the French city of Pau.

Total is researching new oil production in the future using a supercomputer powered by SGI hardware and the Suse Linux Enterprise operating system. The high-performance computer delivers about 2.3000 PFpf over approximately 111000 Intel Xeon E5-2670 processor cores. In the distributed memory architecture, the calculator provides 442 TB of memory. Currently, Pangea is one of the second fastest industrial-scale supercomputers in the world, according to Top500.org. Each server node maintains its own Suse Linux Enterprise instance, and the SGI Management Center for ICE X uses Infiniband to parallelize the system.

With the help of the M-Cell technology, the computers are to be efficiently cooled via water and air. The M-Cell architecture consists of a closed air circuit and hot water cooling, which is kept in a hot aisle. In this way, the energy requirement for cooling should be reduced. Total power consumption is 2.8 MW. The resulting heat is then used to heat the surrounding building.

The new system is intended to increase the performance of the predecessor system by a factor of ten. Seismic data are mainly analyzed with the exclusively commercially used computer. This is to explore new oil deposits.

Diego Klahr, Total’s HPC Engineer, explained what made the decision for the two infrastructure components: “We clearly saw that the price-performance ratio of Suse Linux Enterprise Server on the SGI platform was better than that of other platforms.” It also offers a comprehensive and integrated platform.

Such as Total in March 2013 announced , the new supercomputer will cost around 60 million euros. With this investment, the company wants to be able to extract new funding options more quickly from the available data.

These data come from samples that use vibration to study soil layers. By visualizing and analyzing the data, researchers at the Center Scientifique et Technique Jean F├ęger ( CSTJF ) in Pau, France, want to find new deposits. The goal of the new computer is now to find smaller and more difficult to reach deposits through more power. For this, the visualizations have to get a much higher resolution, which of course also increases the need for computer resources.

“Pangea is a very powerful solution for visualizing three-dimensional models of subterranean geological formations using numerical models,” Klahr continues. With the new system Total could now run ten times more simulations than with the predecessor system. Not only could potential deposits be found, but also the best extraction method.

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