HPC Software Survey: Primary Applications— Geophysics


Intersect360 Research surveyed the High Performance Computing (HPC) user community on their software usage for HPC. The complete study analyzes users’ current operating systems, middleware, developer tools, and primary applications across 11 different application domains, including:

  • the overall mix of in-house, open-source, and commercial software
  • the mix of public cloud versus on-premises computing, by application
  • scalability and performance on various processing elements, by application domain
  • the overall adoption of machine learning.

Our goal in this analysis is to provide an in-depth analysis of how HPC software trends. Intersect360 Research surveyed members of the HPC user community worldwide across industry, government, and academia.  The survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2021 and received responses from 238 qualified sites, yielding tens of thousands of data points for analysis with respect to HPC software.

Intersect360 Research defines HPC as the use of servers, clusters, and supercomputers—plus associated software, tools, components, storage, and services—for scientific, engineering, or analytical tasks that are particularly intensive in computation, memory usage, or data management. Intersect360 Research reports available in this HPC Technology Survey report series include the following segmentations:

  • Operating Systems and Middleware: including operating systems, HPC job management tools, workflow and workload management tools, and software for cluster management, monitoring, and provisioning
  • Compilers and Developer Tools: including languages, compilers, and programming environments for HPC software development
  • AI Adoption: including machine learning frameworks and current levels of organizational AI engagement
  • Primary Application Software: 11 distinct reports covering applications used, typical and maximum job scalability, affinity to cloud computing, and impressions of performance by processor type, for 11 application domains, as follows:
    • Primary Application Software—Biosciences: including pharmaceuticals, biochemistry, genomics, agricultural engineering, cryo-EM, etc.
    • Primary Application Software—Business Analytics
    • Primary Application Software—Chemistry
    • Primary Application Software—Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
    • Primary Application Software—Engineering: including computer-aided engineering (CAE), finite element analysis (FEA), noise-vibration-harshness testing (NVH), materials science, etc.
    • Primary Application Software—Finance: including banking, trading, pricing, risk management and value-at-risk (VaR), econometric modeling, insurance, etc.
    • Primary Application Software—Geophysics: including seismic modeling, reservoir simulation, geology, etc.
    • Primary Application Software—Physics: including pharmaceuticals, biochemistry, genomics, agricultural engineering, cryo-EM, etc.
    • Primary Application Software—Scientific Research: including general fields of scientific inquiry not covered elsewhere
    • Primary Application Software—Visualization
    • Primary Application Software—Weather and Climate Modeling: including earth science and ocean modeling

This report provides a detailed examination of primary application software in Geophysics, which is predominantly associated with oil and gas exploration. 76 respondents provided data on applications in the Geophysics category, for a total of 63 unique application mentions, an average of about 0.83 applications per respondent. The primary HPC application types are seismic modeling and reservoir simulation, and we listed 13 primary applications for end users to select from, based on their appearance in prior open-response surveys. Additionally, we received four write-ins of additional applications. In-house application development is also common in Geophysics, though not as thoroughly dominant as in Finance. Intersect360 Research clients should carefully heed the data and insights in this report in planning their future developments for all HPC technologies and services.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                                                                                                   2

TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                                                      4

INTRODUCTION                                                                                                                             6

Methodology                                                                                                                                 6

What Is HPC?                                                                                                                                 8

PRIMARY APPLICATION SOFTWARE: GEOPHYSICS                                                                           9

Overview: Primary Applications                                                                                                      9

Figure 1: Percent of Respondents Reporting Primary Applications in Each Domain                                9

Figure 2: Proportion of Commercial, In-House, and Open-Source Software by Sector                         10

Figure 3: Proportion of Commercial, In-House, and Open-Source Software Across Survey Population, 2010 vs. Today          11

Primary Applications: Geophysics                                                                                                  12

Table 1: Primary Applications: Geophysics                                                                                        12

Job Scalability: Geophysics                                                                                                            12

Figure 4: Typical and Maximum Job Sizes: Geophysics                                                                         13

Table 2: Typical Job Scalability by Application                                                                                   14

Table 3: Maximum Job Scalability by Application                                                                               14

Cloud Affinity: Geophysics                                                                                                            15

Figure 5: Cloud Affinity: Geophysics                                                                                                15

Table 4: Cloud Affinity by Application                                                                                             16

Processing Architecture Affinity: Geophysics                                                                                 16

Figure 6: Processor Architecture Affinity: Geophysics                                                                      17

CONCLUSIONS                                                                                                                              18

APPENDIX A: SURVEY DEMOGRAPHICS                                                                                         19

Figure A1: Economic Sector of Respondent Organization                                                                 19

Figure A2: Number of Employees for Respondent Site and Organization                                             19

Figure A3: Annual HPC Budget for Respondent Site and Organization                                               20

Figure A4: Role of Survey Respondent in Organization                                                                     20

Figure A5: HPC Software Purchasing Responsibility of Respondent                                                    21

APPENDIX B: GEOPHYSICS: SELECTED QUALITATIVE COMMENTS                                                   22