Citation Program in Applied Geostatistics

This week we have a special guest on the Maptek weekly blog, Professor Clayton Deutsch. Dr. Deutsch has taught 11 Maptek Citation Programs in Applied Geostatistics in Chile and two in Denver, Colorado.

“If you don’t have a graduate degree in geostatistics, you need to take the Citation to practice geostatistics.”
This message comes from a number of managers and technical gatekeepers in the resource estimation business.  This is why more than 40 professionals have gone through the Citation in the last 12 months.  A one or two week short course is ideal to learn some features of a software or to get an overview of a particular subject; however, it is inadequate to really become dangerous.  Graduate studies in geostatistics take two to five years and are a commitment beyond that required to practice geostatistics.  A solid background in geology, engineering, or perhaps a related technical subject is required.  A work environment with strong management support, technical mentorship, appropriate software, and sufficient time to do good work is required.  A pathway for professional development and a means to learn the required fundamentals is also required.  The Citation helps with this last requirement.

“Is the Citation a Maptek thing?”
The Citation is a University of Alberta (U of A) thing, and a Clayton Deutsch thing; however, Maptek has been instrumental in making the Citation what it is now.  As of today, 293 geologists and engineers have earned the Citation in Applied Geostatistics.  Of these, 154 have been taught at Maptek facilities in Chile and Denver.  In 1999, the Citation started small and informal at the U of A.  The vision of Marcelo Arancibia and Eric González at Maptek Chile included an accessible, structured and intensive training program that would remain a U of A and Clayton thing, but were periodically facilitated and hosted by Maptek.

“Who is Clayton Deutsch?”
Dr. Deutsch is a Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta.  He is Director of the School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering.  He also teaches and conducts research into better ways to model geological variability and uncertainty in mineral deposits.  Prior to joining the University of Alberta, Dr. Deutsch was an Associate Professor (Research) in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Center for Reservoir Forecasting (SCRF).  His employment history includes three years with ExxonMobil and three years with Placer Dome Inc.  Dr. Deutsch has published seven books, over 125 peer-reviewed papers, and over 125 papers in conference proceedings.  He has taught over 100 short courses for industry and more than 50 University classes.  Dr. Deutsch holds the Canada Research Chair in Natural Resources Uncertainty Characterization and the Alberta Chamber of Resources Industry Chair in Mining Engineering.

“These exercises are going to kill me!”
Up to 20 exercises and a small project are required to earn a Citation.  Participants are encouraged to work together yet each person must submit their own results.  The exercises have been slightly relaxed over the years, but the learning experience has not been watered down by too-easy or trivial exercises.  Unfortunately, learning is hard work.  Learning is not like being entertained at the cinema or relaxing at the beach for a couple hours.  The pleasure derived from real learning is the satisfaction of mastering a difficult concept and accomplishing a tough exercise.  Achieving excellence takes hard work and it often comes with frustration.  This probably sounds discouraging, but looking back at a real learning experience, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done.  Okay, maybe the pain has just eased a bit.

“Why the Citation – I can learn this myself?”
The modern University may seem primarily focused on undergraduate education and providing the intellectual capital to fuel the world’s economy, but some other tasks a university performs include: (1) knowledge assessment and creation; (2) assessing and reviewing those who have the capacity to become and be scholars; (3) education and professional training; (4) knowledge transfer; (5) credentialing; (6) social integration; (7) the collegiate rite of passage to adulthood; (8) providing a place for networking; and (9) fostering a worldwide community of scholars.  This was articulated by Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835, see picture from Wikipedia) in the early days of the modern educational system.

The Citation program aspires to a high level of scholarship and aims to meet these tasks in a reasonably flexible manner.

“Do we need to be so mathematical?”
Daniel Bernoulli (1700 to 1782) is probably best known for his work in hydrodynamics; however, he stated that … to get any profit from knowledge it is absolutely necessary to be a mathematician.  He was a pioneer of decision making in presence of uncertainty.  He stated that, when faced with a number of actions that could lead to different outcomes, the rational procedure is to identify all possible outcomes, determine their expected value and choose the one that gives rise to the highest expected value.  Clearly, our qualitative understanding of a mineral deposit is of paramount importance, but being precise and quantitative about uncertainty and variability is absolutely necessary.

This week students of the Chile course are delivering their end-of-citation projects, and at the end of May a new course will be offered in Denver.

Clayton Deutsch
Mining Engineer
April 23, 2012

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