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REF NO.: 310
SUBJECT: Memorial University opens advanced visualization laboratory
DATE: April 27
What would it be like to walk around an oil reservoir that’s hundreds of metres below the sea floor, or peer into a human heart or travel through a blood vessel? Imagine being able to fold a DNA molecule to find out how genetic defects work? Researchers at Memorial University of Newfoundland are hoping that a new laboratory will help them do just that. The new Landmark Graphics Visualization Laboratory, the first of its kind at a university, is an immersive visualization laboratory, a scientific IMAX theatre where up to 20 researchers can collaborate and view data in 4D (three spatial dimensions plus a temporal one).
The lab contains a wrap-around screen and special glasses which trick the viewer’s eyes and brain into 4D perception. Simulation research depends on visualization, the process where numerical data is used to create a multi-dimensional image. This new technology will revolutionize how offshore oil and gas reservoirs are studied and understood, allowing researchers at Memorial to analyze images of large volumes of data and conduct detailed simulations. A high performance computer powers the imaging technology by sending graphics data to three digital projection cameras which superimpose them to a large, curved screen to produce the three-dimensional effect.
The $20-million futuristic lab was built with support from Landmark Graphics, IBMCanada and Panoram Technologies Inc., along with the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) through the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF).
Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial University, says the lab represents a commitment that Memorial made when it instituted the Oil and Gas Development Partnership in 2000. “Thanks to our collaborators Landmark Graphics, IBM, Panoram, ACOA and CFI, the Landmark Graphics Visualization Laboratory provides a very strong link between Memorial researchers and the local oil and gas industry,” he said. “In addition to being a significant resource for the oil and gas industry, we are certain that this innovative lab will also assist researchers who are studying ocean circulation, seabed habitat and even those engaged in other areas such as biotechnology and DNAresearch. This laboratory is a cornerstone in building our position as a world leader in visualization and simulation research. On behalf of Memorial University, I thank our world class supporters – Landmark Graphics, IBMCanada and Panoram Technologies – for their generous support.”
Tom Hedderson, minister of the Department of Education for Newfoundland and Labrador, noted the visualization laboratory is an excellent opportunity to advance the future of the oil and gas industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. “I would like to thank Landmark Graphics Corporation for its generous and continued support for Memorial University’s oil and gas research initiatives and for providing yet another valuable learning tool for students and staff of the university,” Minister Hedderson said. “The involvement of our post-secondary institutions in the oil and gas industry is quite extensive and we are making great strides in providing support to this critical industry. With the laboratory’s specialized visualization software from Landmark Graphics Corporation, the university will continue in its role as a leader in petroleum-related education and research, and will expand its reputation as a state-of-the-art training centre for current and future students.”
The Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Atlantic Innovation Fund, of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, through an award to the PanAtlantic Petroleum Systems Consortium, also contributed $2 million to help create the facility.
“The Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the innovative capacity of our universities in ways that benefit our economic development,” said R. John Efford, minister of Natural Resources Canada and regional minister for Newfoundland and Labradoron behalf of the Honourable Joseph McGuire, minister of ACOA. “The Landmark Visualization Laboratory is an excellent example of how government, academia and the private sector can work together to stimulate innovative ideas and activity.”
The facility features $18 million in specialized software from Landmark Graphics Corporation, coupled with innovative computer technology allowing researchers to create precise 3D images of the earth’s subsurface.
“This centre marks the culmination of years of partnership between Landmark and Memorial,” said Peter Bernard, president of Landmark Graphics, a wholly-owned business unit of Halliburton Company. “Because the laboratory represents the very latest in visualization, exploration and production software technology, it will have a significant impact on the research, energy industry, and community as a whole in eastern Canada.”
“Halliburton’s investment in this centre reflects the company’s continued commitment to investing in eastern Canada,” said Brad Bechtold, regional general manager, Canada, of Halliburton – Digital and Consulting Solutions. “Students participating in Memorial’s petroleum engineering program will have access to the very latest in visualization technology.”
IBM Canada contributed Deep Computing Visualization software and IntelliStation workstations for the visualization laboratory along with significant integration support services for the lab's capabilities. “IBM is very proud to be one of the founding contributors to Memorial’s new high tech visualization lab," said Dan Fortin, president, IBM Canada Ltd. "As an innovation leader in the IT industry, IBM looks forward to working with Memorial for years to come and providing them with leading-edge technology solutions."
Panoram Technologies contributed hardware and software for the visualization laboratory, along with significant integration support services for the lab’s capabilities.
The Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (through the Agency Atlantic Innovation Fund) also contributed $2 million to help create the facility. “Today’s opening of the visualization laboratory is a powerful example of what can be achieved through partnerships,” said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, president and CEO of the CFI. “The investment we are celebrating today will strengthen Canada’s capacity to effectively compete locally, nationally and internationally in this important economic sector.”
Dr. Jim Wright, director of major research partnerships at Memorial, said initial projects will focus on existing oil and gas reservoirs. “The Landmark Graphics Visualization Laboratory does more than let us view existing seismic data,” he said. “It opens tremendous opportunities to discover new reserves with no extra drilling or platforms. It’s a very modest investment with the possibility of a very large return.”
Landmark Graphics Corporation
Landmark, a wholly owned business unit of Halliburton since 1996, is the leading supplier of software and services for the upstream oil and gas industry. The company's software solutions span exploration, production, drilling, business decision analysis, and data management. Landmark offers a broad range of consulting services that enable customers to optimize their technical, business and decision processes.
Halliburton, founded in 1919, is one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the petroleum and energy industries. The company serves its customers with a broad range of products and services through its Energy Services Group and Engineering and Construction Group business segments. The company’s Web site can be accessed at www.halliburton.com.
IBMCanada Ltd. is one of Canada’s leading providers of advanced information technology products, services and business consulting expertise. They are dedicated to helping their customers succeed through the end-to-end transformation of their business models and the innovative application of on-demand technology solutions. Headquartered in Markham, Ontario, IBM Canada has nationwide responsibilities for sales, marketing and service.
Their manufacturing and development operations include: a semiconductor packaging plant in Quebec; and world-class software development laboratories in Markham and Ottawa, Ontario. IBM Canada’s three Centres for e-business Innovation are located in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario with industry and technology competency centres in key locations across Canada. IBM Canada is a key contributor to the Canadian economy through significant R&D investment, job creation, use of Canadian suppliers and extensive participation in university research programs.
Panoram Technologies Inc.
Panoram Technologies, Inc. provides a range of advanced visualization technologies designed to let users "see more, understand better, and decide quicker”. This core value proposition cuts across a broad series of unequalled capabilities and technologies.
Panoram's complete array of products includes desktop information appliances, workgroup systems, large-scale visualization facilities, and integration technologies. Using these technologies, Panoram delivers solutions to the oil/gas, government/defense, manufacturing and engineering, and scientific computing sectors. Moreover, Panoram is able to cross-pollinate the needs of commercial, industrial and scientific applications with the needs of government and defense.
Panoram combines a COTS component approach with proprietary integration electronics, software, mechanical and optical technologies to turn off-the-shelf commercial components into powerful visualization tools. Panoram is headquartered in Sun Valley, California, with its European Marketing/Technical Centre in Maidenhead, Berkshire near London as well as its technical support center in Houston, Texas.
Canada Foundation for Innovation
The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and other non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians.
Atlantic Innovation Fund
The Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) is a $300-million, 5-year program designed to strengthen the economy of Atlantic Canada by accelerating the development of knowledge-based industry. The AIF will help increase the region’s capacity to carry out leading-edge research and development that directly contributes to the development of new technology-based economic activity in Atlantic Canada.
The only university in Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial is Atlantic Canada's largest university, with a student enrolment of approximately 17,700 as well as 900 permanent faculty and 1,400 permanent staff. It has campuses in St. John's, Corner Brook and Harlow(England). The Labrador Institute in Happy Valley-Goose Bay provides university services in Labrador. Memorial has several specialized teaching and research facilities, including the Ocean Sciences Centre near St. John’s, the Bonne Bay Marine Station on the west coast of Newfoundlandand a language institute on the French island, St-Pierre. A comprehensive university, Memorial University provides its students with a wide range of programs, including many professional programs. Its more than 55,000 graduates are highly valued nationally and internationally. Research and scholarly activities are broad-based, while focusing on Newfoundland and Labrador's human and natural resources, unique culture and geographical location in the North Atlantic.
Landmark Graphics Visualization Centre
at Memorial University
The Landmark Graphics Visualization Laboratory
Landmark Graphics Corporation working with technology partners IBM and Panoram Technologies has created the first immersive visualization centre in the world based on the commodity parallel computing and graphics rendering. This technology will revolutionalize how offshore oil and gas reservoirs are viewed and simulated, allowing researchers at Memorial to analyze images of large volumes of data and conduct detailed simulations with multiple systems solving problems in a fraction of the time. The facility features $18M in specialized software from Landmark Graphics Corporation, coupled with innovative computer technology allowing immersive projection of images of the earth with 4D animation.
