Advancing Sustainability with High Performance Computing

BrandPost By Thierry Pellegrino
Nov 13, 2019
AnalyticsBig DataHadoop

Eniu2019s energy-efficient HPC5 supercomputer uses solar energy to reduce emissions and running costs.

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Credit: Dell EMC

Our planet is already being rocked by the effects of climate change. Extreme weather, natural disasters, animal extinctions and human migration are all examples of the far-reaching impact we are beginning to see. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

At Dell Technologies, we’re committed to driving human progress, creating a positive, lasting impact on humankind and the planet. We have a responsibility to protect and enrich our planet together with our customers, suppliers and communities. It’s a core part of our business and — as described in our Vision for 2030 — we embed sustainability and ethical practices into all that we do, being accountable for our actions while driving improvements wherever and whenever possible.

For example, we have a bold commitment to reducing our own energy consumption and increasing our renewable energy purchases through to our operations. We work with our suppliers to improve their efficiency, and we minimize the energy intensity across our product portfolio. We are also combining the knowledge and efforts of our teams across the supply chain and throughout all our facilities to manage water usage and work towards our commitment to zero waste.

That’s just one reason we are thrilled to work with Eni on their new HPC5 supercomputer. As a company, Eni’s mission for sustainability matches up with that of Dell Technologies’ vision. Inspired by the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Eni’s mission sets out the company’s values regarding climate change, the environment, access to energy, cooperation and partnerships for development, and the respect for people and human rights. According to Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s CEO, in an Eni press release “Eni is determined to be a force for good in contributing to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and bring about a just transition.”

Green since 2013

Eni’s Green Data Center opened in 2013 and was one of the first facilities of its kind and size in Europe. And, in line with Dell Technologies’ and Eni’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, HPC5 has been designed to be as energy efficient as possible, using energy produced by the solar plant at the Green Data Center to reduce emissions and running costs.

Descalzi commented, “Our investment to strengthen our supercomputer infrastructure and to develop proprietary technologies are a crucial part of the digital transformation of Eni. Having great computing power and sophisticated algorithms at our disposal makes us leaders in the modern energy sector and projects us on to the future. Eni is forging that future through a range of alternative energy projects, and through a solid R&D investment plan. With HPC5, we are entering the world of exascale computing in the energy sector, which will revolutionize company processes in the future.”

Hybrid is great for more than just automobiles

The HPC5 supercomputer design is based on hybrid cluster technology to speed processing. Eni pioneered this technology starting in 2013, and it is now recognized as a benchmark that has become common among the world’s biggest computing centers.

HPC5 is made up of 1,820 Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 Servers, which will be connected with a Mellanox® InfiniBand® HDR ultra-high-performance network with a speed of 200Gb/s and a full non-blocking topology. The system also will leverage a 15PB HPC storage system with 200GB/s aggregate read/write speeds.

HPC5 triples the company’s current HPC power from its existing HPC4 supercomputer — from 18 to 52 petaFLOPS. By adding HPC5 to its supercomputing capabilities, Eni’s Green Data Center will have a total peak power of 70 petaFLOPS, making it the world’s most powerful industrial supercomputer.

Enabling digital transformation and a positive social impact

Eni will use its new supercomputer system to enable digital transformation throughout the energy value chain and to help support Eni’s vision for energy in the future. Being able to use big data generated during the operations phase by all the production assets will support exploration, development and monitoring of oil fields, and will further accelerate R&D into renewable energy sources.

At Dell Technologies, sustainability is — and has always been — an important matter for us. But climate action must go beyond the measures we take as a single organization. Our digital transformation gives the world the opportunity to find lasting solutions by decoupling economic growth from carbon emissions. And technology helps us understand what is happening to our climate more clearly than ever before. As we continue to innovate to reduce our impact, working to protect our communities and our planet, collaborating with ENI to do the same is a natural fit with our vision and our commitment.

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