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The storage, retrieval, and processing of geologic and engineering data by modern electronic computers present the geologist with a powerful tool in the solving of technical problems, but at the same time imposes upon him a requirement that he better organize his thoughts concerning the method of problem solution.
A major factor in the economics of processing data by computer is the cost of transcribing the basic information into a machinable form. In order to reduce this cost factor, an increasing number of oil and gas companies are entering into agreements with service agencies who transcribe the information from well bores onto punch cards or magnetic tape. The machinable data prepared by any one of these groups is generally referred to as a "well-data system." The various "well-data systems" which have begun in the past several years may by the end of this decade incorporate much of the drilling information from wells in the United States and Canada.
Proper use of a machinable well-data file can reduce the time and (or) cost of a particular study. The improper use of such a file, however, can have the opposite effect. Several uses of a machinable file are presented to illustrate the merits of the machine handling of data in different types of geologic and statistical studies.
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