Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Delft mathematician simplifies the search for oil


Mathematical research at Delft University of Technology is making it easier to look for oil. Yogi Ahmad Erlangga, who receives his doctorate on Thursday 22 December, has developed a method of calculation which enables computers to solve a crucial equation much faster. In the past, this stumped oil company computers.

Funded by Shell and SenterNovem, Erlangga’s research is pure mathematics. It all centres on the so-called Helmholtz equation. Solving this is important in interpreting the acoustic measurements taken when prospecting for oil. Sound waves are transmitted into the ground and their reflections recorded as they return to the earth’s surface. Analysis of this data enables specialists to locate oil deposits.

In the past, these measurements have been taken two-dimensionally. Effectively, the earth was surveyed as a series of flat layers. But the oil companies would rather use a faster method involving three-dimensional blocks. Until recently, though, their computers were not powerful enough to do that. Solving the Helmholtz equation requires huge arithmetical capacity.

As part of his PhD research, Erlangga has succeeded in making the method of calculation used to solve the Helmholtz equation a hundred times faster. And that finally makes it possible for firms like Shell to use 3D calculations when prospecting for oil. So it seems highly likely that oil companies will express an interest in exploiting Erlangga’s work.

But other applications are also conceivable. This is because the Helmholtz equation is used to describe many kinds of wave. Not just acoustic ones, as in the oil example, but also electromagnetic waves including visible light. It is quite feasible, therefore, that Erlangga’s work could be applied to lasers – in data storage on a Blu-ray Disc, for example – or to radar measurements in aviation.

“Given the responses we have had from industry and foreign universities,” says Dr Kees Vuik, Erlangga’s PhD supervisor, “we believe that a thirty-year-old problem has been solved in this work.”

Maarten van der Sanden | alfa
Further information:

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>