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Repurposing an API for oil drilling simulation software

Project Description

This project is to be carried out in collaboration and with the support of a Bournemouth-based company called Drilling Systems ( The company develops oil drilling simulators for educational and other purposes and has a long standing relationship with the University, for example taking on in the last few years a number of placement and graduate students from the Creative Technology Department and other Departments (plus Faculties).

The project proposed here has a strong software-engineering focus, concentrating on the existing DrillSIM API (Application Programming Interface) and the associated “downhole” model. Both are key elements of the DrillSIM range of drilling simulators.

The existing API provides a set of C# programming language libraries allowing the user to write programs which interact with or override elements of the simulation. This API is already being used by many Universities around the world, for student assignments and research projects as well as commercial R&D activity and HIL testing. The core of a drilling simulator is the downhole model. This consists of multiple software modules (“models”) simulating the various aspects of the wellbore; the physics, hydraulics and geology. As real-world drilling technology advances and wells become more complicated, so the simulation must also evolve and improve, both in terms of the individual models but also in terms of the architecture required to support and evolve those models.

In this respect, a common research and development goal has been identified between the institutions currently using the API, and the company providing the API. All parties wish to develop new models, and equally, in order to achieve that, all parties wish to evolve and expand the architecture of the downhole model.

So, the intention of the project is to develop the API and the downhole model architecture concurrently in order to support both the company developers and their collaborative research customers in developing models, features and algorithms which can both benefit the company’s product range and allow real-world research aims to be met.

To summarise; the technical challenge of the project is to carry out research and development/improvement/addition of new functionality/restructuring of an existing API in a very niche context area (that of drilling simulation) and downhole model to support the wider R&D activities of Drilling Systems. Extensive research will be conducted in all the activities of the API work above, plus other existing approaches in this area, with attempts to, then, introduce novel approaches (such as automation and machine learning for example) within these (and into the general process).

How to apply:

Applications are made via our website using the Apply Online button below. If you have an enquiry about this project please contact us via the Email NOW button below, however your application will only be processed once you have submitted an application form as opposed to emailing your CV to us.

Candidates for funded PhD studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 4 years.

The PhD Studentships are open to UK, EU and international students. Candidates for a PhD Studentship should demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 4 years and must demonstrate:

• A 1st class honours degree and/or a relevant Master’s degree with distinction or equivalent. If English is not your first language you’ll need IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (with a minimum 6.0 in each component).

Funding Notes

Funded candidates will receive a maintenance grant of £15,000 per year to contribute towards living expenses during the course of your research, as well as a fee waiver for 36 months.

Funded Studentships are open to both UK/EU and International students unless otherwise specified.

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