Efficient nonlinear Bayesian survey design using D-N optimization

Darrell Coles, Andrew Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new method for fully nonlinear, Bayesian survey design renders the optimization of industrial-scale geo-scientific surveys as a practical possibility. The method, D-N optimization, designs surveys to maximally discriminate between different possible models. It is based on a generalization to nonlinear design problems of the D criterion (which is for linearized design problems). The main practical advantage of DN optimization is that it uses efficient algorithms developed originally for linearized design theory, resulting in lower computing and storage costs than for other nonlinear Bayesian design techniques. In a real example in which we optimized a seafloor microseismic sensor network to monitor a fractured petroleum reservoir, we compared DN optimization with two other networks: one proposed by an industrial contractor and one optimized using a linearized Bayesian design method. Our technique yielded a network with superior expected data quality in terms of reduced uncertainties on hypocenter locations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)Q1-Q8
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2011


  • Bayes methods
  • geophysical techniques
  • hydrocarbon reservoirs
  • petrology


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