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NEES Community Update - December 2012


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Research News
In the Network
Outreach News

2013 Upcoming Events

January 1
Application Deadline for 2013 NSF CAREER Proposal Writing Workshop

See Event Details

January 24
Using the NEES@UCSB Data in Research and Education Webinar

See Event Details

January 31
SERIES Concluding Workshop Abstract Deadline

See Event Details


Director's Letter

This is the thirty-first update to the community since NEEScomm was established on October 1, 2009 as the headquarters of NEES Operations.  In closing the calendar year of 2012, the ninth year in operation since officially opening its doors in October 2004, NEES is accelerating improvements in seismic design and performance in unprecedented ways, by serving as an indispensable collaboratory for discovery and innovation.  In the research news section of this update, the sample of projects highlighted clearly illustrates the global reach of NEES; and the NEEShub (, the platform for collaboration of the NEES community, further magnifies it with 5,700 registered users from more than 180 countries.

In 2013, NEEScomm will partner with users of NEES to capture and broadly disseminate the impact of NEES.  The first project to accomplish this goal is described on the NEES Project Highlights Callout Section of this update.  We look forward to working with you and need your collaboration in completing this important task for all of us.

We look forward to another year of great accomplishments of the NEES community and wish you all a 2013 full of good health and success!


Julio Ramirez
NEES Chief Officer and NEEScomm Center Director


Update on NEES Grand Challenge Project on the Seismic Response of Nonstructural Systems

This month the large-scale capstone test of the Grand Challenge Project Seismic Performance of Nonstructural Elements was carried out using a two-story frame mounted on multiple shake tables at NEES@Reno under the direction of the project Principal Investigator Prof. Manos Maragakis from the University of Nevada, Reno.  The nonstructural components included full-scale partitions, suspended ceilings, and sprinkler piping layouts.

Experiments began on December 11, 2012 starting with a 25 percent of motion-simulated earthquake, moving upwards of 75 percent of motion over a two-day course.  The experiments were conducted to establish the following:

  • response of the nonstructural components, as part of a system under large drifts/accelerations
  • interactions within and between the nonstructural components
  • interactions between the components and the structure
  • effects of structural yielding on response of the nonstructural components

NEES@Reno provided a unique experience where online viewers could watch the tests live and Prof. Maragakis delivered audio descriptions of the test through the use of a webcam and audio equipment.  This great video footage along with the video of the equipped interior rooms are posted on their Facebook page at  As Prof. Maragakis mentioned during the webcast, preliminary conclusions will soon be available linked from the project homepage at

Data obtained from this project will be archived and made publicly available in the NEEShub Project Warehouse (

Photo Credit: University of Nevada-Reno

T-Rex Heads to Christchurch

With the recent NSF award of a RAPID/EAGER project, NEES@Texas under the direction of Principal Investigators Henri Gavin, Brady Cox, and Ken Stokoe will be performing deep soil profiling at the Christchurch Women's Hospital, located in Christchurch, New Zealand.  The research objective of this project is to measure the long-term seismic responses of the base-isolated hospital and to use these measurements, along with computational models, to asses the relative effects of soil-foundation-structure interactions with liquefying soil, for interactions between adjacent bulidings, and for interactions across the isolation interface.

With the use of the NEES@Texas T-Rex truck, nine networked triaxial accelerometers and three displacement sensors, installed at three levels within the structure, will allow for remote monitoring of aftershock responses and rapid data processing.  Read More

Photo Credit: University of Texas at Austin

NEES Research Project Highlights Callout

The impact of NEES research, embracing both completed and current projects, is being gathered for an upcoming publication to be used as a vital vehicle to share with our community and the general public the impact of NEES work on improving the earthquake resilience of our society.  To date, 388 research projects have gone through the network, of which 166 are NSF-funded NEES projects.  In our first three years as managers, NEEScomm has highlighted 54 projects in past issues of the NEES Activity Highlights books.

