Three EU Industries That Need HPC Now

The success of High Performance Computing (HPC) relies in no small part on the OpenPOWER Foundation, which was founded in 2013. The reason this open ecosystem is so important is that it provided members open access to the IBM POWER8 technology, which resulted in huge advances in innovation. One of those innovations came in the form of the NVIDIA GPU accelerator, which not only provides improved graphics capabilities, but also assumes some of the computational load stemming from simulations. IBM POWER8 servers are already capable of clock speeds of more than 4GHz and of providing 96 simultaneous threads. Include NVIDIA Tesla GPU Accelerators, and the result is an HPC system that is extremely fast, which ends up solving some tricky problems in three key industries.

Auto Industry Product Design and Testing
The EU auto industry faces increasing pressures to provide more fuel-efficient and safer vehicles, while at the same time providing new products like reliable, electric vehicles and even self-driving vehicles. Although the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) continues to predict growth in the EU market, margins of 1-3% keep EU auto manufacturers looking for ways to gain efficiencies and cut costs.

One place the answers to these challenges can be found is in the ability to consume and make sense of data from a multitude of sources, and do it quickly and effectively. Fuel efficiency, for instance, is a product of data from not only engine components, but also braking systems, batteries, tires and the external environment as well. Self-driving cars must handle even more complex datasets, and they must do it in a reliable and safe way.

There's HPC. And there's HPC on POWER. IBM.

HPC is built to handle the data from all of these sources so engineers can use that data in structural design, computer-aided design (CAD), finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, test-driven design and all the other complex analyses that go into the design and testing of these complex products.

Pharmaceutical Trials
With pharmaceutical industry growth expected from emerging markets in Brazil, Russia, India, China, Mexico and Turkey (the BRIC-MT countries), EU pharmaceutical companies have to focus more than ever on making sure they produce safe, effective drugs more quickly. This translates into a need to analyze highly complex molecular data efficiently and accurately, as well as matching new medicines to compatible patients.

Using 3D molecular dynamics simulations to understand the molecular structure of a protein and what its role is in fighting disease is just one of the applications of HPC in the pharmaceutical industry. The ability to visualize protein structures is critical in cancer research, as is the understanding of how protein structures move and interact with other structures in the human body. Once a new medicine is developed, finding patients with the right protein and gene structures is equally as important to the development of a successful drug. But there are massive amounts of data to be analyzed, and that requires unprecedented computing power in order to create working drugs quickly and safely.

Using HPC, the pharmaceutical industry is able to bring effective drugs to patients in need faster, thereby saving more lives and improving quality of life.

Oil and Gas
The UK oil and gas industry continues to face increasing pressures in the form of risks and operational challenges stemming from creating more creative methods for discovering sources that are only becoming more elusive, while at the same time dealing with increasingly stringent regulatory controls being implemented to improve safety and protect the environment. A 60% drop in per barrel prices have led many enterprises to refocus on cutting costs while becoming more efficient at discovering new sources of oil and gas. The industry currently produces four times the rate that new reserves are being discovered, which pushes exploration directly to the forefront of enterprise initiatives.

It is not unusual for oil and gas companies to have to handle petabytes worth of data involving exploration, retrieval, safety and compliance.

In an industry that is only a few decades past low recovery rates, and where margins continue to restrict, using HPC to handle the massive amounts of data that contain the answers to reducing risk while improving ROI makes sense.

Auto, pharmaceutical and oil and gas are all EU industries that face huge challenges around managing risk, improving time to market and ensuring the highest quality, all while preventing slippage in ROI. HPC helps address all of those issues by providing incredible processing speeds that help business leaders make sense of massive amounts of data to make faster and more accurate decisions than ever before.

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Special thanks to IBM for sponsoring this blog, a series independently written by Linux Journal.
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