Content uploaded by Licheng Zhang
Author content
All content in this area was uploaded by Licheng Zhang on Jan 23, 2019
Content may be subject to copyright.
Machine Learning in Rock Facies Classification: An Application of XGBoost
Licheng Zhang, Cheng Zhan
Summary
Big data analysis has drawn much attention across different
industries. Geoscientists, meanwhile, have been doing
analysis with voluminous data for many years, without even
bragging how big it is. In this paper, we present an
application of machine learning, to be more specific, the
gradient boosting method, in Rock Facies Classification
based on certain geological features and constrains. Gradient
boosting is a both popular and effective approach in
classification, which produces a prediction model in an
ensemble of weak models, typically decision trees. The key
for gradient boosting to work successfully lies in introducing
a customized objective function and tuning the parameters
iteratively based on crossvalidation. Our model achieves a
rather high F1 score in evaluating two test wells data.
Introduction and Background
Machine learning emerges to be a very promising area and
should make the work of future geoscientists more fun and
less tedious. Furthermore, with the maturing neural network
technology, the ability for better geological interpretation
could be more automatic and accurate, e.g., in the Gulf of
Mexico region, salt body characterization (challenging in the
velocity model) might be elevated to the next level of higher
quality seismic images.
There are a few decision tree based algorithms to handle
classification problems. One is using the random forest,
which operates by constructing multiple decision trees to
reduce the possible variance error in each model. Another
widely used technique is gradient boosting, which has been
successfully applied in many Kaggle competitions. This
method focuses on where the model performs poorly, and
improves those areas by introducing a learner to compensate
the existing model.
This facies classification problem was originally introduced
in the Leading Edge by Brendon Hall in Oct. 2016 (Hall,
2016). It seems to evolve into the first machine learning
contest in the SEG, more information to be found on here
(https://github.com/seg/2016mlcontest). By the time we
submitted the paper, our ranking is 5th on the leaderboard.
This data is from the Council Grove gas reservoir in
Southwest Kansas. The Panoma Council Grove Field is
predominantly a carbonate gas reservoir encompassing 2700
square miles in Southwestern Kansas. This dataset is from
ten wells (with 4149 examples), consisting of a set of seven
predictor variables and a rock facies (class) for each example
vector and validation (test) data (830 examples from two
wells) having the same seven predictor variables in the
feature vector. Facies are based on the examination of cores
from nine wells taken vertically at halffoot intervals.
Predictor variables include five from the wireline log
measurements and two geologic constraining variables that
are derived from geologic knowledge. These are essentially
continuous variables sampled at a halffoot sample rate.
The seven predictor variables are:
Five wireline log
measurements
Two geologic constrains
Gamma ray (GR)
Resistivity logging
(ILD_log10)
Photoelectric effect (PE)
Neutrondensity porosity
difference (Delta PHI)
Average neutrondensity
porosity (PHIND)
N
onmarine

marine
indicator (NM_M)
Relative position
(RELPOS)
The nine discrete facies (classes of rocks), the abbreviated
labels, and the corresponding adjacent facies are listed in the
following Table 1. The facies gradually blend into one
another, and some of the neighboring facies are rather close.
Mislabeling within these neighboring is possible to occur.
Table 1:
Class of rocks Facies Label Adjacent Facies
Nonmarine sandstone 1 SS 2
Nonmarine coarse siltstone 2 CSiS 1,3
Nonmarine fine siltstone 3 FSiS 2
Marine siltstone and shale 4 SiSh 5
Mudstone 5 MS 4,6
Wackestone 6 WS 5,7
Dolomite 7 D 6,8
PackstoneGrainstone 8 PS 6,7,9
Phylloidglgal bafflestone 9 BS 7,8
Machine Learning in Rock Facies Classification: An Application of XGBoost
Methodology
Generally speaking, there are 3 types of machine learning
algorithms: supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and
reinforcement learning. The application in this paper belongs
to the category of supervised learning. This type of
algorithm consists of a target/outcome variable (or
dependent variable), which is to be predicted from a given
set of predictors (independent variables, or usually called
features). Using these feature variables, a function that maps
inputs to desired outputs will be generated. The training
process continues until the model achieves a satisfied level
of accuracy on the training data. Examples of supervised
learning includes: regression, decision tree, random forest,
KNN, logistic regression etc.
The algorithm adopted here is called XGBoost (eXtreme
Gradient Boosting), which is an optimized distributed
gradient boosting library designed to be highly efficient,
flexible and portable. It implements machine learning
algorithms under the Gradient Boosting framework.
XGBoost provides a parallel tree boosting (also known as
GBDT, GBM) that solves many data science problems in a
fast and accurate way. It was created and developed by
Tianqi Chen, a Ph.D. student at the University of
Washington. More details about XGBoost can be found here
(http://dmlc.cs.washington.edu/xgboost.html).
The basic idea of boosting is to combine hundreds of simple
trees with low accuracy to build a more accurate model.
Every iteration will generate a new tree for the model. When
it comes to how a new tree is created, there are thousands of
methods. A famous one is called Gradient Boosting
machine, raised by Friedman (Friedman, 2001). It utilizes
the gradient descent to generate the new tree based on all
previous trees, driving the objective function towards the
minimum direction.
