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SEG Working Workshop - Python and Julia for Geophysics - August 8-11, 2018

Working Workshops as opposed to "talking workshops" are meetings where the participants work in small teams to develop new software code or to conduct computational experiments addressing a particular problem. This workshop asks participants to create small groups to identify and address obstacles to more widespread use of Python and Julia in the geophysical community. Results will be shared in lighting talks and code repositories.

This is the sixth year we have organized a working workshop. Information about previous events is at this [website].


Python and Julia are good languages for prototyping and applying selected processing. Lack of good examples that read geophysical data, interface to legacy processing systems, and implement common algorithms are obstacles to more widespread use of these languages in the geophysical community. The objective of this working workshop is to identify and address these obstacles and promote more widespread use of the languages.

Participants brought their laptops and formed small groups. They picked projects and started to make examples of geophysical applications written in Python and Julia. About once a day we all checked in to talk about progress. Sometimes participants collaborated with different groups. After two and a half days we shared results in a lightning talks (five minute presentations). Everyone left the workshop with some new skills, ideas, and acquaintances.

The working workshop provided a forum for geophysicist to learn, contribute, and network.

Link to the original workshop invitation is HoustonWW_2018_i


  • Wednesday afternoon August 8, 2018 1:00-6:00 PM. Optional work session to configure your computer and install open seismic software
    • Do you want help getting your computer up to speed before the working workshop? Come for informal, one-on-one assistance to:
      • Install Linux on your computer.
      • Configure Linux/OSX on your computer.
      • Install Seismic Unix on your computer
      • Install Madagascar on your computer.
      • Install Jupyter and python on your computer.
      • Install a virtual Linux system on your Windows computer that will allow you to experiment with a Linux development environment.
  • Thursday August 9, 2018 (working workshop starts)
    • 8:30-9:00 Coffee
    • 9:00-10:00 Introductions, project proposals, and team formations
    • 10:00-12:00 Breakout into work teams
    • 12:00-1:00 Lunch (provided)
    • 1:00-2:00 Group discussion
    • 2:00-5:30 Breakout into work teams
  • Friday August 10, 2018
    • 8:30-9:00 Coffee. Reform teams.
    • 9:00-12:00 Breakout into work teams
    • 12:00-1:00 Lunch (provided)
    • 1:00-2:00 Group discussion
    • 2:00-5:30 Breakout into work teams
    • 6:00-8:00 Dinner
  • Saturday August 11, 2018
    • 8:30-9:00 Coffee. Reform teams.
    • 9:00-12:00 Breakout into work teams
    • 12:00-1:00 Lunch (provided)
    • 1:00-2:00 Finalize lightning talks
    • 1:00-3:00 Lighting talks

Synopsis of Results with Links

Derek Parks

Some participants found the current BIOS on windows computers would not allow them to boot Linux from a USB solid state disk. Derek created a virtual system that provided a platform that performed for the workshop. This virtual system can be downloaded at the link [link to be created].

Derek Parks and Mark Mlella

Derek and Mark created Jupyter notebooks with Python to read the Teapot Dome 3D segy final volume and displayed using Matplotlib and Mayavi. They also read horizon data which they used to flatten horizons and display stratal slices. They created the amplitude envelope and spectral decomposition volumes and displays. Their presentation is available at the link [1].

Matt Griffiths

Matt experimented with Apache Spark, a parallel processing tool, that can be used on seismic data. Spark can be run on a cluster of a single PC with multiple cores. He found it easy to covert his code to run in parallel. His Principle Component Analysis ran about 3 times faster on his computer. His presentation is available at the link [2].
His spark code is at the link [3].
He also experimented with a simple 3D seismic viewer based on pywidgets and matplotlib. This code is available at the link [4].

Lian Jiang

Lian worked on Facies classification using Machine Learning. He used a neural net to address the ML challenge data set from the Brendan Hall's Leading Edge Article. Ran trading experiments searching for the best results varying hyper parameters like learning_rate, epochs, and batch_size. Encouraging results are in his presentation at [5].

Carlos da Costa

Sergey Fomel and Karl Schleicher

Contact us

If you have some ideas about future working workshops, tell us about it! Send email to seismic.working.workshop@gmail.com.

Workshow Location and Dates

The workshop was held in rooms 218 and 219 in Farish Hall at the University of Houston. August 8-11, 2018.

Supporting Organizations

Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin


Society of Exploration Geophysicists

SEG Logo Horizontal SM.png

SEG Wavelets

SEG Wavelets is the University of Houston's SEG student chapter. It is devoted to promoting education in exploration geophysics. We work with professional organizations, industry professionals, University of Houston faculty, and other student organizations to bring students educational, social, and possible future employment opportunities. More details can be found on our website.