IBM Applies Gaming Console Technology to the Oilpatch
Driven by the increasing demand and rising costs for energy worldwide, Repsol YPF and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center have announced research results using IBM supercomputers powered by the Cell Broadband Engine as the standard for future hydrocarbon exploration. The preliminary findings show IBM BladeCenter QS22 supercomputers, powered by the IBM PowerXCell 8i processor, enable searching for oil fields at greater depths up to six-times faster than conventional technology currently deployed by the oil and gas industry.
"Fidelity of the RTM images reduces the risks associated with oil exploration in these prolific but complex areas," said Francisco Ortigosa, director of Repsol’s Geophysics. "However, the universal use of this technology is limited by processing speed. The IBM PowerXCell 8i processor's unparalleled speed for the imaging algorithm allows extensive use of the technology. By speeding up seismic imaging, we foresee a revolution in exploration that will be comparable to the revolution in medical imaging technologies, such as MRIs, that today routinely yield detailed images from inside the body."
RTM is one of the key efforts driven by the work of the Kaleidoscope Project, which utilizes new models, algorithms and the BSC, also called the "MareNostrum," one of the world's most powerful supercomputers, which features IBM's latest processing technology.
"The high-speed communications capabilities of the new IBM PowerXCell 8i processor in the IBM BladeCenter QS22 can help companies create and run vastly improved visual, immersive, real-time simulations," said VP of IBM Systems & Technology Group Jim Comfort. "These simulations are already helping companies like Repsol make significant headway in hydrocarbon exploration by allowing them to locate energy reserves previously unknown. IBM has built a strong ecosystem around the new QS22 to address critical real-time analytic and imaging projects, and Repsol is a great example of a company reaping the benefits."
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