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

“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
, 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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