An objective function usually has the form that contains two
parts (training loss and regularization):
)
()()(
LObj
(1)
Where L is the training loss function, and
is the
regularization term. The training loss measures the
performance of the model is on training data. The
regularization term controls the complexity of the model,
which usually controls overfitting. The complexity of each
tree is defined as the following:
T
j
j
Tf
1
2
2
1
)(
(2)
There is, of course, more than one way to define the
complexity, and this particular one works well in practice.
And the objective function in XGBoost is defined as:
T
j
jjjj THGobj
1
2])(
2
1
[
(3)
More details about the notations can be found here
(http://xgboost.readthedocs.io/en/latest/model.html).
Data Analysis and Model Selection
Before building any machine learning model, it is necessary
to perform some exploratory analysis and cleanup.
First, we examine the data that will be used to train the
classifier. The data consists of 5 wireline log measures, 2
indicator variables, and 1 facies label at half foot interval. In
machine learning terminology, each log measurement is a
feature vector that maps a set of ‘features’ (the log measures)
to a class (the facies type).
Pandas library in Python is a great tool in loading data into
the dataframe structure for further manipulation.
Then some basic statistical analysis are produced, for
example, the distribution of each classes (Figure 1a),
heatmap of features (Figure 1b), which produces correlation
plot for us to observe relationship between variables, and log
plots for wells (Figure 1c). These figures are the initial
blocks to explore the data, and the visualization libraries are
seaborn and matplotlib.
Machine Learning in Rock Facies Classification: An Application of XGBoost
(a)
(b)
(c)
Figure 1: (a) Distribution of facies (b) Heatmap of features (c) Log
plots for well SHRIMPLIN and SHANKLE
The next step is data preparation and model selection. The
goal is to build a reliable model to predict the Y values
(Facies) based on X values (the seven predictor variables).
To enhance the performance of XGBoost’s speed over many
iterations, we create a DMatrix format. Such process sorts
the data initially to optimize for XGBoost in building trees,
and reduces the runtime correspondingly. This is especially
helpful in learning with a large number of training examples.
On the other hand, in order to quantify the quality of the
models, certain metrics are needed. We use accuracy metrics
for judging the models. A simple and easy way to learn the
terminologies (e.g., accuracy, prediction, recall) can be
found in the following webpage
(http://www.dataschool.io/simpleguidetoconfusion
matrixterminology/).
There are several main parameters to be tuned to get a good
model for this rock facies classification problem.
Table 2: main parameters
Learning rate
Step size shrinkage employed to
prevent overfitting. We shrinks
the feature weights to make the
boosting process more
conservative
N_estimators The number of trees
Max_depth
Maximum depth of a tree, and
increasing this value will make
the model more complex(likely to
be overfitting)
Min_child_weight Minimum sum of instance weight
needed in a child
Gamma
Minimum loss reduced required to
make a further partition on a leaf
node of the tree
Subsample Subsample ratio of the training
instance
Colsample_bytree Subsample ratio of features when
constructing each tree
Objective:’multi:softmax’
This sets XGBoost to produce
multiclass classification using the
softmax objective
nthread Number of parallel threads used
to run XGBoost
Machine Learning in Rock Facies Classification: An Application of XGBoost
Algorithm parameter tuning is a critical processs in
achieving the optimal performance of certain algorithm, and
needs to be carefully justified before moving into
production. Our workflow for optimizing parameters is
presented here:
The reason we adopt such flow is because of the nature of
XGBoost algorithm, which is robust enough not to be
overfitting with increasing trees, but a high value for a
particular learning rate could degrade its ability in predicting
new test data. As we reduce the learning rate and increase
the number of trees, the computation becomes expensive and
could potentially take longer time on standard personal
computers.
Grid search is a typical approach for parameters tuning that
methodically builds and evaluates a model for each
combination of parameters in a specific grid. For instance,
the code below examines different combinations of
‘max_depth’ and ‘min_child_weight’.
Another way to tailor parameters is by random search, which
complements the predefined grid search procedure that is
currently being exploited. In this case, we didn’t find random
search benefits much the final results.
After several iterations, the final model is built up. A cross
validation is conducted to access the performance before
applying to another two blind well test data. The best
accuracy (F1 score) we have so far is 0.564, ranked 5th in the
contest. The following is the feature importance plot of the
model. Importance provides a score that indicates how
useful or valuable each feature was in the construction of the
boosted decision trees within the model. The more an
attribute is used to make key decisions with decision trees,
the higher its relative importance.
Conclusions
We have successfully applied the gradient boosting method
to a classification problem in the rock facies. Potential
applications of such prediction could be to validate the
velocity model for seismic data. This could be viewed as
some commencing endeavors for more machine learning
applications in the near future of the oil and gas sector.
Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Ted Petrou, Aiqun Huang
and Zhongyang Dong for discussion. We also thank Yan Xu
for reviewing the manuscript.
Reference
Chen, T. & Guestrin, C., 2016. Xgboost: A scalable tree
boosting system. arXiv preprint arXiv:1603.02754.
Friedman, J. H., 2001. Greedy function approximation: a
gradient boosting machine. Annals of statistics, pp. 1189
1232.
Hall, B., 2016. Facies classification using machine learning.
The Leading Edge, 10, pp. 906909.
Natekin, A. & Knoll, A., n.d. Gradient boosting machines, a
tutorial. Frontiers in neurorobotics, p. 2013.
Pick
initial parameters
(e.g., default values)
Turn tree

based parameters (e.g., adjust
max_depth and min_child_weight
simultaneously
Calibrate gamma, subsample and
colsample_bytree
Balance regularization parameters
Reduce learning rate and update the number
of trees