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The exploration and production of natural resources by companies both large and small is a significant driver of HPC systems in the industry. Exploration and production (E&P) companies use high performance computing to interpret seismic data to locate new deposits and calculate the yields. Engineers and designers use clusters for modeling, design and collaboration of plant and production design automation.

High performance computing has been previously available to only the largest E&P production companies due to cost limitations. Technological advances and lower entry cost now allow for small and mid-size companies to have access to cluster technology. These organizations can now invest a modest amount for a 2 – 64 node cluster with very high performance allowing them to compete on a higher level and increase efficiency.

Oil and gas exploration begins with the seismic geophysical surveying process. E&P companies use HPC systems to find new reserves of hydrocarbons by creating models from seismic data. Utilizing high performance computer systems, these models are created with ever increasing detail to produce high resolution subsurface maps of potential oil fields.

Reservoir simulation is a tool used to measure how much oil and gas can be produced from a field over a period of time. One major constraint has been the time required to create these complex simulations. HPC systems minimize the time in processing massive amounts of data and performing the simulations.

Increased success and efficiency in exploration and production have been attributed to 3D visualization. A robust system that incorporates computing, rendering and data management is a basic requirement for an effective visualization tool.