Shaheen XC40: winning laurels for Saudi Arabia

Shaheen XC40: winning laurels for Saudi Arabia

Kaust supercomputer hailed

01 August 2015

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Kaust)’s new Cray system is the seventh fastest supercomputer in the world, according to the Top 500 list announced at the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, Germany.

“Shaheen XC40 reaffirms Kaust’s commitment to enabling our researchers and partners with high-performance computing resources,” said the university’s president Jean-Lou Chameau. “It will further enhance our education and research endeavours and support our vision to be a destination for talent and have global impact in science and technology.”

Shaheen XC40’s predecessor, a Blue Gene/P system called Shaheen, is an IBM system in use since Kaust opened in 2009. The first Shaheen was used in a wide range of fields ranging from global climate modeling to the investigation of plasmoids caused by solar wind to petroleum reservoir modeling and bioinformatics of salt and drought-tolerant plants.

A number of Saudi institutions use Kaust’s Shaheen and are expected to continue to accelerate their research on the upgraded Shaheen XC40. Organisations such as King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, King Saud University, King Abdulaziz University and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) already utilise Kaust’s supercomputing capabilities to develop their work and examine new fields of research, further contributing to economic diversification for Saudi Arabia.

The nation’s petrochemical industry also continues to be a major user of high-performance computing (HPC) in the region, with companies like Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) using Kaust’s supercomputing resources to enhance their business in oil and gas and in chemistry and chemical catalysis research.

“Shaheen XC40 will contribute to the enhancement of Saudi Arabia’s major industries and facilitate the nation’s transition towards a knowledge-based economy,” said Kaust vice president for research Jean M Frechet. “The impact of investments like Shaheen and Shaheen XC40 reaches far beyond HPC and into all areas of science. Kaust offers its facilities and outstanding scientific expertise to help strengthen Saudi Arabia’s position as a fast-rising hub for research and innovation.” 

Kaust is an international, graduate-level research university located on the shores of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. It is dedicated to advancing science and technology through interdisciplinary research, education and innovation.

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