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iSGTW Feature - Geocluster open for business

Feature - Geocluster open for business


Two-dimensional images can be hard to interpret.
Image courtesy of CGGVeritas

Last summer, CGGVeritas (Compagnie Générale de Géophysique-Veritas), the first business to develop an industrial application with Enabling Grids for E-sciencE, opened its doors to clients.

"Everything is set for our sales team," says Gaël Youinou, software manager at CGGVeritas. "I expect that the first contracts with clients will be signed before the end of the year."

The company developed software that processes seismic data, which comes from a variety of sources, including trucks that mechanically send sound-waves into the earth with the use of large, hydraulics devices, and ship-borne "airguns" that fire at regular intervals just below the water's surface as the vessel moves along pre-determined survey lines.

Regardless of the source of the sound-waves, or whether they take place on land or sea, the principle is the same: The reflected compression wave they create is detected by a network of sensors, forming a signal. It's much like radar.

And just like radar, the trick lies in the processing of the signal, distinguishing it from background noise, storing and interpreting the information, and putting it all into a format easily understood by humans.

Three-dimensional images can be much easier for humans to comprehend. Image courtesy of CGGVeritas

From 2-D to 3-D

CGGVeritas' software, known as Geocluster, accomplishes this by creating three-dimensional underground maps which outline properties of the subsurface, along with the locations of oil and gas reserves. A sister application, known as Reservoir Simulation, models how these reserves will evolve throughout the drilling process, enabling more efficient extraction. The data is then interpreted by a geophysicist who directs the exploratory company where to drill.

Both Geocluster and Reservoir Simulation were developed to operate in a grid environment using gLite, by the virtual organization EGEODE, using EGEE's infrastructure as a research environment and testbed. Members of the virtual organization come from both the business sector, such as Youinou, and from six academic laboratories.

CGGVeritas will sell the application software as a package or a service. CGGVeritas has used EGEE's gLite middleware to develop a separate infrastructure for businesses. They offer their service via a web portal

"This is a huge benefit to the client," says Youinou. "Beyond the ability to process data quicker, without managing new IT hardware and software, he can access data wherever and whenever and can easily collaborate with distant colleagues. In the end, their business will be more flexible and they will be able to reach the market more quickly."

The work is a partner of the BEinGRID project, which focus on the benefits of grid technology for business.

-Danielle Venton, EGEE

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