Competing on computing

July 29, 1999, 09:45 CEST

A consortium with Statoil participation aims to win the contest to establish a new Norwegian super-computer centre.

The Research Council of Norway is due to begin negotiations over the scheme with the Norwegian Super-Computing Consortium (Notur) on 19 August.

This grouping is the brainchild of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Its partners in the venture are the Sintef research foundation, computer company ViewTech and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute as well as Statoil.

A rival consortium formed by the universities of Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim also wants to establish the new centre.

"Involvement with a super-computer would allow us to perform calculations with models we can only dream about today," says John Hybertsen, project manager for Statoil's Notur participation.

"A seismic modelling job in three dimensions currently takes 5.2 years with our most powerful internal computer. The same calculations would require just three months in the planned centre. That opens big opportunities."

Assignments will be handled by the centre for universities, research institutions and commercial clients.

The machine specified for the new facility will be 10 times more powerful than Norway's biggest existing computer. If its bid is successful, Notur aims to set up the centre early next year.

A high-speed link will then connect Statoil's research centre at Rotvoll in Trondheim with the super-computer facility. The group would also secure access to the fundamental expertise being established at the NTNU.