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NEEScomm Update: June 2010

Posted in Announcements

Julio Ramirez, Director of NEES Operations, provides the NEES community with an informal update of NEEScomm activities.



NEES Update

June 2010

After six-months of operations, NEEScomm looks forward to this opportunity to share with you an informal activities update. With so many new developments taking place and to streamline our communication, we will provide you with monthly updates. As usual, in the Community Section we outline several important developments particularly as they impact you. This section is followed by the Operations Section where we share with you items related to NEES Operations. We look forward to your input and encourage you to visit the organization web site,, for more frequent updates and important announcements.



The network has endeavored to form strong partnerships with other large-scale testing facilities around the globe. The development of a Memorandum of Understanding with The National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) on earthquake engineering research using E-Defense and NEES Facilities represents an important accomplishment with significant realizations in the collaborative research arena.

NEEScomm has been working with NIED on the renewal of the agreement scheduled to expire September 2010. We are pleased to announce the successful renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding with NIED. This agreement together with the agreement established between NSF and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology (MExT)--has provided the support framework for a sustained and successful component of the NEESR program in the form of a collaborative research effort with E-Defense in Japan. This program is in its 2nd Phase.

There are annual and other meetings of the NEES/E-Defense community to plan the research effort and coordinate efforts, and encourage broad participation in the activities. Dr. Steve Mahin on the US and Dr. Masayoshi Nakashima on behalf of NIED and E-Defense are leading coordination efforts. NSF-supported NEESR projects addressing the seismic performance of midrise wood frame buildings, steel frames, and base-isolated structures utilized both NEES facilities and E-Defense during the 2009-2010 timeframe.

Another significant milestone will be reached on July 8th, 2010 with the official signature at the Port and Airport Research Institute (PARI) in Japan, of the Memorandum of Understanding on use of facilities and research collaboration between PARI and NEES. PARI has developed and operates experimental facilities for 1) marine environment and engineering, 2) geotechnical and structural engineering, and 3) construction and control systems in close collaboration with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan. Among those facilities are the 'Large Hydro-Geo Flume (LHGF), an 'Underwater Shake Table (UST)' to investigate earthquake and tsunami engineering and a 'Large Geotechnical and Hydrodynamic Centrifuge (LGHC)' that will be in operation starting 2010 to investigate the multi-hazards of earthquakes and tsunamis. Professor Solomon Yim from Oregon State University spearheaded the efforts on the NEES side to make this agreement a reality.

Upon execution of this agreement, it and the MoU with NIED will be posted on the web site. Other agreements are being explored various organizations aimed at providing access to researchers to unique facilities elsewhere, to foster global research collaborations and to make the NEES national resource a global partner in efforts to mitigate earthquake and tsunami risk.


NEEScomm is working with the community on the development of a strategic plan for the network. The process has involved communication with the sites, researchers using the sites, educators, government agencies and the professional community. The draft of the plan is currently under review by NEEScomm and the NEES Users Forum. Next, it will be submitted to a group of eight distinguished external reviewers for comment. The results of the review process will be addressed prior to submitting the draft to the Equipment Site Forum and the NEES Governance Board for additional comments. Finally, the draft will be posted on for a period of public comment after July 31, 2010. We encourage you to read it and to tell us if it properly and crisply tells the story about NEES and how the network supports your education and research efforts to accelerate the mitigation of earthquake and tsunami risk in the US and around the globe. NEEScomm fully intends to use the plan to align and monitor its activities as a manager of network operations for the period 2009-2014.


NEEScomm is currently working with the community to improve the interface to project information and curated data. The goal is to allow researchers, practitioners and students to easily find, use and visualize data from the array of projects that have been curated to date. Clearly, a data repository populated with high quality data and having a simple interface is certain to be a valuable resource for the earthquake engineering community. The term Project Warehouse has been coined to describe this interface and the embedded visualization tools that are facilitated within the NEEShub.


