Kay Wyatt

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Kay Wyatt
Kay Dautenhahn Wyatt headshot.png
Membership Life Member

SEG is honoring Kay Wyatt with Life Membership for exceptional service in several areas, most notably education. Through Kay’s untiring commitment and leadership, numerous SEG educational programs have been defined and implemented.

Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership

Contributed by Gary Hoover and Paul Valasek

Those who have worked with or come in contact with Kay unanimously come away with the impression that they have been in the presence of one of the most enthusiastic and innovative members of our Society. Kay’s tremendous spirit and energy, coupled with her constant striving for success, have led to many contributions in education and technology.

Kay began her geophysics career in 1977 with Phillips Petroleum Company, following bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Tulsa and Oklahoma State University, respectively. Kay’s initial focus was VSP technology. She is coholder of several patents involving the processing of VSP data and coinventor of the “VSPCDP Stack.” Kay’s passion for challenges led to the difficult problem of how to efficiently construct complex 3-D geologic models. She and her husband Steve developed an accurate and cost-effective model representation using tetrahedra. Their innovative approach featured a healthy serving of sliced raw potatoes connected by toothpicks to help visualize the elaborate networks of 3-D tetrahedra! Shortly thereafter, perhaps spurred by the work on potato-aided visualization, Kay brought 3-D visualization out of the kitchen and into the computer-aided era. Led by Kay’s vision, Phillips’ 3-D ModelBuilder pioneered the way for real-time 3-D visualization of complex models.

Kay was also active in 3-D seismic imaging technology. Akey contribution was 3-D DMO in 1989. This was followed by 3-D poststack depth migration in 1990. In 1993, Kay led a team that tackled the grand challenge, 3-D prestack depth migration. As the initial, breathtaking images churned out of the computer, Kay was heard proclaiming a favorite statement, “Awesome ... science in action!” Kay and her team were formally recognized for this achievement in 1994 when they received the Phillips Petroleum Technology Innovation Excellence Award. With several powerful imaging algorithms in the toolkit,

Kay’s attention turned toward 3-D velocity model estimation. In 1994, Kay implemented an innovative approach, horizon-based prestack depth migration, which formed the core of a rapid and accurate tool for iterative velocity model building.

Today, Kay is a research leader and enthusiastically engaged in bringing more advanced seismic imaging technologies to the forefront in areas such as 3-D wavefield migration and converted-wave imaging.

Kay’s contributions to SEG and GST have been just as outstanding. She joined both in 1977. She served as GST secretary in 1988 and as president in 1991 where she instituted the education chairman position that continues to spread the word of geophysics to science teachers and students. As technical chairman of SEG’s Midwest Regional Meeting, she invited science teachers to the sessions, an innovation adopted by SEG’s Annual International Meeting.

Kay served as First Vice-President on SEG’s 1996-97 Executive Committee where she played a key role in creation of the Distinguished Instructor Short Course and vigorously supported increased aid for the students. Because she is so passionate about assisting students, some refer to her as the “patron saint” for geoscience students. Kay currently chairs SEG’s Student Sections/Academic Liaison Committee and is a member of the Research Committee. Kay served on the Ad Hoc Museum Committee that made significant contributions to the enhancement of the museum, including the SEG Virtual Museum on the Web.

Kay’s SEG activities truly set a standard for “volunteer” and her dedication to the advance of geophysical technology has been outstanding. We congratulate her on receiving Life Membership.

Special Commendation 1998

The SEG is awarding a Special Commendation to the members of the SEG/EAGE Modeling Project. Particularly deserving of recognition are project leader Fred Aminzadeh, Alain Bamberger, Jean Brac, Norm Burkhard, Pierre Duclos, Tim Kunz, Laurence Nicoletis, Fabio Rocca, and Kay Wyatt.

Citation for Special Commendation

Contributed by Ken Larner

If there is one thing that the seismic exploration community has plenty of it’s data — readily in astronomical (or, should we say, geophysical) amounts, and from every part of the globe and from every conceivable environment. Well, it turns out that a large group of geophysicists, and two geophysical societies, thought that we neither had enough data nor had we truly tapped every possible acquisition environment. So, they embarked on designing a survey and collecting massive additional amounts of data — this time from the depths of computers, from four of the world’s largest and most powerful computers.

Under the leadership of Fred Aminzadeh, volunteers from more than 50 organizations pooled their creative energies and large expertise, culminating, in the 3-D SEG/EAGE Modeling Project, through which were generated multifold 3-D synthetic seismic data over two complex 3-D geologic models, the Salt Model and the Overthrust Model. These two control data sets are freely available worldwide to academic and industrial researchers for uses (both foreseen and not yet envisioned) aimed at (1) better understanding of problems in imaging data acquired over complex structures and intricate stratigraphy, (2) testing and validation of processing algorithms, and (3) aiding in survey design.

This year, SEG honors the members of the 3-D SEG/EAGE Modeling Project with this Special Commendation, the award established to give “recognition and special commendation to deserving persons for meritorious service to the public, the scientific community, or to our profession.”

The number of volunteers involved in this collaborative and highly cooperative effort is far too large to mention here, but special recognition is in order to acknowledge the intensive efforts of Fred Aminzadeh, Alain Bamberger, Jean Brac, Norm Burkhard, Pierre Duclos, Tim Kunz, Laurence Nicoletis, Fabio Rocca, and Kay Wyatt. These and many others put in thousands of hours to design and construct the two geologic models, to design the acquisition parameters, to write, test, and select the appropriate finite-difference modeling software, to schedule the necessary computer resources, and to make available the resulting models and benchmark seismic data. In addition to time taken from their jobs (and therefore donated by their organizations), many of these volunteers have devoted numerous weekends and evenings to the demands of the project.

A project of this scope could not come about without the gracious support of many organizations, including sponsorship by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, plus primary funding from the United States Department of Energy Gas and Oil Information Infrastructure. That funding included use of massively parallel computers at four national laboratories, with their high-speed input/output capability, high-end networking, mass data storage, distributed computing, and advanced visualization techniques. Using 3-D finite-difference modeling code developed at Institut Français du Petrole, this mobilized massive computer power still required years of computation in order to produce the three terabytes of data for the two models that will serve the industry as benchmark data for years to come. Because of the dedication and foresight of these volunteers, anyone in the world who has access to the World Wide Web on the Internet can obtain the reports, geologic models, and (with sufficient computer horsepower) the seismic data generated by the project. Truly, the generosity of the many people who, starting from a grand dream have brought about this outstanding reality, sets a standard for the word “volunteer.

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