The design of Subsea foundations subject to general cyclic loading using a massively scalable web based application

James Doherty, Henry Krisdani, Michael O'Neill, Carl Erbrich, Fraser Bransby, David White, Mark Randolph

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Subsea developments require the design of large numbers of shallow skirted foundations to support structures such as manifolds, pipeline and umbilical terminations and in-line tees. Safe and economic design relies on the accurate assessment of foundation capacity against thousands of load-combinations. Performing these design calculations is a significant computational task. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate how new developments in cloud computing can be utilized to optimize foundation design. Engineering design is no longer limited by computing power thanks to the introduction of low-cost ondemand cloud computing platforms. This paper describes a massively scalable cloud based application for rapidly assessing the vertical-horizontal-moment-torsional capacity of shallow skirted foundations against thousands of cyclic load case combinations that arise from numerous environmental and service conditions. The detrimental effect of cyclic loading and the beneficial effect of consolidation on soil strength are incorporated within a single workflow. It is shown that cloud technologies can radically improve traditional engineering design procedures, allowing engineers to focus on the innovative and creative aspects of their work, while the tasks of preparing, executing and documenting calculations become near instantaneous and more easily assessed for quality assurance. More critically, the technology allows rapid and rigorous optimization of the foundation dimensions to achieve the most cost-effective solution that satisfies all load cases. The scalability of the application allows multiple users to run large numbers of calculations simultaneously across a virtually unlimited number of computer nodes. The system can be accessed through a standard web browser and can run simulations on any internet-connected device. Results are saved in the cloud and can be accessed anywhere and shared among colleagues, enhancing collaboration and quality assurance. The approach results in demonstrably superior design outcomes, achieved more quickly. This paper presents what is believed to be the world's first web based application for shallow foundation design that exploits the availability of low cost on-demand cloud computing services. The paper will explain some of the challenges in implementing such a system and provide examples. We believe this type of technology represents the future for geotechnical design work, providing better design in a more efficient manner.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Annual Offshore Technology Conference
Place of PublicationTexas
PublisherOffshore Technology Conference
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781510862531
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventOffshore Technology Conference 2018 - Houston, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20183 May 2018


ConferenceOffshore Technology Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleOTC 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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