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CNET News.com: Conoco hopes to hit oil with slick [Linux] supercomputer

Aug 31, 2000, 03:02 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Stephen Shankland)

"Conoco has built a Linux-based supercomputer for finding oil and gas beneath the Earth's surface, saying the machine costs a tenth of the average price of a conventional supercomputer. The computer uses dozens of single- and dual-processor Intel-based computers connected by a 10-mbps network, 10 terabytes of hard disk storage and a tape library. The company declined to provide further details on the hardware."

"The machine can perform 500 billion calculations per second, said Alan Huffman, manager of Conoco's seismic imaging technology center. Linking collections of relatively inexpensive Linux computers has become a popular way to build low-budget supercomputers called "Beowulf clusters." Conoco used a method similar to the Beowulf approach, including its own modifications to the Linux kernel, Huffman said."

"Conoco decided its Linux machine was a good idea, even accounting for the $4 million cost of rewriting its software. The hardware cost an additional $1.75 million, Huffman said, and the company will spend another $1.5 million to double the computer's performance by the end of 2001."

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