First national earthquake engineering computer network takes shape

March 13, 2001

Leading members of the earthquake engineering community met recently with nationally recognized computer scientists in a workshop at the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute (ISI) to start designing the first-ever n

The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), a new National Science Foundation major research equipment project, will transform earthquake engineering research and remediation by enabling engineers from a wide variety of disciplines to pool their experience and perform experiments and simulations on a larger scale than ever before.

"It's an amazing thing," says ISI's Dr. Carl Kesselman, the workshop's organizer. "Normally, geotechnical engineers, structural engineers, tsunami researchers, and so on never even sit in the same room together. The fact that so many different types of civil engineers are now talking with computer scientists about how to build a common networked infrastructure is going to advance not only earthquake engineering research but practice as well."

The new collaborative network will also have a large social impact through improved design of bridges, buildings, lifelines, roads, and other infrastructure to withstand earthquakes and tsunamis.

NEESGrid is an NSF-funded project (currently in a scoping study phase) that could build the collaborative network for NEES. NEESGrid is a partnership among the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ISI, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Michigan Collaboratory for Research in Electronic Work (CREW), the USC Department of Civil Engineering, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Civil Engineering.