HPC5: The Most Powerful Supercomputer Outside Government Ownership

  • HPC5 is a GPU-accelerated system capable of performing 51.7 million billion operations per second (51.7 petaFlops). 
  • Among the top 100 supercomputers, it would rank as the 5th most powerful in the world. 
  • It will help scientists study underground rocks in detail and develop technologies for future energies. 

Eni — an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome — has unveiled one of the most powerful and efficient supercomputers in the world. It is named HPC5, short for High Performance Computing – layer 5.

Eni’s partners in scientific research and innovation, include MIT, the National Research Council, Stanford University, Intel, Nvidia, and Dell Technologies.

Eni is generally involved in developing technologies to improve working conditions and workplace safety for its employees. Its more of a data-driven company, which operates in various fields, ranging from nuclear power and chemicals to refining and textile industry. In terms of revenue, it ranks among the top 100 on the Fortune Global 500 list.

In February 2020, Eni introduced HPC5 (successor of HPC4) to accelerate their research and development of clean energy sources and enhance the monitoring of oil fields.

The Most Energy Efficient Supercomputer

The new HPC5 is a GPU-accelerated system capable of performing 51.7 million billion operations per second (51.7 petaFlops). Combined with its predecessor HPC4, which is still in operation, the peak computational capacity of the system reaches 70 petaFlops.

Aside from incredible performance, HPC5 is also one ‘greenest’ parallel computing systems in the world. This means it consumes very low electricity to perform billions of operations per second. The company claims that HPC4 performs about 20 billion operations per second using a single watt of electricity.

HPC5 - powerful supercomputerHPC5 | Credit: Eni 

HPC5 is comprised of 3,400 computing processors and 10,000 graphics cards. Out of those, 1,820 are Dell EMC servers and 7,280 NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs.

This machine is the first of its kind in the energy industry, and when compared to the existing top 100 supercomputers, it would rank as the 5th most powerful in the world.

Source: Eni 

Since HPC5 is very efficient in terms of power consumption, it helps Eni to significantly improve their environmental performance and reduce waste. The Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone (that houses Eni supercomputers) saves nearly 4,500 tons of carbon dioxide emission compared to other conventional data centers.

Benefits

These types of supercomputers help scientists study underground rocks in detail, decreasing the margin for error in prospecting operations and leaving a positive image on sustainability.

The type of hardware architecture used in the HPC5, coupled with some extremely sophisticated algorithms, allows researchers to generate 3D models of the subsoil that lie at a depth of 6-9 miles, with a surface area of hundreds of kilometer-square and a resolution of several tens of meters.

This is how researchers discovered Zohr, the largest gas field ever found in the Mediterranean. The supercomputer also stores data of all the fields and all the explorations done by Eni in over six decades of history.

Both HPC4 and HPC5 will be used to develop future energies, such as magnetic confinement fusion, organic solar panels, and luminescent solar concentrators.

Read: Can We Use Supercomputers To Mine All The Bitcoins In Less Time?

Moreover, Eni supercomputers will enable researchers to create advanced mathematical models (by merging metrological and marine data with the behavior of Marenergy technologies), advanced climate models of the Arctic on a continental scale, as well as artificial intelligence tools.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a professional science and technology journalist and a big fan of AI, machines, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from Indraprastha University. To find out about his latest projects, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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