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From Prototyping to Analytics to Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulations: An Integrated Wolfram Workflow for Deepwater Drilling

Robert Prince-Wright, Managing Partner, Berkeley & Imperial

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"I think the key advantage of the Wolfram Language is the elegance of the language and the fact that it is so well structured and thought through."
The Wolfram Edge
  • Prince-Wright is impressed with the start-to-finish workflow of the Wolfram System: "The idea that you can write code in the Wolfram Language, export it to SystemModeler, and then embed it on a microcontroller is pretty remarkable."
  • He appreciates how the Wolfram Notebook interface lets him "present results in a dynamic or graphical way that would be difficult in a spreadsheet."
  • Prince-Wright calls the combined workflow of the Wolfram Language and SystemModeler "streamlined," letting him build models "in time frames most people would be surprised by."
Who Can Benefit
  • Petroleum exploration and production (E&P) engineers
  • Safety and systems engineering specialists
  • Mechanical and industrial system architects

Challenge

As Managing Partner for Berkeley & Imperial, Robert Prince-Wright oversees safety and systems testing for deepwater drilling rigs. He was looking for a way to run hardware-in-the-loop simulations that would rigorously test his clients' systems. Achieving this requires a multi-physics system capable of turning theory into models that allow simulating, analyzing and realizing complex engineering systems, all aided by clear documentation and presentation of results.

Solution

By leveraging the Wolfram Language for prototyping and SystemModeler for running simulations, Prince-Wright is able to build and improve models in a fraction of the time. He notes that the Wolfram Language "accelerates the learning process," with its readability and consistent structure allowing engineers and programmers to collaborate on faster, more accurate models. The team can start from an initial concept, record their process in Wolfram Notebooks and immediately send models to SystemModeler.

In contrast to the spreadsheet-based workflows common in the petroleum industry, working in the Wolfram System has guaranteed compatibility throughout for a smooth, uninterrupted process. And with the range of analysis, interfaces and visualizations available in the Wolfram Language, the team is able to gain value-adding insights into system performance and robustness. He points out that clients also seem impressed with the quality and scope of their results: "They say that the way we've solved problems and presented solutions has been excellent."

Benefits

Prince-Wright chose Wolfram technology because of the tight integration between the Wolfram Language and SystemModeler. He describes the ability to pass models between the two applications as "a unique feature of the Wolfram System," referring to the combo as "an enabler for things you wouldn't normally expect from a small business like us." Ultimately, he says, "without the Wolfram Language, it would've been impossible to achieve what we did."

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