Gazprom Discusses Purchasing a Petacale Supercomputer

June 24, 2011, Fri 12:25 AM  Integration

World`s largest gas supplier Gazprom might acquire a petascale supercomputer. The giant needs an HPC-system for seismic data processing and reservoir simulation. If the system is deployed, it is likely to be amongst the most powerful supercomputers in the world.

Gazprom considers purchasing a petascale supercomputers, as a source in the gas giant and two sources in VNIIGAZ (Gazprom`s scientific research institute) reported to CNews. According to them, this issue was discussed at a recent meeting of Gazprom`s science and engineering council. They also say VNIIGAZ is seen as the ground for the future HPC-systems deployment.

The major computing jobs Gazprom needs a supercomputer for are seismic data processing and reservoir simulation, say the company representatives. They also add right now Gazprom has a number of low-end HPC-systems at its disposal and resorts to computing capacity rent.

Gazprom`s information division officially reported to CNews the final decision on purchasing a supercomputer has not been made yet.

Apart from Gazprom specialists the meeting where the HPC-system issues were raised was attended by experts from Russian industry science and education organizations as well as by oil&gas service companies. T-Platforms and Russia`s Federal Nuclear Center (Sarov) were the only hardware vendors present at the meeting.

Head of oil&gas service association Soyuzneftegazservice Igor Melnikov, who was amongst the meeting attendees, said to CNews the precise performance of the future Gazprom supercomputer is to be discussed after the feasibility study is done. Melnikov also mentioned T-Platforms representative at the meeting said his company was ready to supply an HPC-system of any performance Gazprom needed.

Melnikov is sure Gazprom`d better acquire its own supercomputer for shared access taking into account the number of compute jobs it encounters. Up to now the gas giant has mainly utilized rented capacities, head of Soyuzneftegazservice said. Gazprom has a number of compute clusters, but their performance is quite low. It`s hard even to call them supercomputer, Melnikov added.

The gas giant does not disclose what companies are suppliers of its current compute clusters. However, Russian HPC market players say is nor T-Platforms, neither IBM. IBM representatives said to CNews they are ready to develop HPC-solution architecture based on cutting-edge technologies that would suit Gazprom`s tasks best.

Some suppose the supplier was HP. They have been very active in the industry in recent years, says Sergey Abramov, director of Program Systems Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences.

It stands to mention, at the moment there are two supercomputers in Russia claimed to be of petascale level of performance by their owners. They are installed in Moscow State University and the Federal Nuclear Center in Sarov. The first of the HPC-systems occupies the 13th position in the latest Top-500 list of world`s most powerful supercomputers. Owners of the second supercomputer never submit their system to any ratings referring to the high secrecy level of their organization.

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