Notes from the Oil and Gas High-Performance Computing Workshop

The 2009 Oil and Gas High-Performance Computing Workshop was held on March 5th, 2009, and was hosted by the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology and the Energy and Environmental Systems Institute at Rice University. The goal of the workshop was to discuss industry specific needs and challenges and to engage in a dialog with HPC hardware and software vendors, as well as academic research communities. The focus of this particular workshop was on accelerators and hybrid computing, the future of parallel programming and tools, and storage and I/O solutions and the needs associated with systems deployed in oil and gas HPC environments.


The workshop was organized very well, and it was a great opportunity to meet and talk with many oil and gas users, as well as software and hardware vendors. In spite of the current recession, users still need to stay competitive and to increase their productivity. So new investments are definitely being made, but those investments are being carefully designed to ensure maximum ROI, and must certainly be future proofed.


The HPC Advisory Council presented recent work performed by its members – Gilad Shainer & Tong Liu (Mellanox Technologies), Joshua Mora (AMD), Jacob Liberman (Dell) and Owen Brazell (Schlumberger) on “ECLIPSE: Performance Benchmarking and Profiling”. Schlumberger’s ECLIPSE Reservoir Engineering software is a widely used oil and gas reservoir numerical simulation suite. Maximizing end-user productivity with ECLIPSE requires a deep understanding of how each component impacts the overall solution. Moreover, as new hardware and software comes to market, design decisions are often based on assumptions or projections rather than empirical testing. The presentation was targeted to removes the guesswork from cluster design for ECLIPSE by providing best practices for increased performance and productivity. The presentation included scalability testing, interconnect performance comparisons, job placement strategies, and power efficiency considerations.


The presentation can be downloaded from the HPC Advisory Council web (technical content/conferences section).


Commodity clusters, CPUs and interconnects can together provide the most efficient and productive systems for high-performance applications. The secret is in gathering the right components to create a balanced system, and with the right components and integration, one can maximize the system’s capability and to ensure system and application scaling. For more information in particular to ECLIPSE, please review the presentation.


For more questions and comments, we can be reached (as always) at

Best regards,

Gilad, Chairman of the HPC Advisory Council