The upcoming publication will have a new layout, highlighting completed projects that have played an important role in earthquake and tsunami research such as code change, seismic design improvements, etc.  Community members who have conducted research using NEES are encouraged to participate in this unique, debut publication by submitting both completed and current projects.  Many have already been contacted directly but if any project has begun with some tests already completed, we would like to have a submission to be included on your behalf.  Those of you who have been contacted already have been asked to complete online submissions by today, December 17, 2012.  However, we are extending the deadline to accommodate additional submissions from other interested members of the community.  If you would like to work with us in disseminating the impact of your work in NEES, please contact Teresa Morris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before January 8, 2013 with your proposed submission timeline.  The sooner the better to ensure your participation!

2013 Upcoming NEES Research Projects

As we look to the future and the overall impact of NEES research, we don't have to look far to the upcoming projects taking place at the NEES equipment sites.  The following is a sample list of research projects taking place in the upcoming year.  As projects complete experiments, watch for updates on their progress and preliminary reports.


  • Hybrid Simulation of Multi-Story Structural Systems Through Collapse
  • Development and Simulation of Seismically Isolated Unibody Residential Buildings for Enhanced Life-Cycle Performance
  • Seismic Risk Reduction for Soft Story Woodframe Buildings
  • Performance-Based Design for Cost-Effective Seismic Hazard Mitigation in New Buildings Using Supplemental Passive Damper Systems
  • Walls (includes several different grants and PI's) - Masonry, Steel, and Special Structural Walls; Unbonded Post-Tentioned Rocking Walls for Seismic Resilient Structures; Post-Tentioned Coupled Wall Systems
  • Full-Scale RC and HPFRC Frame Subassemblages Subjected to Collapse-Consistent Loading Protocols
  • Toward Rapid Return to Occupancy in Unbraced Steel Frames
  • Enabling Performance Based Seismic Design of Multi-Story Cold-Framed Steel Structures
  • Inertial Force-Limiting Floor Anchorage Systems for Seismic-Resistant Building Structures


  • Earthquake Response and Rehabilitation of Critical Lifelines
  • Capacity and Performance of Foundations for Offshore Wind Towers

Soils and Liquefaction

  • Earthquake Performance of Full-Scale Reinforced Soil Walls
  • Evolutionary Intensity Measures for More Accurate and Informative Liquefaction Hazard Evaluation
  • Seismically Induced Rock-Slope Failure:  Mechanism and Prediction
  • Advanced Site Monitoring and Effective Characterization of Site Nonlinear Dynamic Properties and Model Calibration
  • Induced Partial Saturation Through Transport and Reactivity


  • Measuring Runup and Bed Shear Stress using Long Stroke Wavemakers
  • Tsunami-Induced Coherent Structures and Their Impact on Our Coastal Infrastructure
  • Interaction of Tsunamis with Short Waves and Bottom Sediment - Numerical and Physical Modeling


NEEShub Users See Big Improvements, More to Come

NEEShub continues to be the pioneer for online collaboration among earthquake and tsunami engineers.  We strive to provide the most complete, one-stop-shop for researchers by providing leading edge, power packed online simulation tools, data sharing, and collaboration in one location.  Currently, NEEShub has over 11,000 active users with nearly 9,000 downloads in the last quarter alone.  This is nearly double the users and downloads at this time last year.

The year 2012 brought two NEEShub releases with a major facelift improving the look and feel of the homepage.  With the 4.0 and 4.5 releases, work under the hood provided search improvements and a project rating system along with a number of other great enhancements for users to implement in their daily routines.  Many of the enhancements included new tools and wish list items that were contributed by our community members.  Each contribution made by our community continues to fill voids and gaps to further enhance the overall usability of the NEEShub.

