Welcome to SLIM

The Seismic Laboratory for Imaging and Modelling—SLIM, is a widely recognized world leader in the development of the next generation of seismic acquisition and imaging technology for the oil & gas industry. SLIM’s interdisciplinary research team, with direct involvement of faculty from Computer Science and Mathematics, has leveraged recent developments in transformative fields of compressive sensing and machine learning (‘big data’) to drive innovations in exploration seismology. Integrating broad geophysical insights with cutting edge sampling and computational approaches has led to major improvements (see our mind map) in seismic data acquisition, modelling, imaging, and inversion. The main breakthrough of our approach is a new framework with acquisition and computational costs that are no longer determined by pessimistic sampling criteria. Instead, our costs depend on structure, e.g., sparsity or low rank, exhibited by the final inversion results and these costs will therefore no longer grow uncontrollably with the dimensionality of the inversion problem.

Industry supports our research program via the SINBAD project and has been adapting SLIM’s technology to capture more information from the complex subsurface that was previously unresolvable. Through active collaboration with industry and support, through the DNOISE Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), SLIM has also become a major hub for training the next generation of scientists critical to Canada’s future resource management. SLIM is well connected with scientists locally and internationally through the International Inversion Initiatitve. The combination of cross disciplinary expertise and partnerships puts SLIM in an outstanding position to lead and address fundamental issues related to the quality and cost of seismic data acquisition, and to improve our ability to invert exceedingly large data volumes for crucial subsurface information using wave-equation based inversion techniques such as wave-equation based migration velocity analysis (WEMVA) and full-waveform inversion (FWI). The Dynamic Nonlinear Optimization for Imaging in Seismic Exploration (DNOISE II) project received funding from NSERC in 2010, and matches the contribution from the sponsors of the SINBAD project.

Felix J. Herrmann, Director