``A Computational and Communication Infrastructure for a High Performance Seismic Simulation Network''
Prof. Gregory L. Fenves
Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1710
E-mail: fenves@ce.berkeley.edu
URL: http://www.ce.berkeley.edu/~fenves


Earthquake engineering is a multi-disciplinary field that creates technology to improve the seismic performance of civil systems (buildings, transportation and lifeline infrastructure, and industrial facilities). The range of scientific and engineering issues addressed in earthquake engineering is broad, ranging from fundamental behavior of advanced materials, earthquake response prediction and modification of soils, structural behavior and control, design methodologies, and public policy and economic decision making for seismic risk reduction.

Research in earthquake engineering is now oriented towards performance based engineering design. The objective of PBED is to provide a rational framework for owners and decision-makers to understand the tradeoffs between lifecycle cost and seismic performance. In this context, seismic performance is a complex and not yet fully defined metric of the probability that a system will meet the expected behavior in future earthquakes. In contrast with current design methodologies, which primarily protect life but not necessarily the system itself, PBED provides options for performance up to continued operation during an earthquake. Whereas understanding of system behavior associated with collapse of structural systems, important for protecting life safety, is fairly well established, the earthquake engineering research enterprise must be re-oriented to address higher levels of system performance such as limited damage. For this workshop, the tools for new research can be categorized as two broad initiatives:

  1. High fidelity computational simulation of seismic performance
  2. Advanced experimental simulation of seismic performance
The two initiatives are closely linked; one cannot be effective without the other. The computational and information needs for the simulation of realistic performance of soil and structural systems are addressed in a companion paper by G. Turkiyyah. The second initiative is addressed in this paper. These two initiatives form the basis for a proposed networking of earthquake engineering experimental facilities in the US. The earthquake engineering research community is working with the National Science Foundation to create a National Network for High Performance Seismic Simulation.

Communication Infrastructure for the Seismic Simulation Network

The seismic simulation network will consist of a distributed physical testing facilities and computational resources. Testing facilities will include loading and control systems for simulating the deformations of large structural and geotechnical components and subsystems; earthquake simulators ("shaking table") to dynamically test subsystems and system models; centrifuges for testing soil systems with scaled gravity; and other testing methods under development (some described below). The utility of this "network" of facilities will be enhanced by a communication infrastructure. The objectives of the communication infrastructure are to: (1) allow collaborative design and conduct of experiments among participants in different disciplines and geographically dispersed; (2) disseminate and "mine" information from data that are expensive to collect; (3) provide opportunities for advanced testing methods; and (4) allow integration of physical testing with simulation by computational methods. Some of the scientific issues to be dealt with in the communication infrastructure are: