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NEES Update: April 2011

Posted in Announcements

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

NEES Update

April 2011




NEES and MCEER Team UP for Quake Summit 2011 – Joint Annual Meeting, June 9-11, 2011


Quake Summit 2011 - Earthquake & Multi-Hazards Resilience: Progress and Challenges, will be held June 9-11, 2011 in Buffalo, NY. The meeting, a combination of the annual meetings of the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) and MCEER (formerly the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research), will feature nearly 100 presentations on the latest research in earthquake engineering and multi-hazards resilience designed to engage researchers, students and practitioners. The meeting will culminate with an optional tour of the test facilities at UB/MCEER’s Experimental Campus for Large Infrastructure Protection, Sustainability and Enhancement – ECLIPSE Campus. For more information, visit the Quake Summit 2011 website:

Guidance on Submission of NSF RAPID Proposals on the 2011 Earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand

Dr. Subra Suresh, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), has issued a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) concerning the acceptance of proposals to conduct research on the effects of the February 21, 2011 magnitude 6.3 South Island of New Zealand (Christchurch) earthquake, and the March 11, 2011 magnitude 9.0 earthquake near the East Coast of Honshu (Tohoku), Japan with the ensuing tsunami and nuclear power plant crises. In response to this, the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), the Directorate for Engineering (ENG), and the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) issued a letter to provide context and clarification for the types of proposals for investigatory research being entertained, together with guidance on the process to submit proposals to these specific directorates.

Researchers interested in submitting proposals to other directorates or offices should contact cognizant NSF program officers directly.

The full text of the letter can be found at:

Miyako City, 2011 Iwate Prefecture

The number of awards made by CISE, ENG, and OISE will depend on the quality of the proposals received and the availability of funds. For timely consideration, proposals should be submitted electronically via the NSF FastLane system by Friday, April 29, 2011. It is anticipated that the majority of awards will not exceed $50,000.

Among the topics appropriate for RAPID proposals, the following is included for the collection of perishable field data: Geotechnical, structural, nonstructural, and critical infrastructure systems performance studies using George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) mobile field equipment (

Proposers planning to use NEES mobile equipment will need to include in their proposal submission, the equipment schedule and budget for equipment and personnel deployment, and will be responsible for obtaining any required field permits.

NEES@UCLA Equipment deploys to Chile after the February 27, 2010 earthquake

Information Technology Updates

Release 3 Status

The latest set of wishes have gone through two rounds of prioritization, one with the Cyberinfrastructure Release Committee (CRC) and the second with the Requirements Analysis and Assessment Subcommittee (RAAS). After all prioritization is complete, the wishes will be reviewed by NEEScomm IT to determine the set of wishes that can be worked by current NEEScomm IT resources.

Two wishes are already being worked due to their complexity; one involves improvements to the Specimen feature in the Project Warehouse, the second involves improvements to how Sensors are uploaded and represented in the Project Warehouse.


Planning for Cybersecurity scans of the 14 Earthquake Equipment sites concluded in early March. The Site IT Managers were provided with a high-level planning document explaining the scanning process and asked to fill out a Cybersecurity Questionnaire. Scans started in early March. Initial formal results should be available in mid-April.

NEEShub was enhanced with an additional cybersecurity feature intended to combat malicious login attempts. With this change, an excessive number of failed login attempts will result in a temporarily blocked IP.

Workshop on Data Curation and Sharing Cyberinfrastructure for Earthquake Science

The Workshop on Data Curation and Sharing Cyberinfrastructure for Earthquake Science took place on February 7 in Chicago, IL. Representatives from several high volume-data cyberinfrastructure projects such as California Digital Library, iPlant, Earth System Grid, Ocean Observatories Initiative, Advanced National Seismic System, IRIS and NSF participated. Key topics included data quality, provenance, data curation, metadata, data management plans, data acquisition, and transmitting/storing/displaying large amounts of data. The final workshop report is available on the NEEShub at:

NEES Site Operations

MTS Suspension

NEEScomm contracts with the MTS corporation to provide maintenance, calibration and repair services for 9 NEES sites. In mid-March, NEEScomm was informed by MTS that they had been suspended from US federal government contracting. The NEES contract with MTS contains two parts: a fixed portion and a flexible portion. The fixed portion of our contract with MTS (the portion that covers routine maintenance, calibration, and labor) is still available and permissible to use. Thus, technicians will still be conducting service visits as planned. However, due to the nature of the flexible portion of the contract (the portion that covers repairs, training, etc.), we are not able to utilize the flexible funds at this time and thus are not currently able to make any purchases from MTS for replacement parts or repairs. NEEScomm and Purdue have reviewed the contract in light of the suspension to assess our options. It was determined that under the parameters of the suspension, a waiver could be granted by the funding agency. As a result, NEEScomm has submitted a formal request to NSF requesting a waiver allowing us to utilize the flexible portion of the contract. NSF is currently evaluating the request and we hope to have a response shortly.

Community Impacts of NEES Business Systems Review

During the first week of March, NEEScomm hosted NSF for a Business Systems Review (BSR) site visit which included a visit to the University of Illinois NEES equipment site. NSF utilizes the BSR as a means of providing oversight of a variety of business systems that support NSF large facilities, of which NEES is one. One major recommendation that will impact the NEES community is in regards to scheduling at the NEES facilities. Currently, projects are scheduled providing both the researchers and NEES facilities a good deal of latitude. However, this scheduling methodology has not always produced the most positive results in terms of project throughput. As a result, NSF wishes to instill a culture change within the NEES community in terms of how projects are scheduled and completed. The preliminary BSR report recommends that centralized scheduling protocols be developed. As a result, NEEScomm will have a greater role in project scheduling. NEEScomm has been working with NSF to implement this request. While the details of the changes have not been finalized, NSF has expressed a desire for the new scheduling protocols to be presented at the NEES annual meeting in June. In the meantime, we will do our best to keep the community involved and informed as the new procedures are developed.

Thank you,


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Director, NEES Operations
Purdue University