CONOCO Touts Powerful Computer

Article excerpt

PONCA CITY (AP) -- Alan Huffman's charge three years ago was to come up with a computer that would allow Conoco to do its business "faster, better and cheaper."

Mission accomplished. Thanks to work by 30 employees, Conoco now has the largest, most powerful Intel-based computer in the petroleum industry.

"The big issue used to be how fast is your machine? How large was your machine? Now, it is not a problem anymore," said Huffman, who is overseeing replacement of the oil company's computer system.

The computer's capacity is comparable to 500 billion people, each using a hand-held calculator to complete one calculation per second each.

The new computer will be eight to 10 times more powerful than the previous computer. Huffman said geological surveys that took nine months to compile and analyze now can be finished in eight to 10 weeks.

The computer is housed at Conoco's plant in Ponca City. Sections of the computer can be broken off and transported off site so data can be processed immediately anyplace in the world.

"The new computer will allow us to... see things that we couldn't see before," said Huffman, who manages the company's Seismic Imaging Technology Center. …