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Site: http://www.scientificcomputing.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

Viable energy production has now become a computing challenge as more energy companies across the globe are facing challenging times with the low price of oil. As a result, many energy companies are searching for new ways to reduce their production costs. The average oil well costs hundreds of million dollars before the first drop of oil is even pumped, but innovative computing technologies, such as supercomputing, can greatly reduce these expenditures. For example, supercomputing can process massive amounts of data to identify reserves below the surface and help predict the way they will behave. This often reduces the need for expensive and time consuming drilling in the discovery phase, which does not always result in oil found. Total, one of the largest integrated oil and gas companies in the world, announced they are boosting the compute power of their SGI Pangea supercomputer with an additional 4.4 petaflops provided by a new SGI ICE X system and based on the Intel Xeon processor. Purchased last year, the new SGI system is now in production and will allow Total to determine the optimal extraction methods more quickly. The SGI supercomputer allows Total to improve complex modeling of the subsurface and to simulate the behavior of reservoirs, reducing the time and costs associated with discovering and extracting energy reserves. SGI solutions are designed to meet the complex and data-intensive challenges of the energy industry. Whether processing new data, archiving raw seismic data or running geographic simulations in rough or unchartered territories, SGI provides integrated, scalable high-performance computing, storage and visualization capabilities. SGI offers energy customers like Total deeper insights into the data so they can make more informed decisions that move energy reserves into production in less time. For more than a decade, Total has used high-performance computing (HPC) technologies from SGI to help efficient decision-making in the exploration of complex geological areas. Used by Total’s Seismic Imagery and Interpretation department, SGI will boost Pangea’s earlier SGI HPC system with an additional SGI ICE X supercomputer at its Jean Feger Scientific and Technical Research Center, located in Pau, France. The updated Pangea supercomputer has grown from its initial 2.3 petaflops in 2013 to provide an impressive 6.7 petaflops of computer power. Today, Pangea is one of the top 35 most powerful supercomputers in the world; according to the November 2015 TOP500 list. Pangea is a complete SGI solution, including professional services, installation services, customer support, data management, storage and compute. The updated system has the equivalent processing power of approximately 80,000 personal computers and storage capacity equivalent to approximately 27 million compact discs. The previous Pangea supercomputer was a 2.3 petaflop system based on the Intel Xeon E5-2670 v1 processor which consisted of 110,592 cores and contains 442 terabytes of memory built on SGI ICE X. Now, one of the world's fastest commercial distributed memory supercomputers, Pangea is supported by M-Cell technology and the Intel Xeon Processor E5-2600 v3 product family. The data management solution offers 18.4 petabytes of usable storage capacity including SGI InfiniteStorage 17000 disk arrays with Intel Enterprise Edition for Lustre File system, and SGI DMF tiered storage virtualization. To learn more, view the Total announcement.