As we begin 2013, we are ever mindful of the September 30, 2014 end date for all open NEES projects.  The NEEScomm IT team looks forward to continuing to serve the community to ensure all projects are complete and available to the community.  Here are the most significant NEEShub enhancements planned for the upcoming year: (for complete descriptions, read more here)

  • New High Performance Computing (HPC) Features
  • Data Object Identifiers (DOIs) for Other Resources
  • Preservation Pipeline Phase 2
  • Incorporation of Federated Identity
  • Curation at the Source Prototype
  • Support for Launching Other Tools from Project Warehouse
  • Generalized Database Solution
  • Hardware Upgrade
  • Traveling NEEShub boot camps
  • Post-Experiment Curation Activity

Related Link: Tool Release Announcement, Release 4.0, and Release 4.5

Female Faculty in Earthquake Engineering Research

This year seven female faculty from six U.S. academic institutions launched the NSF-supported effort to "Enhance the Career of Female Faculty in Earthquake Engineering Research (ENHANCE)."  A four member advisory board with experts in junior faculty mentoring will assist the project collaborators.

Female Faculty Leaders include:

  • Aspa Zerva of Drexel University
  • Sara Wadia-Fascetti of Northeastern University
  • Anne Kiremidjian of Stanford University
  • Rachel Davidson of the University of Minnesota
  • Cathy French of University of Minnesota
  • Carol Shield of University of Minnesota
  • Ellen Rathje of the University of Texas at Austin

Advisory Board include:

  • Susan Lozier of Duke University
  • Tom Birkland of North Carolina State University
  • George Lee of University at Buffalo
  • Alison Flateau of University of Maryland

This effort aims to enhance the careers of academic women in earthquake engineering research through mentoring, empowering, supporting, promoting, and networking.  ENHANCE consists of two major activities:  1.) one-on-one and group mentoring of junior female (tensure-track, recently tenured, and research) faculty at U.S. universities via workshops, writing activities, and personal advising; and 2.) the creation of an international community of female faculty in earthquake engineering through the establishment of a private website.  This interactive website takes advantage of resources provided by the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation.

Read More

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Now Accepting Applications for 2013

In its seventh year serving over 100 undergraduate students, the NEES Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program is now accepting applications for 2013.  This legacy program involves the use of 6-8 of the 14 NEES equipment sites nationwide.  Students participate in 9 weeks of research, working alongside NEES researchers while building connections with mentors and a national network of interns.  We are fortunate to have many REU students report back that their experience, most times a first in research, helped shape their decision to pursue graduate degrees.  It is our hope that the next 20-30 students chosen for the 2013 REU program will have the same experience and look forward to working with them.

Apply now!  To learn more about the program and the application process, visit this link.  The deadline for application submissions is February 28, 2013 at 8:00 AM PDT.

The Great Shakeout

NEES fuly supports and encourages the public to participate in the annual earthquake drill known as "The Great Shakeout." The Great Shakeout helps people in homes, schools, and organizations improve preparedness and practice how to be safe during earthquakes.  Each region of the United States has a specific date for participation with Central U.S. coming up in February 2013.  Do you know when your state participates in this earthquake drill?  Be sure to click below for exact dates in your region.  And don't forget to register!

Related: NEES Governance Board Member Mark Benthien Honored for "ShakeOut" work.  Read Full Article

Quake Summit 2013 and 2014

NEES announces dates and venues for both the 2013 and 2014 annual meetings.  Why talk about both so soon?  NEES is in full swing with plans for the 2013 Quake Sumit in Reno, Nevada talking place August 6-8, 2013.  Just as pressing, however, are plans for the 2014 Quake Summit as we are partnering with EERI in Anchorage, Alaska, July 12-16, 2014 during the 10th U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, on the 50th Anniversary of the Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami.  For this meeting, travel plans in and out of Alaska should be finalized 6 months in advance of the 2014 meeting.

Please stay tuned for information on the abstract callout and process for acceptance of papers and special session requests. You will start receiving regular communication for both the 2013 and 2014 annual meetings.  Please mark your calendar for both must-attend annual meetings!

Find Us on the Web

The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded organization of which the goals are part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program’s (NEHRP) coordinated effort to address earthquake risk in the United States.  The NEES mission to accelerate improvements in seismic design and performance by serving as an indispensable collaboratory for discovery and innovation.  Cooperative Agreement CMMI-0927178

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