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CIO Insight: Case Study: Hess Taps Linux for Profits

Jan 26, 2004, 20:45 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Karen Southwick, Debra D'Agostino, Marcia Stepanek)

"Such maps would not have existed even five years ago: By necessity, oil exploration has been a high-stakes guessing game of the highest order. Supercomputers, a relatively recent phenomenon, have helped fine-tune the analysis, but at a hefty price, which has limited their use by some companies and made it cost-prohibitive to conduct sustained, ongoing number-crunching and digital depth analysis.

"But times are changing. Thanks to the emergence of low-cost computing power in the form of Linux computing clusters, Hess and other oil companies now can run algorithms they never could have dreamed of running before. At far more affordable prices, Hess can now extract terabytes more information about what lies beneath the earth's surface than it could with a supercomputer. Indeed, Linux cluster technology has 'dropped our cost of computing by an order of magnitude of two,' says Hess CIO Richard Ross. 'One of our guys wrote a program that allows him to interactively work with multiple terabytes of data. All the books stored in the Library of Congress would equal 20 terabytes. Just think about working with that much information in real time...'"

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