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Federal University of Santa Catarina Powers Up SGI Technology for Increased Oil and Gas Production


Second Largest Computer in Any Brazilian University Enables New Models to Improve Production Efficiency

SAO PAULO, Brazil and CFDOIL 2008—Rio de Janiero, Brazil (August 2008)—To find new ways to solve complex multiphase flow problems in petroleum and gas resource exploration, the Federal University of Santa Catarina employs high performance computing technology from SGI (NASDAQ: SGIC). With 512 processors, the SGI® Altix® ICE system in Brazil is the second largest computer in any Brazilian university and the sixth largest computer system in use throughout the country.

* SGI Altix ICE speeds computational results from two weeks to one or two days
* Features a total of 512 Intel® Xeon® processor cores and a NAS with 16 Terabytes (TB) of memory
* Expanded, more realistic multiphase flow models will increase oil and gas recovery efforts worldwide

The SGI Altix ICE system and a 16TB SGI® InfiniteStorage NAS system, purchased in October, was installed earlier this year at the Federal University of Santa Catarina’s SINMEC (Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory), one of the most recognized numerical research labs in Brazil. SINMEC, like many Brazilian universities that have recently purchased full complements of SGI technology, has long-standing close ties to Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil and gas company. The SINMEC lab continues to develop software for simulating oil flow in reservoirs in addition to exploring ways to solve multiphase flow problems, which remains one of the unsolved problems of fluid mechanics. Oil, gas and water, for example, are called “phases” and a mix of two or more phases, or phases not chemically related, are referred to as “mulitphase” flows. Multiphase flows - where each constituent part, or “phase,” has different volumes, rates of dispersion and other properties - are found in many areas of science and engineering from oil and gas recovery through environmental modeling and many engineering processes. Numerical models that solve these problems, which are currently not well-defined scientifically, are expected to lead to increased oil and gas production and improve the prediction of environmental events.

“Oil, gas and water are huge problems because of the bubbles and the interface between phases, and they require a lot of computational power to solve them,” said Professor Clovis Maliska, Ph.D., and head of SINMEC. “We selected the SGI Altix ICE because we are working on developing new models to solve those fluid flow problems faster. Computations and simulations we used to do in two weeks, we now expect will take one or two days because of the power of the SGI system. This work will benefit not only Petrobras; everyone who uses simulation for complex multiphase flows will be impacted by our expanded software development.”

SINMEC’s SGI technology will be used for research activities, Ph.D. theses, academic projects, and physical research projects. The SGI Altix ICE system will also process simulations as part of a 3D visualization room SIMNEC is currently building. The bulk of the research, however, will harness the power of the SGI Altix ICE system to develop numerical techniques, numerical models, and write and test new CFD algorithms that will speed multiphase flow problems to solution.

“The models developed through SGI Altix ICE-powered research at the Federal University of Santa Catarina could very well lead to what the world needs now: expanded and more efficient energy production,” said Deepak Thakkar, higher education and research segment manager at SGI. “The wide array of real-life problems of multiphase flow has made it extremely difficult to develop equations which describe realistic multiphase flows. But as processing on powerful SGI systems becomes more prevalent, dissecting various features of the flow will increase understanding of the necessary features to consider in a model.”

SGI at CFD Oil 2008
SGI is proud to participate in CFD Oil 2008, the third Latin American workshop applied to the oil industry, held in Rio de Janeiro August 18-19. CFD Oil’s main objective is to be a discussion forum for users and developers in Computational Fluid Dynamics software, especially those involved with applications related to the oil and gas industry. On August 18th from 11:30 a.m. to Noon, Srinivas Kodiyalam, field business development director at SGI will present “Optimized HPC Infrastructure for CFD and Related Multidisciplinary Simulations of Engineering Systems.” Professor Dr. Clovis Maliska is among the keynote speakers, presenting “Interface Forces Calculation for Multiphase Flow Simulation” on August 19 from 11:10 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. Presentations will also be made by scientists from the United States, Germany and Brazil, as well as oil company executives and researchers from the U.S. and Petrobras. SGI is also exhibiting at the forum.
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