Entries in software (24)


News of the month

Welcome to our more-or-less regular new post. Seen something awesome? Get in touch!

Convention time!

Next week is Canada's annual petroleum geoscience party, the CSPGCSEGCWLS GeoConvention. Thousands of applied geoscientists will descend on Calgary's downtown Telus Convention Centre to hear about the latest science and technology in the oilfield, and catch up with old friends. We're sad to be missing out this year — we hope someone out there will be blogging!

GeoConvention highlights

There are more than fifty technical sessions at the conference this year. For what it's worth, these are the presentations we'd be sitting in the front row for if we were going:

Now run to the train and get to the ERCB Core Research Centre for...

Guided fault interpretation

We've seen automated fault interpretation before, and now Transform have an offering too. A strongly tech-focused company, they have a decent shot at making it work in ordinary seismic data — the demo shows a textbook example:

GPU processing on the desktop

On Monday Paradigm announced their adoption of NVIDIA's Maximus technology into their desktop applications. Getting all gooey over graphics cards seems very 2002, but this time it's not about graphics — it's about speed. Reserving a Quadro processor for graphics, Paradigm is computing seismic attributes on a dedicated Tesla graphics processing unit, or GPU, rather than on the central processing unit (CPU). This is cool because GPUs are massively parallel and are much, much faster at certain kinds of computation because they don't have the process management, I/O, and other overheads that CPUs have. This is why seismic processing companies like CGGVeritas are adopting them for imaging. Cutting edge stuff!

In other news...

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. 


News of the month

A few bits of news about geology, geophysics, and technology in the hydrocarbon and energy realm. Do drop us a line if you hear of something you think we ought to cover.

All your sequence strat

The SEPM, which today calls itself the Society for Sedimentary Geology (not the Society of Economic Palaeontologists and Mineralogists, which is where the name comes from, IIRC), has upgraded its website. It looks pretty great (nudge nudge, AAPG!). The awesome SEPM Strata, a resource for teaching and learning sequence stratigraphy, also got a facelift. 

Hat-tip to Brian Romans for this one.

Giant sand volcano

Helge Løseth of Statoil, whom we wrote about last week in connection with the Source Rocks from Seismic workflow, was recently in the news again. This time he and his exploration team were describing the Pleistocene extrusion of more than 10 km3 of sand onto the sea-floor in the northern North Sea, enough to bury Manhattan in 160 m of sand.

The results are reported in Løseth, H, N Rodrigues, and P Cobbold (2012) and build on earlier work by the same team (Rodrigues et al. 2009). 

Tape? There's still tape??

Yes, there's still tape. This story just caught my eye because I had no idea people were still using tape. It turns out that the next generation of tape, Ultrium LTO-6, will be along in the second half of 2012. The specs are pretty amazing: 8 TB (!) of compressed data, and about 200 MB/s (that's megabytes) transfer rates. The current generation of cartridges, LTO-5, cost about $60 and hold 3 TB — a similar-performing hard drive will set you back more than double that. 

The coolest cluster

Physics enables geophysics in lots of cool ways. CGGVeritas is using a 600 kW Green Revolution Cooling CarnotJet liquid cooling system to refrigerate 24 cluster racks in GRC's largest installation to date. In the video below, you can see an older 100 kW system. The company claims that these systems, in which the 40°C racks sit bathed in non-conductive oil, reduce the cost of cooling a supercomputer by about 90%... pretty amazing.

Awesomer still, this server is using Supermicro's SuperServer GPU-accelerated servers. GPUs, or graphics processing units, have massively parallel architectures (over 1000 cores per server), and can perform some operations much faster than ordinary CPUs, which are engineered to perform 'executive' functions as well as just math.

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. The cartridge image is licensed CC-BY-SA by Wikimedia Commons user andy_hazelbury. The CarnotJet image is from and thought to be fair use.


News of the week

This news feature has settled down into a fortnightly groove. News of the week sounds good, though, so we'll keep the name. Filtered geoscience tech news, every other Friday. Got tips?

Is it hot in here?

Google's philanthropic arm,, sponsored a major study at Southern Methodist University into the geothermal potential of the United States, and the results are in. This was interesting to us, because we've just spent a couple of weeks working our first geothermal project. Characterizing hot rocks is a fascinating and fairly new application of seismic technology, so it's been as much research exercise as interpretation project. From the looks of this beautiful map—which you must see in Google Earth—seismic may see wide application in the future. 

And the possibilties in Google Earth, along with Google SketchUp, for presenting geospatial data shouldn't go unnoticed!

