An introduction to distributed training of deep neural networks for segmentation tasks with large seismic datasets

Claire Birnie, Haithem Jarraya, Fredrik Hansteen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Deep learning applications are drastically progressing in seismic processing and interpretation tasks. However, the majority of approaches subsample data volumes and restrict model sizes to minimise computational requirements. Subsampling the data risks losing vital spatio-temporal information which could aid training whilst restricting model sizes can impact model performance, or in some extreme cases, renders more complicated tasks such as segmentation impossible. This paper illustrates how to tackle the two main issues of training of large neural networks: memory limitations and impracticably large training times. Typically, training data is preloaded into memory prior to training, a particular challenge for seismic applications where data is typically four times larger than that used for standard image processing tasks (float32 vs. uint8). Using a microseismic use case, we illustrate how over 750 GB of data can be used to train a model by using a data generator approach which only stores in memory the data required for that training batch. Furthermore, efficient training over large models is illustrated through the training of a 7-layer UNet with input data dimensions of 4096×4096 (approximately 7.8 M parameters). Through a batch-splitting distributed training approach, training times are reduced by a factor of four. The combination of data generators and distributed training removes any necessity of data 1 subsampling or restriction of neural network sizes, offering the opportunity of utilisation of larger networks, higher-resolution input data or moving from 2D to 3D problem spaces.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-41
Number of pages41
StatePublished - Aug 24 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-08-27
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank the Grane license partners Equinor Energy AS, Petoro AS, Var Energi AS, and ˚ ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS for allowing to present this work. The views and opinions expressed in this abstract are those of the Operator and are not necessarily shared by the license partners. The authors would also like to thank Ahmed Khamassi and Florian Schuchert for their invaluable support on the data science elements of this project, as well as Marianne Houbiers for her insightful discussions on the application of DL for passive monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics


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