World's largest Linux supercomputer to sniff out oil

Shell shells out on Big Blue bloodhound

Petroleum company Shell will use what it reckons will be the world's largest Linux-based supercomputer to help ensure the West doesn't run out of gasoline just yet.

The machine is actually being put together by IBM, which will by networking a cluster of 1024 of its xSeries servers - a kiloserver? - all running the open source OS and happily massively parallel. The chosen distro is Red 'Hard' Hat.

Once the beast is up and running - Big Blue will begin installing it in January at one of the oil company's Dutch sites - Shell will run seismic analysis applications and other tasks of a geophysical nature as it searches for the globe's last remaining reserves of dead tree juice.

The supercomputer might even - though somehow we doubt it - be used to work out the effect of the petrochemical indsutry on the environment of Nigeria, or what all that burning fossil fuel will do to the world's atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide, we've heard of it... ®

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