The facility will provide four-dimensional visualization capabilities for petroleum reservoir management. Integrated research teams of geoscientists, engineers and managers will be able to collaborate in a leading-edge immersive environment to better understand structural interpretations, reservoir characterization, directional drilling plans and other issues related to the upstream oil and gas sector.
A high performance computer powers the imaging technology by sending graphics data to three digital projection cameras. The images from the projectors are superimposed on a large, curved screen to produce the three dimensional effect. Within this advanced facility, teams of up to 20 people at a time will be able to view 3D images of the geological structures hidden beneath the seabed.
The laboratory is the first immersive visualization centre in the world based on the commodity parallel computing and graphics rendering.
The university has established six new faculty research positions that support 25 new graduate students who will now have the ability to simulate large volumes of data with numerous variables presented visually.
One of the first projects of the Visualization Laboratory will be simulation of the White Rose reservoir. Also as part of the INCO Innovation Centre mandate, simulation and visualization of the Voisey’s Bay deposits will be performed.
The Visualization Laboratory has almost a terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) of memory equal to 1000 times more than a high-end office computer, which means researchers can have many different simulations with different parameters and animate the simulations, changing the variables as they go.
This will support the work of the recently appointed Canada Research Chair in Reservoir Engineering, Dr. Thormod Johansen; the endowed Husky Energy Chair in Oil and Gas Research, Dr. Phillip Bording; and new faculty positions in the PanAtlantic Petroleum Systems Consortium.
Senior undergraduates, graduates, research fellows and faculty in engineering and earth sciences will make use of this valuable research and teaching tool.
Landmark University Grant – In 2003, Landmark Graphics Corporation, in response to an application from Memorial, donated $13.5 million (US) worth of new software products to MemorialUniversityto support the Visualization Laboratory. The donation includes ProMAX 4D for time-lapse seismic monitoring of reservoirs under production and Geoprobe, enhanced three-dimensional visualization software, which has been designed specifically for this application.
IBM Canada – IBM Canada has contributed hardware and software for the visualization laboratory along with significant integration support for the lab’s capabilities.
Panoram Technologies - Panoram Technologies has donated hardware and software to allow immersive visualization from the IBMDCV graphics rendering.
Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) Awards – The Landmark software grant was partially used as an in-kind contribution for leveraging $2.0 million dollars in awards from CFI and AIF used to create the Visualization Laboratory.
Visualization Laboratory Support - This project has the support of companies active in the local oil and gas sector – notably ExxonMobil, Petro-Canada, EnCana, Husky Energy – as well as the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Mines and Energy.
Memorial’s earth scientists use Landmark software for seismic data processing and analysis and other Landmark geoscience software in geological and geophysical research.
Memorial University of Newfoundland
The Oil and Gas Development Partnership (OGDP) of Memorial University is positioning the university and the provinceof Newfoundland and Labrador as a leading centre of oil and gas expertise. Building upon our historical achievements in petroleum geophysics, harsh environment and cold ocean research, Memorial University is making with important additions to research and teaching capability in reservoir characterization and engineering, petroleum geology and geophysics and the development of autonomous underwater vehicles.
In partnership with private and public organizations, six new chairs in oil and gas research have been recruited, establishment of the specialized executive masters program in oil and gas studies, and domestic and international collaboration is being expanded, answering the needs of industry and government. As we build on our past achievements and regional strengths, the OGDP ensures the highest academic standards for petroleum-related education and research.
With almost 18,000 students, Memorial is the largest university in Atlantic Canada. It provides excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in virtually all academic disciplines, operating five sites: St. John’s, Corner Brook and HappyValley-GooseBay in Newfoundland and Labrador, on the French island of Saint-Pierre, and in Harlow, England. Here students experience a wide variety of learning environments that emphasize experiential learning with internationally recognized strengths in such diverse areas as marine biology, cold ocean studies, native and northern education, community medicine, folklore, genetics and music.
Landmark Graphics Corporation
Landmark is the leading supplier of software and services for the upstream oil and gas industry. The company's software solutions span exploration, production, drilling, business decision analysis, and data management. Landmark offers a broad range of consulting services that enable customers to optimize their technical, business and decision processes.
Landmark’s integrated technology and services offerings are focused on key decision points in the oil and gas lifecycle, facilitating greater teamwork and enabling oil and gas companies around the world to lower their costs, and boost productivity and profitability.
A wholly owned business unit of Halliburton Company since 1996, Houston-based Landmark employs about 2,000 people in more than 50 offices worldwide. Landmark serves customers in over 80 countries, accounting for more than 90 per cent of the industry’s exploration and production enterprises.
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