[SIGCIS-Members] petroleum and computers

Geoffrey C. Bowker gbowker at pitt.edu
Tue Sep 14 05:53:35 PDT 2010

  Hi folks,

I don't know about the largest, but certainly at the forefront.  I'd 
look to Schlumberger and their and my nemesis Halliburton.  Schlumberger 
produced the first real intelligent system (Prospector) and were big on 
analogue computers when the latter were in their prime.  There is a huge 
amount of number crunching in seismic and electric subsurface 
computing.  I doubt that they'd exceed the insurance industry (which  
everyone forgets coz it's so prosaic).  I wrote a book lo these many 
years called Science on the Run which was about the first 20 years of 
Schlumberger; there is also a more generic history (mine is quirky) 
which goes longer, but have forgotten the title.

take care,


On 9/13/2010 11:27 PM, Coopersmith, Jonathan wrote:
> Debbie,
>    The oil industry has been instrumental in advancing 4-d imaging which is real heavy data crunching.  I can't give you specifics, but I would not be surprised that it was the largest user in the pre-Google era.  I know (and can give a secondary cite) that in the 1970s the oil industry used encryption to fax logging data from ships and rigs to research labs and their computers.
>     Jonathan
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Deborah Douglas<ddouglas at MIT.EDU>
> To: members at sigcis.org
> Sent: Mon, 13 Sep 2010 17:47:25 -0500 (CDT)
> Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] petroleum and computers
> Colleagues,
> Recently, I received a question about a claim that the petroleum-
> seeking geophysics industry was once the greatest consumer of
> computers, only surpassed at some later point by the federal
> government.  No citation was given and there is quite a bit of
> skepticism but where would you advise us to look to refute this claim
> (or perhaps my own aerospace bias is too strong and the claim is true!).
> Thanks,
> Debbie Douglas
> Deborah G. Douglas, Ph.D.
> Curator of Science and Technology
> MIT Museum, N51-209
> 265 Massachusetts Avenue
> Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
> ddouglas at mit.edu •  617-253-1766 phone  •  617-253-8994 fax
> http://web.mit.edu/museumhttp://webmuseum.mit.eduhttp://museum.mit.edu/150
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