The digital subsurface water-cooler


Back in August 2016 I told you about the Software Underground, an informal, grass-roots community of people who are into rocks and computers. At its heart is a public Slack group (Slack is a bit like Yammer or Skype but much more awesome). At the time, the Underground had 130 members. This morning, we hit ten times that number: there are now 1300 enthusiasts in the Underground!

If you’re one of them, you already know that it’s easily the best place there is to find and chat to people who are involved in researching and applying machine learning in the subsurface — in geoscience, reservoir engineering, and enything else to do with the hard parts of the earth. And it’s not just about AI… it’s about data management, visualization, Python, and web applications. Here are some things that have been shared in the last 7 days:

  • News about the upcoming Software Underground hackathon in London.

  • A new Udacity course on TensorFlow.

  • Questions to ask when reviewing machine learning projects.

  • A Dockerfile to make installing Seismic Unix a snap.

  • Mark Zoback’s new geomechanics course.

It gets better. One of the most interesting conversations recently has been about starting a new online-only, open-access journal for the geeky side of geo. Look for the #journal channel.

Another emerging feature is the ‘real life’ meetup. Several social+science gatherings have happened recently in Aberdeen, Houston, and Calgary… and more are planned, check #meetups for details. If you’d like to organize a meetup where you live, Software Underground will support it financially.


We’ve also gained a website,, where you’ll find a link to sign-up in the Slack group, some recommended reading, and fantastic Software Underground T-shirts and mugs! There are also other ways to support the community with a subscription or sponsorship.

If you’ve been looking for the geeks, data-heads, coders and makers in geoscience and engineering, you’ve found them. It’s free to sign up — I hope we see you in there soon!

Slack has nice desktop, web and mobile clients. Check out all the channels — they are listed on the left:


News of the week

As EAGE wraps up in Vienna, the spring geoscience convention season is now over for the big international petroleum geoscience societies (other recent conferences included AAPG, SPWLA, and Canada's GeoConvention).

Hammer, hand-lens, notebook, Twitter

A feature of this year's meetings has been the growth in Twitter as a news channel. The tweets are split about 50-50 between marketing broadcasts (mostly noise) and geoscientists' own highlights and thoughts (at least some signal). It would be splendid to see more people embrace Twitter as a way to share nuggets of information at big events. Give it a try: start an account and follow a few people. You'll get geoscience goodness from @allochthonous, @clasticdetritus, @rschott, and of course us, @kwinkunks and @EvanBianco.

Geophysics Rocks!

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors (@geophysicsrocks on Twitter) just launched an outreach website called Geophysics Rocks at the EAGE conference and trade show in Vienna this week. The new website was unveiled to thousands of attendees at the expo when more than 20 participating companies simultaneously played this two-minute video on their booth screens. Talk about a collaborative effort! After it was aired, the video URL was scanable via QR code at every booth that played it.

SEG builds e-Communities

The Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) has rolled out an eCommunities page to add another dimension to their site. Members and visitors can now build and search online profiles to boost collaboration with other professionals. Is this just another late-to-the-party social network, with a new set of connections to link and maintain, or can it bring something new? It does have one thing going for it: it tugs at our primal urges for attribution and recognition among our peers. Stand out with outstanding content!

Rock Solid Images praised for rock physics atlas

Rock Solid Images (RSI) have compiled a 90-well Rock Physics & Seismic Response Atlas in support of a new licensing round in the Barents Sea. The report was announced in April and RSI has reported pre-orders of $600k ahead of its July release. The Atlas contains a catalog of forward modeled seismic responses with an emphasis on fluid substitution and saturation effects. The Atlas embodies a novel approach to setting standards of communication and knowledge across a basin. It will place RSI in a good position to sell advanced technologies to, and innovate for, their clients. Clever.

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services.