Microcomputers have assumed a pivotal support role in carrying out reservoir engineering research at Shell Development Company. Four specific application areas that have benefited from microcomputers are:

  1. Laboratory experimental control, data collection, first pass data manipulation and analysis, and graphical presentation of results using microcomputers have increased laboratory throughput while improving the quality of data obtained and the ease of understanding the implications of experimental results.

  2. Microcomputers are used extensively as smart terminals for coordinating access to the VAX, IBM, and CRAY computers used in carrying out simulation work.

  3. Over the past ten years, a comprehensive package of reservoir simulation workstation software has been developed on VAX minicomputers connected to dedicated graphics computers. With the advent of the 68000 based Amiga and 80286 and 80386 based PC "compatibles," it has become possible to emulate the necessary functionality of these dedicated workstations with an acceptable response time. This puts the power of a VAX 8800 based graphics workstation at each engineer's desk.

  4. Preparation of visual aids required for presentation of complex research results is facilitated by the powerful graphics programs available for DOS based microcomputers.

With ever more powerful microcomputers and peripherals becoming available at prices making it practical to put a high performance microcomputer system at each engineer's desk, we must continually review how to best integrate usage of the micro, mini, and mainframe computers available in our work environment.

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