BP supercomputer world’s most powerful for commercial research

Image: BP

BP has more than doubled the total computing power of its Center for High-Performance Computing (CHPC) in Houston, making it the most powerful supercomputer in the world for commercial research, according to third party validation conducted by Hyperion Research.

The CHPC is now 18 times more powerful than the fastest supercomputer 10 years ago, which had a computing power of 0.48 petaflops.

Increased computing power, speed and storage reduce the time needed to analyze large amounts of seismic data to support exploration, appraisal and development plans as well as other research and technology developments throughout BP.

The CHPC provides critical support to BP's upstream business segment, where it serves as the worldwide hub for research computing. BP’s computer scientists and mathematicians at the CHPC have enabled industry breakthroughs in advanced seismic imaging and rock physics research to help with reservoir modelling, BP said in a statement.

In April, BP announced that a proprietary algorithm using Full Waveform Inversion (FWI) technology run through the CHPC helped to find an additional 200 million barrels of resources at BP’s Atlantis field in the Gulf of Mexico. Applied to BP’s four existing hubs in the Gulf of Mexico, seismic imaging with FWI has identified an estimated additional one billion barrels of oil in place.

BP’s downstream business also is using the supercomputer for fluid dynamic research to study hydrocarbon flows at refineries and pipelines to improve operational safety.

Working with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel using HPE’s Apollo System and Intel’s Knights Landing processors, the recent upgrade has boosted the processing speed of BP’s supercomputer from four petaflops to nine petaflops. A petaflop of processing speed is one thousand trillion floating point operations, or “flops,” per second. The supercomputer has a total memory of 1,140 terabytes (1.14 petabytes) and 30 petabytes of storage, the equivalent of over 500,000 iPhones.

Since the CHPC opened in 2013, BP has quadrupled its computing power and doubled its storage capacity and plans to continue expanding its computing capability in 2018.