IBM provides Total with world’s most powerful commercial supercomputer

20 June, 2019, 14:11 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Pangea III fastest commercial supercomputer

The Pangea III computer build by IBM will help process complex seismic data in the search for hydrocarbons 10 times faster that before, Total said on Tuesday.

Almost a tenth of the processing power comes from just one system, the Summit supercomputer that went online previous year in the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The French oil and gas giant, Total, has introduced a supercomputer to its operations with the aim of finding oil and gas more cheaply. Total said that the new system expands the group's computing power by nearly five - to 31.7 petaflops - while boosting system storage capacity by a factor of three, to 76 petabytes.

The biannual Top500 list is the supercomputing industry's reference book on the latest advances in system design.

As HPC systems increasingly proliferate in commercial markets (industry analyst Addison Snell of Intersect360 Research, said in his recent market update that commercial sectors comprise 58 percent of the HPC market), the energy sector has aggressively embraced supercomputing-class systems.

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China continues to dominate a list of the world's fastest supercomputers by the number of systems, according to a semi-annual ranking of the Top500 published Monday.

Summit and Sierra, two IBM-built supercomputers, maintained their top positions for the U.S., followed by two Chinese systems, the Sunway TaihuLight and the Tianhe-2A, which are installed in Wuxi and Guangzhou, respectively.

IBM was among several bidders seeking to build Pangea III. The Pangea III also utilizes Nvidia's Tesla V100 Tensor Core GPUs to handle seismic images at a higher resolution. The NVLink connection enabled a 5.6-fold increase in memory bandwidth between CPU and GPU when compared with x86-based machines, the partners said.

The pair are exploring the use of computer vision algorithms to decipher images from seismic studies and natural language processing to analyze technical documents. Total intends to use Pangea III to test its new algorithms. The system also can be used for early evaluation of potential sites for further energy exploration.

In its press release, IBM noted that Pangea III is three times more efficient from a power-consumption point of view than Total's predecessor.

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