Thomas A. Smith

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Dr. Thomas (“Tom”) A. Smith is a researcher, business leader and philanthropist. He received a BS and MS degree in Geology from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Houston. His graduate research focused on a shallow refraction investigation of the Manson astrobleme. In 1971, he joined Chevron Geophysical as a processing geophysicist. He continued his work at the company until 1980 when he left to complete his doctoral studies in 3D modeling and migration at the Seismic Acoustics Lab at the University of Houston. Upon graduation with the Ph.D. in Geophysics in 1981, he started a geophysical consulting practice and taught seminars in seismic interpretation, seismic acquisition, and seismic processing. Dr. Smith founded Seismic Micro-Technology (SMT) in 1984 to develop PC software to support training workshops he was holding, which subsequently led to the development of the KINGDOM Software Suite for integrated geoscience interpretation.   

In 2008, Dr. Smith founded Geophysical Insights, where he leads a team of geophysicists, geologists, and computer scientists in developing advanced technologies for fundamental geophysical problems.  The company launched the Paradise® AI workbench in 2013, which uses Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and pattern recognition technologies to extract more insightful information from seismic and well data versus traditional seismic interpretation methods.

The Society of Exploration Geologists (SEG) recognized Dr. Smith’s work with the SEG Enterprise Award in 2000, and in 2010, the Geophysical Society of Houston (GSH) awarded him an Honorary Membership. Iowa State University (ISU) has recognized Dr. Smith throughout his career with the Distinguished Alumnus Lecturer Award in 1996, the Citation of Merit for National and International Recognition in 2002, and the highest alumni honor in 2015, the Distinguished Alumni Award. The University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics recognized Dr. Smith with the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.  In 2016, he was recognized by the Houston Geological Society (HGS) as a geophysicist who has made significant contributions to the field of geology.

Dr. Smith has been a member of the SEG since 1967 and is a professional member of SEG, GSH, HGS, EAGE, SIPES, AAPG, Sigma XI, SSA, and AGU. Dr. Smith served as Chairman of the SEG Foundation from 2010 to 2013. He currently serves on the SEG President-Elect’s Strategy and Planning Committee and the ISU Foundation Campaign Committee for Forever True, For Iowa State. The University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics recognized Dr. Smith with the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.


  • The University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Distinguished Alumni Award, 2017.[1]
  • Houston Geological Society, Geophysicist who has made important contributions to the field of Geology, 2016
  • Iowa State University Distinguished Alumni Award, 2015
  • Iowa State University Citation of Merit for National and International Recognition, 2002
  • Geophysical Society of Houston Honorary Membership, 2010
  • Society of Exploration Geophysicists Enterprise Award, 2000,[2]
  • Iowa State University Distinguished Alumnus Lecturer Award, 1996

Geophysical Insights[edit]

Geophysical Insights was founded in 2008 in Houston, Texas, by Dr. Thomas A. Smith with the vision of applying machine learning to seismic interpretation to reduce the risk of oil and gas exploration and the cost of field development. Shortly after launching the company, Dr. Smith assembled a team of geoscientists and interpretation software specialists to develop the next generation of seismic interpretation software. The group’s mission was to apply machine learning to the problem of seismic interpretation and deliver the new capability in an off-the-shelf, commercial software product that could be used by any geoscientist. The new AI workbench, branded as Paradise®[3], would feature an intuitive interface that guided geoscientists in applying machine learning to many different types of geologic and stratigraphic investigations. Over three years in development, including a year of field trials, Paradise was launched as a commercial product at the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Annual Convention in 2013 and has since seen steady adoption worldwide, including by national oil companies (NOCs) and international oil companies.

Paradise AI workbench[edit]

Geophysical Insights develops and markets the Paradise AI workbench for seismic interpretation, which applies machine learning technologies on seismic and well data to reveal more significant insights in the data versus traditional seismic interpretation tools.   Paradise uses combinations of supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms that are enabled by GPU computing. Applications in the current (version 3.3) release of Paradise include seismic Attribute Generation, Attribute Selection, Multi-Attribute Classification, automatic Fault Detection, seismic Facies Classification, and Machine Learning Geobodies.

Seismic interpreters apply the different tools in Paradise either singularly or in combinations according to the geologic or stratigraphic investigation performed. Built for large datasets, the software scales from a single workstation to an enterprise.  The typical deployment is a client-server configuration where multiple geoscientists collaborate on a shared set of seismic surveys and well data.

Paradise is the only commercial software product that incorporates the spectral decomposition and geometric seismic attributes from the AASPI Consortium at the University of Oklahoma.  Including single-trace attributes, Paradise has a library of over 100 seismic attributes that can be generated in the software and used by machine learning algorithms.  The library of spectral decomposition and geometric attributes are being migrated to GPU processing in Paradise, enabling these compute-intensive attributes to generate at 50X speed compared to multi-core CPU computing.  

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ "Thomas A. Smith", Wikipedia, 2020-06-01, retrieved 2020-06-01
  2. ^ "Thomas A. Smith", Wikipedia, 2020-06-01, retrieved 2020-06-01
  3. ^ "Advances Opening New Possibilities". Retrieved 2016-01-25.