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NEES Update: February 2011

Posted in Announcements

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

NEES Update

February 2011

Greetings! We are pleased to share with you an update on the evaluation of the network by NSF taking place this year, several positive network initiatives, educational and training opportunities, as well as IT improvements.

NEES Beyond 2014

The NSF 10-071 Dear Colleague Letter on Plans for the Future of Earthquake Engineering Research Infrastructure Support beyond 2014 describes two studies sponsored by NSF during 2011 to assist with future planning of earthquake engineering research infrastructure beyond 2014.

First, to develop the next-generation earthquake engineering research agenda and research infrastructure needs beyond 2014, NSF is providing support to the National Academy of Sciences, under award CMMI-1047519, to convene a National Research Council (NRC) committee, under the NRC's Division on Earth and Life Studies, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, to organize a community workshop on the Grand Challenges for earthquake engineering research. This study is ongoing and in early March 2011, a workshop will be convened to bring together experts to identify:

  • The high-priority Grand Challenges in basic earthquake engineering research that require a network of earthquake engineering experimental facilities and cyberinfrastructure
  • The networked earthquake engineering experimental capabilities and cyberinfrastructure tools required to address these Grand Challenges

The second study, to be conducted by the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), a NSF Federally Funded Research and Development Center, will build upon and complement the National Academies study described above. The NSF Directorate for Engineering has tasked STPI to identify potential scenarios for the future of NSF-supported earthquake engineering facilities (NSF Contract AST-1045173). As part of this study, STPI will solicit input from the earthquake engineering community to identify the priorities for integrated experimental and cyber facilities that are most critical to address the Grand Challenges in basic earthquake engineering research. The second NSF sponsored study will consist of three activities:

  • An expert panel
  • A community forum
  • A survey

The preparations for the second study are well underway. We have been informed by Dr. Zuckerman (the STPI task lead), that after further discussions with NSF, the survey/interview portion is going to focus on NEESR awardees. STPI is still finalizing the details of the survey, and the survey itself likely won't be fielded until the second half of this year. The expert panel will be having its first meeting in late March. At that time, further discussion on information requirements for the balance of the study will take place. The community forum will take place after the first expert panel meeting.

Positive Network Initiatives:

The CMM is the slim horizontal white element hanging from the crane beam looking down on the column head for which the torsion is being measured.

Sharing Resources Between Equipment Sites - One of the benefits of the NEES network is the ability to collaborate and share resources in support of the research community using NEES. NEEScomm was awarded funding from NSF to purchase a Coordinate Measurement Machine (CMM) that will be available as a network resource. NEEScomm leveraged the expertise from the NEES@UMN, NEES@UBuffalo, and NEES@UIUC site personnel in identifying specifications for the machine. NEES was also able to broker a better price for the network CMM by working with NEES@UIUC staff, which was also purchasing a similar device.

The first site to utilize the new CMM is NEES@UNR for the NEESR project entitled, “Seismic Simulation and Design of Bridge Columns Under Combined Actions and Implications on System Response,” conducted by PI David Sanders (UNR). Experts on the CMM from NEES@UMN have been assisting NEES@UNR staff in set-up and operation of the CMM for the project. When UNR encountered problems with the CMM computer, UNR consulted with the IT personnel at UMN and working together resolved the issue. Additionally, NEES@UBuffalo is sending their IT manager to Reno to provide assistance at the start of the project. This collaboration is a prime example of the knowledge, dedication, and creativity of the personnel who support NEES projects and underscores the value of the NEES network.

Simulation in NEES - Greg Deierlein, Stanford University, has agreed to serve as chair of the new PAC Simulation Steering Committee (SSC). The SSC's charge is to engage the community in creating a vision for computational and hybrid simulation and provide recommendations for NEEScomm to pursue this vision. Committee members include: Pedro Arduino, University of Washington; Ayhan Irfanoglu, Purdue University; Juan Caicedo, University of South Carolina; Frank McKenna, University of California, Berkeley; Dominic Assimaki, Georgia Technical Institute; Pat Lynett, Texas A&M; Jian Zhang, University of California, Los Angeles; Narutoshi Nakata, Hopkins University; Silvia Mazonni, Degenkolb; Laura Lowes, University of Washington; Mahmoud Hachem, Skidmore, Owings, Merrill; Gilberto Mosqueda, University of Buffalo; Lelio Mejia, URS Corp; and Greg Rodgers, NEEScomm IT -- ex officio.

NEEScomm NEEShub Boot Camp - Last Friday, February 4, this three-hour interactive webinar for researchers and graduate students provided a great opportunity to learn about and use NEEShub features that facilitate research, data management, and collaboration. NEEShub Boot Camp introduced the NEEShub features that facilitate research and provide hands-on training for data management and research collaboration tools. The webinar, including audio portion, slide presentations, and Q&A will be archived at the NEESR One-Stop Shop and in NEESacademy at earliest convenience.

