The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $300,000 to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to design a national online network that will transform earthquake engineering research.
The award is the first step in implementing NSF's Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) program, which will provide real-time remote access to a complete system of testing and experimental facilities, making them widely available to earthquake engineers.
"The NEES vision is to improve the seismic design of buildings, bridges, utilities and other infrastructure in the United States," said Priscilla Nelson, NSF division director for civil and mechanical systems. "The payoff will be reducing the impacts of earthquakes, potentially saving money and lives."
The online network, or "collaboratory," will provide researchers across the country with telepresence capabilities and shared-use access to advanced research equipment, databases and computer modeling and simulation tools.
The university's National Center for Supercomputing Applications will lead a six-month study and design project. Partners include the university's Mid-America Earthquake Center and Department of Civil Engineering, the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor's Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work, and the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute and Department of Civil Engineering.
NSF expects late this year to provide NEES funds to upgrade existing earthquake research facilities and build new ones, thereby bringing multiple facilities under one "virtual roof."
For more information on NEES, see: http://www.eng.nsf.gov/nees
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