Engineer at Total E&P
In 2013, Total E&P attracted a lot of attention by competing in the Top 500 with a 2.3 petaflop system named “Pangea” – the largest known supercomputer system in a commercial organization. Aside from the shear capability and capacity of a machine of this size, rarely do commercial organizations make public something as competitively strategic as a system of this magnitude. We caught up with one of the personalities behind this system, Diego Klahr, to discuss the system and what they’re planning in 2014.
HPCwire: Diego, Total turned a lot of heads with Pangea. That amount of power (2.3 pflop) has cast Total as a company with a lot of muscle. How are you using that muscle? What do you have planned for 2014?
Diego Klahr: The goal with all this computing power is to reduce the uncertainty of Oil and Gas exploration and production. In fact the more muscle we have the more physical phenomena we can take in account in our simulation and the more accurate we are.
In 2014 we will continue going to the fitness center but for the moment only to maintain our power.
HPCwire: Having that kind of computing power has got to be disruptive from an organizational standpoint, suddenly being able to do things in days that previously took months to do. What kind of challenges are you facing in this regard?
Diego Klahr: We were well prepared for the arrival of this machine, all the team made a tremendous job from the deployment of the infrastructure to the optimization of the codes.
It really answers to a need that was expressed by our geoscientists.
HPCwire: As you look down the road at 2014 and beyond, what are the trends developing that you see as important for your company, and how do you plan to leverage those trends?
Diego Klahr: The next HPC step for us will be to adapt our algorithms to the many core architectures. Because the Oil and Gas simulation are very I/O and memory bound this will be a challenge to make the most of the hardware which will appear in the next years.
HPCwire: On a personal note, can you talk about your personal life? Your family, background, any hobbies?
Diego Klahr: I am 41 years old, married for 11 years and I have 2 children. I have joined Total 2 years ago after 15 years spent in different companies. I always worked in HPC ecosystem from development to system administration and architecture. When I don’t work, I like to prepare meals and eat surrounded by family and friends.
HPCwire: One last question – is there anything about yourself that you can share that you think your colleagues would be surprised to learn?
Diego Klahr: One thing that could surprise (or not ! ) my colleagues is that I did not touch any computer nor keyboard before I was 22 years old.