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BP breaks ground on supercomputer facility

BP has begun construction of a new facility to house the largest supercomputing resource for commercial research in the world, a project that the company says will keep it at the forefront of seismic imaging technology and be a critical tool in its global hunt for oil and natural gas in coming years.

Scheduled to open mid-2013 at BP’s Westlake Campus in Houston, the new high-performance computing (HPC) centre will serve as a worldwide hub for the processing and management of huge amounts of geologic and seismic data from across BP’s portfolio. In addition it will enable scientists to produce clear images of rock structures deep underground and will play a key role in identifying potential exploration targets from the Gulf of Mexico to Azerbaijan. With added computing power, the centre will also help teams work more efficiently and accurately, reducing both drilling risk and the costs and timetables of future exploration.

BP’s existing HPC centre was the world’s first commercial research centre to achieve a petaflop of processing speed, but it has reached maximum power and cooling capacity in its current space at Westlake Campus. The new HPC centre will be housed in a three-story, 110,000 square foot facility that can accommodate BP’s current computing needs and possible future expansions. Equipped with more than 67,000 CPUs, the supercomputer is expected to have the ability to process data at a rate of up to two petaflops in 2013 – the existing system now has a peak rate of 1.227 petaflops. BP’s new supercomputer will also have a total memory of 536 terabytes and disk space of 23.5 petabytes.

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