Yike Liu

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SEG Reginald Fessenden Award 2022

Yike Liu

Yike Liu has contributed significantly to the theory, development, and application of seismic imaging using multiples. He introduced the new concept of decomposing multiple reflections into controlled-order multiples and a systematic way of understanding and mitigating imaging artifacts due to multiples. Over the past two decades, he has made breakthroughs in several research areas. His work has been recognized by the oil and gas industry as critical to its business, and he has been invited by a significant number of oil and service companies to help transfer technology for imaging with multiples. He has also been invited by a large number of top exploration geophysics institutes to explain these concepts and their application. Finally, we recognize Liu’s outstanding qualities of being both a dedicated scientist and consistently being kind to both students and professionals. SEG is proud to bestow the Reginald Fessenden Award to Yike Liu for his contributions to applied geophysics.

Citation for the SEG Reginald Fessenden Award 2022

by Yingcai Zheng, Sergey Fomel, Yi Luo, and Gerard Schuster

It is our great pleasure to introduce Yike Liu of the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences as the 2022 SEG Reginald Fessenden Award winner. The award is given in recognition of his landmark contributions in the development and application of seismic imaging using multiples.

Yike is currently a professor of geophysics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He graduated from the Department of Physics at Peking University with a bachelor’s degree in 1982 and earned his PhD in 1998 from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Together with his colleagues and students, he established a successful and vibrant seismic imaging research group in 1999. In the past two decades, the group has focused on seismic imaging, multiple attenuation, and near-surface structural inversion.

Upon invitation, Yike visited Saudi Aramco in 2008. After a few days of discussion with Yi Luo, he was convinced that using multiples would be the next generation of seismic imaging. Yike then started developing a reverse time migration algorithm using multiples, and he provided a numerical example in his well-cited Geophysics paper published in 2011. He recognized that multiples could be extremely useful in imaging subsalt regions. This initial success inspired him to vigorously pursue multiple imaging. Even though he observed that multiples could provide useful information beyond that of just using primary reflections, crosstalk artifacts generated by multiples are still very challenging to identify and remove. To address this problem, Yike invented an approach to decompose multiples into different orders, called controlled-order multiples (CMs). By selecting proper pairs of CMs for imaging, most of the crosstalk artifacts can be removed. The remaining negligible crosstalk can be further eliminated using least-squares migration. For a pair of selected CMs, there is a source multiple and a receiver multiple field. This approach produced outstanding results. However, it added more computational cost than that of primary imaging because many RTMs are needed to migrate the paired CMs. Yike then came up with a novel phase-encoded simultaneous source idea to speed up the CM migration. He extracted and blended the source multiples from the CM pairs and formed a source supergather. He did the same for the receiver multiple fields to obtain a receiver supergather. He then performed the imaging using these two supergathers. This phase-encoded approach can significantly attenuate crosstalk artifacts and considerably reduce computational costs. Yike also developed CM full-waveform inversion (FWI), in which CMs can reduce cycle-skipping and speed up the convergence to the global minimum.

Yike’s work using CMs for FWI was recognized for its importance when he received the Best Poster Paper at the 90th SEG Annual Meeting for his presentation on the subject in the previous year. In addition, two of his papers associated with CMs published in Geophysics are highlighted in Geophysics Bright Spots.

With the rapid development of computational power, it is expected that the series of methods based on CMs proposed by Yike could be more affordable and widely used in the processing of marine seismic data. It might be possible to reduce expensive acquisition activities because the multiples can enhance the subsurface illumination and increase the signal-to-noise ratio of migration images.

Yike has also contributed significantly to the SEG community. He was associate editor of Geophysics from 2007 to 2012. He serves as an advisor of the SEG student chapter of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Yike generously shares his results and methods with all members of the SEG community and has the highest scientific integrity. His work has been recognized by the oil and gas industry as critical to its business, and he has been invited to give talks at many oil and service companies on imaging with multiples. Yike has also been invited to give explanatory talks at a large number of exploration geophysics meetings and workshops. SEG recognizes Yike’s innovation by bestowing him the 2022 SEG Reginald Fessenden Award for his contributions to applied geophysics.