Projects & Research

SIRIUS’ research model

The opportunity for collaboration on technology development, with a short feedback loop across the whole value chain, is a unique feature of SIRIUS: experimental partners will develop innovative technologies; prototyping partners in the the oil and gas industry will showcase new technologies by exploiting them in enhanced product prototypes; piloting partners will evaluate prototypes in real-world deployments. The breadth of complementary expertise within the consortium will allow us to close this cycle by bridging the gap that typically exists between research and industry.

The complexity of the data access challenges found in the oil and gas industry mean that solutions developed for this domain will almost certainly be relevant in other areas, and the involvement of major IT companies in the consortium will ensure the rapid transfer of SIRIUS innovations to other business sectors.

SIRIUS’ innovation pipeline

SIRIUS run a structured program of activities for identifying and capturing project opportunities and developing them into funded, long-term projects and research topics. All SIRIUS projects are governed using an innovation pipeline and we plan to have ongoing activities at all points in the pipeline throughout the life of the centre. An opportunity becomes a project by passing through four activities.

A Road-map activity surveys the available technology, technologies and skills of partners and potential international collaborators, and business needs. Its aim is to identify opportunities for research, collaboration and application within the Centre’s area of interest. The SIRIUS technology road-map will be prepared by an initial activity in Q2 and Q3 2016. The road-map document will then be revised annually to support the SIRIUS strategy board. Four road-map projects are defined in the centre’s work plan. Two of these activities are internal, while the other two ensure coordination with leading international groups: the BYTE project and the Alan Turing Institute.


The broad opportunities identified by the road-map activities will be refined further by a set of Scoping activities. In 2016 scoping activities consist of:

  1. A general scoping activity that will consist of a planned set of workshops and short-term placements of research workers with partner companies. The aim of this activity is to build a common understanding of the SIRIUS Centre’s technological challenges and generate end- user driven proposals for feasibility projects.
  1. Scoping activities for each of the technology strands:
  • Working Practices.
  • Knowledge Representation.
  • Natural Language Technologies
  • Database Technologies.
  • Scalable Computing (HPC and Cloud Computing).
  • Data Science and Machine Learning
  • Execution Modelling and Analysis

A Feasibility activity takes a project idea and develops it to the point where a project plan and request for funding can be delivered to a funding organization. Feasibility activities are of limited duration (normally less than 6 months) and generate a clearly defined deliverable: a project plan and proposal for external or internal funding.

Active research projects

SIRIUS PhD Projects at the University of Oxford

Several Oxford PhD students are actively engaged in SIRIUS research projects, including Alessandro Ronca, who is working on Incremental Reasoning for Continuous Queries, and Anthony Potter, who is working on Materialisation- based Query Answering. Alessandro’s work is still at a relatively early stage (he only started his PhD in October 2015, and since then has had to attend a number of taught courses), but Anthony’s work is rapidly maturing, and since returning from a summer internship at Oracle (in their Redwood Shores campus in California) he has produced several important results.

Visual Query Systems

Vidar Klungre, has started a SIRIUS project at the University of Oslo. The goal of his project is to analyse and improve the usability of the Optique Visual Query System (OptiqueVQS), and similar systems developed within SIRIUS in the future. OptiqueVQS is an ontology-based visual query system, which allows end-users to easily query for data within their company. It is built as a part of EU- funded Optique Project, but will be extended also after Optique is completer in November 2016.

Associated projects