Lunchbox Geophysics

Deconstructing Data Science

Marc Boulet

Marc Boulet
Group Lead and Data Scientist, Cenovus Energy

Thursday, October 24th, 2019 – 12:00 PM MST
Chevron Canada, Athabasca Room, 2nd Floor, 500 5 Ave SW, Calgary

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LunchBox Geophysics is free! Simply bring your own lunch (refreshments provided) and enjoy.


There has been a tremendous amount of hype that has emerged around the term "data science/analytics" in the last few years. Some of the technical advances surrounding data science are undeniable; however, often the conversation devolves into buzzwords, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, with little regard to their actual meaning. The first part of the talk will deconstruct the hype and mythos surrounding data science by placing it in a proper historical context.

In fact, one can draw many parallels between this and another seismic technological shift that occurred a generation ago: computing. The widespread introduction of computers in the workplace was met with similar wonder, unrealistic expectations and inevitable doubt. In fact, computing did not deliver on its initial promises to relieve workloads and render offices paperless. It took several years (even decades) for computers to find their place, but I'm sure everyone would agree they are now a foundational aspect for all business models.

It can be argued that data analytics is at a comparably immature stage in the oil and gas industry as computing once was. From that lens, we can explore what aspects of data science will be more likely to stand the test of time or fade into irrelevancy. Based on that thought process, the second part of the talk will provide some guiding principles, from a practitioner's perspective, on how to prepare for the future and incorporate data science awareness and skills into your career development.


Marc Boulet is a data scientist and group lead for the Oil Sands Geological Information Management group at Cenovus Energy. He has spent the majority of his oil and gas career as an asset geophysicist for companies such as BP, Apache and Cenovus, working on a variety of plays in the WCSB. He transitioned into a data science role in 2017. Marc holds a BSc. in Geophysics from the University of Calgary and is progressing on an MSc. in Analytics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Marc is also an active member of the local data science community as a co-organizer of the Untapped Energy and Calgary R User Group meetups.