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As the search for oil and gas becomes increasingly complex and expensive, seismic imaging companies are exploring new technologies to more accurately evaluate subsurface conditions and determine the geological structure of the ground. Prestack time migration (PSTM) is one such novel seismic imaging technology, but it requires massive computation, which traditionally means high purchasing and operational costs. GeoStar, a leading Chinese geophysical services provider, specializes in this area and is investigating how to run complex seismic algorithms while reducing cost and power consumption.
Together with NVIDIA, GeoStar has released a new hardware and software solution based on NVIDIA Tesla GPUs to tackle this problem. The Institute of Geology and Geophysics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has spent recent months testing NVIDIA Tesla GPUs with GeoStar’s solution. In a computation of PSTM data covering 740 square kilometers, 24 Tesla GPUs completed the processing more than 600 times faster than a traditional cluster with 66 CPUs (3.4GHz core clock), a result which CAS researchers believe can be improved through additional tuning. This represents not only a massive boost in performance, but also an unprecedented savings in electricity consumption for powering up the systems and for cooling them as well.
Together, NVIDIA and GeoStar are able to deliver speed increases of 100—400X in PSTM calculations, while using 95 percent less energy and at a lower cost than traditional CPU clusters.