RGU joins forces with IBM to boost smart data technology research

The university launched its new Smart Data Technologies Centre this week, which aims to bring the benefits of analysing and mining vast quantities of data to industry.

The Centre will focus on Big Data Analytics, particularly for the oil and gas sector. It is intended that the industry will secure huge efficiencies from the use of analytics to extract added value for processes such as increasing speed to first oil, enhancing production, improved asset maintenance and reliability, reducing risks in health and safety and the environment, and reducing costs.

Professor Ian Allison, head of the School of Computing Science and Digital Media, said: “Computer science at RGU has an excellent track record of delivering research and development with our commercial partners. The investment RGU is making in this Centre will support our ambition for the city of Aberdeen to be a global leader in the exploitation of smart data technologies for oil and gas.

“We are building a series of strategic partners to help grow our capacity and capabilities faster. IBM has been working with us for over a year to help shape the Centre and identify potential projects as part of their commitment to RGU and the Aberdeen area. They are the first of what we hope will be a set of key IT and energy partners to become core partners in this venture.”

John Brantley, General Manager, IBM Chemicals and Petroleum Industries, said: “IBM is excited to be collaborating with Robert Gordon University to further the development of innovative solutions for the oil and gas industry. IBM’s capabilities and world class research particularly around big data and analytics will fully support RGU’s interests and research leadership for their Smart Data Technologies Centre.”

‘Big Data’ is a general term relating to datasets that are characterised by the “three Vs” – high volume of data, high velocity of data generation, and high variety from highly heterogeneous data and different sources.

The oil and gas industry has identified a strong business need to make use of the vast data generated by exploration and production operations, with offshore installations providing terabytes of data daily.

The Smart Data Technologies Centre will launch with a core team of up to 10 research staff, alongside business development and administrative support, building on RGU’s expertise in data modelling, smart information systems and knowledge management.

It will provide a collaborative facility involving academic and industry partners, where there will be purpose-driven research aimed at solving key technical challenges in the monitoring and management of subsea fields. The initiative is aligned with The Data Lab, a forthcoming national innovation centre in data science, which will see a hub located at RGU.

Neil Logan, Chief Technology Officer at Lockheed Martin UK and Chairman of The Data Lab, said: “RGU has an outstanding reputation in data science and this coupled with their long-standing industry relationships make the new Centre for Smart Data Technologies hugely exciting.

“As Chairman of The Data Lab, Scotland’s data science innovation centre, RGU was the obvious location for our north-east hub and I’m convinced that with The Data Lab and RGU working together in partnership we can help industry in the north-east realise the transformational benefits big data can bring.”

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of RGU, added: “As the enormous potential of data analytics is increasingly recognised by industry and by government, RGU intends to play a leadership role in securing the benefits for the oil and gas industry. This will enhance the standing of the university, but will also support Scotland’s plans for economic growth and success.”

Further information about the Smart Data Technologies Centre can be found here.