What’s happening at TRANSFORM?

Last week, I laid out the case for naming and focusing on an open subsurface stack. To this end, we’re hosting TRANSFORM, an unconference, in May. At TRANSFORM, we’ll be mapping out the present state of things, imagining the future, and starting to build it together. You’re invited.This week, I want to tell you a bit more about what’s happening at the unconference.BYOS: Bring Your Own SessionWe’ll be using an unconference model. If you come…

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The open subsurface stack

Two observations:Agile has been writing about open source software for geology and geophysics for several years now (for example here in 2011 and here in 2016). Progress is slow. There are lots of useful tools, but lots of gaps too. Some new tools have appeared, others have died. Conclusion: a robust and trusted open stack is not going to magically appear. People — some of them representing large corporations — are talking more than ever…

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What is the fastest axis of an array?

One of the participants in our geocomputing course asked us a tricky question earlier this year. She was a C++ and Java programmer — we often teach experienced programmers who want to learn about Python and/or machine learning — and she worked mostly with seismic data. She had a question related to the performance of n-dimensional arrays: what is the fastest axis of a NumPy array?I’ve written before about how computational geoscience is not ‘software…

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2018 retrospective

It’s almost the end of another trip around the sun. I hope it’s been kind to you. I mean, I know it’s sometimes hard to see the kindness for all the nonsense and nefariousness in <ahem> certain parts of the world, but I hope 2018 at least didn’t poke its finger in your eye, or set fire to any of your belongings. If it did — may 2019 bring you some eye drops and a…

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The London hackathon

At the end of November I reported on the projects at the Oil & Gas Authority’s machine learning hackathon in Aberdeen. This post is about the follow-up event at London Olympia.Like the Aberdeen hackathon the previous weekend, the theme was ‘machine learning’. The event unfolded in the Apex Room at Olympia, during the weekend before the PETEX conference. The venue was excellent, with attentive staff and top-notch catering. Thank you to the PESGB for organizing…

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90 years of seismic exploration

Today is an important day for applied geoscience. For one thing, it’s St Barbara’s Day. For another, 4 December is the anniversary of the first oil discovery drilled on seismic reflection data.During World War 1 — thanks to the likes of Reginald Fessenden, Lawrence Bragg, Andrew McNaughton, William Sansome and Ludger Mintrop — acoustics emerged as a method of remote sensing. After the war, enterprising scientists looked for commercial applications of the technology. The earliest…

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I’m dreaming of a blueschist Christmas

The festive season is speeding towards us at the terrifying rate of 3600 seconds per hour. Have you thought about what kind of geoscientific wonders to make or buy for the most awesome kids and/or grownups in your life yet? I hope not, because otherwise this post is pretty redundant… If you have, I’m sure you can think of <AHEM> at least one more earth scientist in your life you’d like to bring a smile…

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The Scottish hackathon

On 16−18 November the UK Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) hosted its first hackathon, with Agile providing the format and technical support. This followed a week of training the OGA provided — again, through Agile — back in September. The theme for the hackathon was ‘machine learning’, and I’m pretty sure it was the first ever geoscience hackathon in the UK.Thirty-seven digital geoscientists participated in the event at Robert Gordon University; most of them appear…

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TRANSFORM 2019

Yesterday I announced that we’re hatching a new plan. The next thing. Today I want to tell you about it. The project has the codename TRANSFORM. I like the notion of transforms: functions that move you from one domain to another. Fourier transforms. Wavelet transforms. Digital subsurface transforms. Examples:The transformative effect of open source software on subsurface science. Open source accelerates our work!The transformative effect of collaborative, participatory events on the community. We can make…

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The next thing

Over the last several years, Agile has been testing some of the new ways of collaborating, centered on digital connections: It all started with this blog, which started in 2010 with my move from Calgary to Nova Scotia. It’s become a central part of my professional life, but we’re all about collaboration and blogs are almost entirely one-way, so…In 2011 we launched SubSurfWiki. It didn’t really catch on, although it was a good basis for…

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