Workshop on Data Curation and Sharing Cyberinfrastructure for Earthquake Science - The workshop was held February 7, in Chicago, IL. Dr. Ruth Pordes, Fermilab and NEES PAC Cyberinfrastructure Subcommittee chair, and an organizing committee which included Ali Butt, Virginia Tech; John Cobb, Oak Ridge National Lab; Dr. Shirley Dyke, Purdue University; Dr. Rudi Eigenmann, Purdue University; Daniel S. Katz, University of Chicago; and Dawn Weisman, Purdue University, identified event objectives, format and outcomes. The one-day workshop objectives included presenting NEES data management challenges to experienced peers in the community and exploring concrete solutions as much as feasible in a first one-day meeting. 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. A report on the workshop outcomes will be made available to the community via the NEEShub in the near future.

Information Technology Updates

NEEShub Release 2 - The release scheduled in mid-February is approaching the testing phase. Functionality slated for the release includes delete capability for the Project Editor and PEN, an Advanced Search feature for the Project Display, an improved Quarterly reporting process for Equipment Sites, and the ability to run certain Windows tools within NEEShub. A small group of students from a senior level software class at the University of Michigan, assisted by Ann Zimmerman, research assistant professor in the university’s School of Information, will lead the evaluation of NEEShub specifically focused on usability improvements for the Project Warehouse and Project Editor. New and experienced NEEShub users will be interviewed for the study. Results are expected in the April time frame.

Recorded webinars are now available on

The first webinar of the NEES/ Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) engineering education series, Reducing Earthquake Losses: From Research to Practice, was held January 14 and featured key findings of the ground-breaking NEESWood project, Presenters included NEESWood Principal Investigator John W. van de Lindt and Steve Pryor, International Director of Building Systems, Simpson Strong-Tie. Those who were unable to attend or those who wish to view it again, please visit NEESacademy. The next webinar will be announced shortly.

Six-story building atop E-Defense shake table.

The January 27 NEESR Proposal Preparation webinar recording and PowerPoint slides are available in the NEESR Proposal One Stop Shop, along with links to other useful resources. The seminar will help those of you interested in applying for a 2011 NEESR award better understand the expectations of this year’s NEESR proposal process. The deadline is near, March 9, 2011. Potential Research Topics include: NEHRP Strategic Priorities, Project Warehouse Data Re-use, Simulation Development, Payload Projects, and International Collaboration Research Topics. The data eligible for reuse from the NEES Project Warehouse must be data that are curated, archived, and publicly viewable and available at For proposal details, visit NEESR Program Solicitation NSF 11-512.

NEES REU Applications due February 28, 2011

As the deadline for applications to the NEES Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer research program for upper division undergraduate students nears, we ask that you please encourage colleagues to point their best students in the direction of this wonderful summer research opportunity for undergraduates. This year’s sites include: Lehigh University; Oregon State University; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; and the University of Nevada, Reno.

Applications for the summer 2011 REU session are available at REU Program Application and must be completed and submitted online no later 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time on February 28, 2011. NEESR researchers who are applying to NSF for REU supplements on their NEESR projects but would like to have their students also participate in the NEEScomm REU program activities should apply by clicking here.

Students building model.

NEES EOT activities

2010 Family Day during Engineers' Week in Washington, D.C. in the National Building Museum.

NEES will participate across the nation at several events during February including:

  • The EERI annual meeting in San Francisco, CA. NEEScomm team member, Professor Thalia Anagnos, San Jose State University, will set up the NEES information booth with video display spotlighting NEEShub and presenting training videos to help explain it use.
  • Professor Sean Brophy, Purdue University, is presenting Make Your Own Earthquake at the Hoosier Association of Science Teachers, Inc. (HASTI) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pam McClure, NEEScomm team member and two of NEES’ EOT graduate students, Tenille Medley and Jason Lloyd, will conduct a “hands-on” breakfast talk/demonstration for teachers about liquefaction structural engineering. In addition, they will distribute information and handouts at the Purdue Earth Science Outreach and the Discovery Park Booths. NEEScomm expects to reach thousands of Indiana science teachers at this meeting.
  • NEES will be represented in Washington, D.C. during Engineers’ Week by Alicia Lyman-Holt, outreach coordinator for NEES@OSU. Alicia is providing technical expertise to students from The Howard University who will be demonstrating a mini-wave flume at that event. Last year, more than 1,000 children and their families enjoyed the popular mini-wave flume. The wave flume is a NEES network resource built using the specifications of the NEES@OSU mini-wave flume.

NEES has begun collecting the research highlights in preparation of the 2011 Facility Project Highlight booklet. This year, NEES expects to publish about 25 highlights, up from the 18 published last year.

Remember to SAVE THE DATE: 2011 MCEER/NEES Joint Annual Meeting June 9-11 in Buffalo, NY.

Thank you,


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