Spanning Boundaries: Beacon Projects

by David Cameron. From Annual Report 2018, written in March 2019.

SIRIUS’ 2017 Annual Report introduced the idea of beacon projects as a way of organizing the innovation work in the centre. Our idea was to identify broad but distinct areas where scalable data access could benefit industry and the wider society. Our scoping work in 2016 and 2017 showed that there were many ideas for how and where SIRIUS could work. We sorted and prioritized these ideas to find those that both had the best links to our research and skills and solved our partners’ industrial problems. The beacons initiated in 2017 have all matured in 2018. In some cases, we have chosen to change the name of the beacon so that it gives a better description of what we are doing.

From 2019 SIRIUS has eight beacon projects:

  1. Geological Assistant (formerly Digital Support for Exploration Processes). We are working on providing a geological assistant that will assist a geologist with workflows and decisions. We have built an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists and geoscientist to work on this. This team participated in a valuable field trip to the Pyrenees.
  2. Subsurface Data Access & Analytics (formerly Access to Exploration Data). SIRIUS is building on the Optique platform for ontology-based data access to demonstrate how national data repositories like DISKOS and data sets like Equinor’s Volve data set can be developed into platforms for exploration, research and innovation. We are also working on analytics of subsurface data, in the first instance with an innovation project with IBM and Equinor on image recognition.
  3. Digital Field & Reservoir Management. In 2017 this beacon consisted solely of a collaborative project that focused on improving the performance of open reservoir simulators on high-performance computers. This work has continued in 2018. In addition, we have also seen that data science and digital twins are of interest in field management and petroleum technology. We have therefore worked with Equinor, Petrobras and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) to define an ambitious program that will define research-based best practices for implementing digital twins for field management.
  4. Integrated Digital Planning. We are continuing our work with Equinor on the application of formal simulation tools for planning of projects, commissioning, maintenance and logistics. This beacon has been strengthened by the involvement of two new partners in SIRIUS: SAP and TechnipFMC.
  5. Digital Twins. The digital twin concept reached the top of Gartner Group’s well-known hype curve in 2018. “Everybody” is building a digital twin of their process, plant or product. Building sustainable and usable digital twins requires high-quality data science and knowledge representation. The alternative is an increased siloing of data. SIRIUS is working to implement a research program that will support the implementation of scalable digital twins.
  6. Digital Field Development (formerly Digital Thread). Much time and effort are devoted to tracking of a design and its requirements through the lifetime of a product, component or system. Preparatory work in 2017 has resulted in the commissioning of a large Joint Industry Project called READI, that is looking at demonstrating how requirements can be digitalized to reduce the cost and improve the performance of engineering, procurement and construction.
  7. Personalized Medicine. SIRIUS’ work in the BigMed lighthouse project continued in 2018. We are using this work to launch further projects that take SIRIUS methods and tools and apply them in a medical context.
  8. Environmental Applications (formerly Arctic Earth Observation). We are continuing our work with the CIRFA centre in Tromsø to incorporate scalable data access and cloud computing in their research and pilot systems. We are also working with NIVA on the application of semantic technologies and data science in the analysis of environmental modelling data.

SIRIUS’ beacon projects span the boundaries between computer science academics, information technology vendors and applications in oil & gas, medicine and environmental applications. They are designed to take the results from SIRIUS’ research programs and show how they can create innovation and changed business models in our partner companies.