CLAS arrives in OpendTect

A log analysis plug-in for dGB Earth Science's open-source integrated interpretation tool OpendTect was announced at EAGE conference earlier this year, and now it's available. The tool was developed by Geoinfo, a small Argentinian geoscience tech shop, in partnership with dGB. So now you can compute all your seismic petrophysics right in OpendTect.

On a sort-of-related note, Bert Bril, one of dGB's founders, just launched his blog, I can't believe it's not SCRUM, about agile software development. He even posts about geophysics. Yay!

Agile* apps

We're still regularly updating our completely free apps for Android. If you have an Android phone or tablet, go ahead and give them a spin. Volume* (right) is on version 3.1 already, and now does gas volumetrics, including Bg computation, and can grab any of the major crude oil benchmark prices for a quick-look value. And AVO* is just about to get a boost in functionality with an LMR plot; watch this space. Don't hold back if you've got requests. 

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these people or organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. Unless we say we think they're great.


News of the week

Help us stay on top of the latest and greatest: if you hear about something that might make geophysics even awesomer for all of us, drop us a line! In the meantime, here's some news that caught our attention...

Free software goodness

Innovative Australian software shop DownUnder GeoSolutions, aka DUG, is now offering DUG Insight to students for free! As if one amazing free (as in beer) seismic visualization and interpretation tool wasn't enough—you do have OpendTect, right?—now there's another. Just email them a copy of your student ID, and they'll get you started. 

NEWSFLASH  Hard-up students might also like this: Nature Geoscience for $10 a year! 

S-ray vision

OK, it doesn't sound quite as cool as X-ray vision, but S-band microwaves really can see through walls. Sort of. Boffins at MIT demonstrate their claims in this video... it's not geophysics, but another hard inverse imaging problem.

Petrophysics for Dummies

Occasionally while wandering lost in the interweb you stumble on gold. This is gold. Graham Davies was a geoscientist at Enterprise Oil, the plucky British independent exploration company I did my first internship at. He's been recording petrophysics tutorials, and they're 100% brilliant. "Even if you've never heard of petrophysics before," claims Davis.

What the heck is the geoblogosphere?

Not really a geotechnical story, but some readers might be interested to know more about geoscience blogs. A recent research paper, Geißler et al 2011, is a good place to start. The authors, who include übergeoblogger Callan Bentley of the structural geology blog Mountain Beltway, do a terrific job of exploraing the reasons for blogging, the perceptions of employers and supervisors, and every other angle you can think of. 

NEWSFLASH The 315th Where on (Google) Earth geomorphological puzzle went unsolved for 11 days, but was finally solved this morning. Congratulations to Ron Schott, the next episode is yours to host.

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these people or organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. 


News of the week

Some news and views from the world of geoscience this last fortnight.

Open source GIS on a thumb drive

If you ever wanted to get into open source geospatial software but didn't know where to start, check this out. Last month OSGeo, the open source geospatial foundation, released version 5 of their OSGeo-Live project. This is a bootable disk image containing 47 pieces of free software, including several full GIS, world maps, and quick-start guides. Amazing!

Probability and panic

The L'Aquila earthquake of April 2009 killed 308 people. Six seismologists are now on trial for manslaughter, not so much because they failed to predict the quake, but because they allegedly downplayed the risk of a severe event. Most geoscientists believe that we cannot predict earthquakes today; these seismologists are effectively accused of trying to predict a non-earthquake. We don't know, but suspect their intent was misinterpreted—always a danger when specialists communicate with non-specialists. There is no daily coverage of the trial that we are aware of, but there are occasional reports in the press. In this short video, Giustino Parisse explains why he is one of the plaintiffs.

Magical geobloggery

If you're new to blogs—maybe you got a tablet recently and are discovering how easy it is to read the web these days—you might not be aware that there's a lot of geology in the blogosphere. Finding writers you want to read isn't easy though. You could scroll down this page and look for our BLOGROLL for some leads, or head over to Highly Allochthonous and read the latest Accretionary Wedge, a regular meta-post. This month: practical advice for the lifelong learner. 

Communicating rocks

We recently learned of this terrific new book from University of Houston professor Peter Copeland (thanks to his colleague, Rob Stewart, for the tip!). We haven't actually got our hands on it yet, but the Amazon preview has whet our appetites for geo-communication tips galore. The publisher, Prentice Hall, has kept the price to a reasonable amount, close to $35. Get your copy now!

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. Public domain map image from the USGS.