University of Houston Introduces New Graduate Program in Data Analytics

University of Houston Introduces New Graduate Program in Data Analytics
A new workforce program offered by the University of Houston will focus on efficiency in using and maintaining oil and gas equipment by using data analytics.

Responding to the oil and gas industry’s need to reduce operating costs, the University of Houston (UH) is introducing a new graduate certificate program.

Data Analytics for Condition and Performance Monitoring of Engineered Systems is a three-course program which will be offered on-campus and online beginning Fall 2017. It is available to individuals with an undergraduate degree in any engineering discipline and offered through the university’s subsea engineering program.

The purpose of the program is to help oil and gas producers use and maintain their equipment in a more efficient manner by making better use of Big Data streaming from sensors built into the equipment.

“Oil and gas companies are looking to reduce operating costs and capital expenditures and the operating costs they are focused on right now are for drilling operations and oil productions systems,” Matthew Franchek, director of UH’s subsea engineering program and professor of mechanical engineering, told Rigzone. “The major problem is there are unplanned downtimes. So, if there’s a way to use data analytics to predict every impending failure, that allows the oil and gas companies to plan for when they need to do maintenance on a system – and specifically what maintenance to do.”

This will help increase efficiency and reduce operating costs, he said.

Franchek said the subsea engineering program is very plugged into the employers who hire its graduates, making it easy for the school to ask what challenges employers are facing right now.

“We looked at [the program] as a way to help the economy in Houston and Texas as a whole … we wanted to find a way to make an economic impact,” he said. “This is not just data analytics, this is model-based data analytics. This is what makes this curriculum so unique and attractive.”

Franchek explained that most data analytics looks for trends in data which requires large amounts of data. The UH approach doesn’t require this.

“What we developed are mathematical models that adapt themselves in real time. It’s a new technology for the oil and gas business,” he said. “What our curriculum focuses on is processing that data and getting information in real time. Where it takes some people three months to solve a problem, it takes us just three hours.”

The certificate program will train workers from across the industry, not just those who work in deepwater. It could ultimately be used in other industries as well, such as medical and aerospace.

Though the program won’t begin being offered until later this year, early response has been favorable, Franchek said.

“Companies are definitely interested … some have already enrolled their employees [into the program],” he said. “Companies will come to you if they see a benefit in what you’re offering.”


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