News Article | August 30, 2016
Site: http://motherboard.vice.com/

Long before birds took to the air, pterosaurs ruled the skies. This enterprising group of reptiles emerged in the Triassic period and exploded into a spectacular diversity of forms over the next 160 million years, until they were wiped out alongside the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous by a massive asteroid strike. To facilitate flight, pterosaur bones were lightweight and fragile, like a bird’s. But those important qualities also mean that decent fossils from these extraordinary animals are extremely rare, especially among species with smaller, more delicate frames. Every now and then, however, the fossil record literally throws paleontologists a bone. A team led by Elizabeth Martin-Silverstone, a palaeobiology PhD student based at the University of Southampton, presents just such a lucky find with new research published Tuesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science. The study describes the partial skeleton of a pterosaur with a relatively diminutive wingspan of 1.5 meters (five feet) unearthed on Hornby Island in British Columbia. “It likely does represent a new species, but we have chosen not to name it due to the fragmentary nature of the specimen,” Martin-Silverstone told me. “However, the size and morphology does suggest it is a new animal.” The unnamed flyer lived about 77 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period. It belonged to a family of pterosaurs called the azhdarchoids, which produced the largest airborne creatures known, including the surreal Quetzalcoatlus northropi with its staggering 40-foot wingspan. Many azhdarchoids appear to have evolved disproportionately large heads, as illustrated by this delightful scale comparison of the new species with a house cat. “There really hasn’t been any work done on exactly why these animals would have had such big heads, just that we know from complete specimens that they did,” Martin-Silverstone told me. “We also know how they got so big—their heads were full of sinuses and air, keeping them light. But as for why, that is currently unknown and would just be speculation at this point.” Though only the humerus, dorsal vertebrae, and some other stray skeletal parts from this small pterosaur have survived, close examination revealed that this animal was almost fully mature when it died, and was not a juvenile of a larger species like Quetzalcoatlus. The humerus of the Hornby Island pterosaur. Image: Elizabeth Martin-Silverstone et al. Adult pterosaurs with wingspans under two meters are scarce in Cretaceous formations, particularly in coastal British Columbia. Finding one suggests that small pterosaurs may have been as common as their more easily preserved (and much bigger) relatives, although they’re trickier to find. This is essential information for researchers interested in reconstructing the rich ecological puzzle of this period. Though pterosaurs pioneered powered flight long before birds first spread their wings, the two clades were fighting over many of the same niches during the Cretaceous, so it’s important to know as much as possible about the sizes and shapes represented in each lineage. “Other areas where pterosaurs are found at this time, like the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, have a documented bias against small animals,” Martin-Silverstone explained. “Since pterosaurs are already poorly preserved due to their hollow bones, this suggests that small pterosaurs would be even less likely [to be] preserved. In this case, I think we’re just lucky.” This has been a big week for for pterosaur admirers. A separate team led by paleontologist Laura Codorniú of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Buenos Aires described another new species, named Allkaruen koi, in research published in PeerJ. Though this animal hails from the Jurassic period and was found in Patagonia, Argentina, it is similar to the Hornby Island pterosaur in size, with a wingspan of only a few meters. These exciting discoveries help to round out our understanding of the mind-boggling diversity of pterosaurs, both large and small, that shared Mesozoic Earth with the dinosaurs, along with early birds and mammals. They haven’t flown in our skies for millions of years, but fortunately, that doesn’t mean the fantastic legacy of these creatures has been erased.

Halis Y.,Scientific and Technical Research | Benhaddya M.L.,Scientific and Technical Research | Bachi O.E.,Scientific and Technical Research | Lahcini A.,Scientific and Technical Research | And 2 more authors.
Trees - Structure and Function | Year: 2014

Key message By using a simple and rapid technique, the degree of vessel deviations in the stem xylem could be evaluated and compared between different plant species. The degree of vessel deviations was suggested to be one of the main factors determining the hydraulic integration in woody stems. Abstract The main objective of this study was to investigate the role of vessel tangential deviations in determining both intervessel connectivity and patterns of hydraulic integration in woody stems of six Fabaceae trees. It was hypothesized that increasing the degree of vessel deviations would increase lateral contacts between vessels thereby increasing hydraulic integration within stems. Species-specific differences in vessel deviations and intervessel connectivity were quantified by following the movement of an apoplastic dye that was injected to a limited number of vessels. Intervessel connectivity was measured as the number of laterally connected vessels, whereas the degree of vessel deviations was measured as the magnitude of divergence of a group of neighboring vessels. Hydraulic integration index was determined as the ratio of tangential to axial conductance. Results showed that the degree of vessel deviations differed significantly between species. Acacia cyanophylla showed the lowest degree of vessel deviations (1.75 ± 0.33), while the highest degree was observed in Acacia etbaica (2.48 ± 0.26). Hydraulic integration was positively correlated more with vessel deviations than with intervessel connectivity. Only a very weak positive correlation was observed between vessel deviations and intervessel connectivity. Tangential deviations in the course of vessels might be one of the main factors determining the patterns of integrated-sectored transport in woody stems and, consequently, might have ecological implications in terms of plant adaptation to various ecological conditions. This study confirmed the complexity of interactions in the xylem hydraulic system. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014. Source

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