July 31st, 2010 stay tuned for e-mail announcements and videos. At the 9th U.S. National and 10th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Toronto, July 25-29, 2010, we encourage you to make time to visit the NEES booth to try the new collaboration platform of



After a succession of eight separate earthquake simulations, a 110-foot long, 11-foot-high, four-span, 200-ton concrete bridge model at the University of Nevada, Reno withstood a powerful jolting (8.0 simulation)- three times the acceleration of the disastrous 1994 magnitude 6.9 Northridge, Calif. Earthquake-- and survived in good condition. It was the third experiment in a series of these tests using innovative composite materials and construction to give superior seismic performance for bridges and highway overpasses. 'This is very satisfying to see how well the design and components worked,' Saiid Saiidi, principal investigator for the project and University of Nevada civil engineering professor, said after the final test on this bridge. 'We estimated bridge failure at 8 inches of deflection, which is a lot, but we had 10 inches of deflection in the support columns and the bridge remained standing and usable, even with considerable internal stresses.'

The bridge model was shaken with bi-directional forces to realistically simulate an earthquake. The researchers mimicked the Northridge earthquake using recorded data of the actual earthquake. Computer programs direct the movements of the three large hydraulically-controlled shake tables in the University's world renowned, large-scale structures laboratory. 'What is extraordinary about the construction techniques tested with this bridge is the use of glass and carbon fibers to support the bridge, precast columns, segmental columns and special steel pipe-pin connections in a high seismic setting,' Saiidi said. The test was attended by about 50 engineers and industry representatives, including Caltrans chief of earthquake engineering and several senior bridge engineers from Caltrans and NDOT. About 100 viewers from around the country observed the test live via the Web.


NEEScomm is currently working with sites to develop their FY2011 Annual Work Plans. In order to encourage greater participation in Network EOT activities, sites are now able to budget such activities into their Annual Work Plans. Previously, site EOT activities included in AWPs were limited to those having primarily a local impact, for example tours and local community events. Now sites are encouraged to propose network-level EOT activities. Examples include developing a curriculum module (K-12 or higher education) that can be shared nation-wide or partnering with a national organization to develop an educational activity with a broad geographic audience. This change is just one of many which are being made to position NEES as the leading source for earthquake engineering EOT activities.


NSF has chosen to invest an additional $1 million into the NEES infrastructure. NEEScomm received a request to submit ideas for user-driven upgrades to enhance NEES Network Capabilities. The goal of the solicitation was to develop ideas for major capabilities that are not currently available on the network. This rapid response request resulted in 12 initial ideas that have been submitted to NSF for review. NEEScomm will work with NSF and the sites to complete a proposal for these network-wide upgrades by July 15. It is anticipated that funding for these upgrades will be available from FY2010 budget. This is a tremendous opportunity to bring additional capabilities to the NEES network.


NEEShub Release I was actively in development over the last few months. NEEShub Prototype 2 was released to a group of testers for feedback on the overall look and feel and on the display of research data. A NEEShub Workshop took place in early June at the Purdue University Bowen Lab. A series of exercises using NEEShub Prototype 2 were designed for real world usage of NEEShub. The workshop provided excellent input to the NEEScomm IT team which will be blended into NEEShub Prototype 3. The full NEEShub Release 1 will be released on July 31. Look for regular communication each week in July describing new NEEShub features and NEEShub go live events.

When NEEShub Release I goes live at the end of July, a Site Availability Calendar for each NEES Site will be available. The Google-based calendar will track availability of major equipment types within each Site (shake table, centrifuge, etc.). The calendar was requested by the Site Managers at the Site Managers Workshop in April 2010. It will be modeled after the calendar currently in use at the University of Texas, Austin.


The Education, Outreach, and Training group has been busy these past few weeks with the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) summer research program and the EOT summer workshop.

The 2010 REU summer research program has twenty-eight talented and enthusiastic students distributed among seven NEES equipment sites. Students regularly collaborate and share experiences through an interactive NEES REU web site. We just finished their orientation meeting hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno. Many thanks to Sherif Elfas and Kelly Doyle-Lyttle for organizing this activity.

An extremely successful EOT workshop, held June 28 and 29 in West Lafayette provided an opportunity for members of the NEES community to share new and exciting Education, Outreach, and Training ideas with one another. The thirty-two participants were able to plan interactive collaborations while investigating new educational resources. Several good ideas were refined and plans have been initiated for an exciting year of EOT. We plan to get together to share more ideas at the upcoming annual meeting. Please join us there, and let us know if you have some EOT ideas that we could share with others in the network.

Thank you,

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Director NEES Operations
Purdue University