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NEES Update: January 2011

Posted in Announcements

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

NEES Update

January 2011

Happy New Year and SAVE THE DATE - 2011 Annual Meeting!

The 2011 NEES Annual Meeting is a NEES and MCEER collaboration. It is scheduled for June 9-11 in Buffalo, NY. Stay tuned to for details.

2011 NEES Governance Board

Mark Benthien (left) and Dr. John Cobb.

On November 1, the Governance Board added new members Mr. Mark Benthien, Director of Communication, Education, and Outreach, Southern California Earthquake Center ( and Executive Director, Earthquake Country Alliance (, Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) and Dr. John Cobb, researcher with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. We welcome them and appreciate the time and effort they will provide NEES. They replace Dr. Roberta Johnson and Dr. Horst Simon whose one-year term ended. Thank you, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Simon, for your service this past year.

In addition to Mr. Benthien and Dr. Cobb, the 2011 governance board includes: Dr. Farzad Naeim, John Martin and Associates, Chair; Mr. Bill Holmes, Rutherford & Chekene, Vice Chair; Dr. Sergio M. Alcocer, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; Dr. Roberta Balstad, Columbia University; Dr. George Cybenko, Dartmouth College; Dr. Kenneth Elwood, University of British Columbia; Dr. Anthony Fiorato, Glenview, IL; Dr. Nancy Healy, National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN); Dr. Glenn Rix, Georgia Institute of Technology; and Mr. Christopher Rojahn, Applied Technology Council.

Breaking the Reconstruction Logjam: Haiti Urged to Recycle Concrete Rubble

January 12, 2011 was the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. We’ve heard how slowly reconstruction is occurring and that the amount of rubble is proving a daunting obstacle as there are few trucks and landfills available to address the issue.

Dr. Reginald DesRoches, Professor and Associate Chair, and Dr. Kimberly Kurtis, Professor, both in the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, and graduate student Joshua Gresham have published a paper in the Bulletin of the American Ceramic Society that reports that this concrete and debris may be safely and inexpensively recycled into strong new construction material. They have made new concrete, which meets or exceeds the minimum strength standards used in the U.S., from recycled concrete fragments and other indigenous raw materials using simple techniques.

"The commodious piles of concrete rubble and construction debris form huge impediments to reconstruction and are often contaminated," says DesRoches. "There are political and economic dilemmas as well, but we have found we can turn one of the dilemmas — the rubble — into a solution via some fairly simple methods of recycling the rubble and debris into new concrete." To learn more, read a summary at Physorg News and the complete study at American Ceramic Society.

NEEShub Workshop at January’s NSF CMMI Meeting

NEEScomm presented “(NEES) Platform for Cyber Collaboration,” a workshop on NEEShub usage, on January 4 during this week’s 2011 NSF Civil, Mechanical & Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) meeting in Atlanta, GA to an Audience of 40 researchers, students and practitioners. The “(NEES) Platform for Cyber Collaboration” workshop featured presentations by Dr. Ellen Rathje, University of Texas, Austin; Dr. Santiago Pujol, Purdue University; and Dr. Michael J. McLennan, Purdue University. We encourage you to have your students register for the upcoming NEEShub Boot Camp webinar scheduled for February 4; details noted below.

Dr. Ellen Rathje begins a detailed description of the NEEShub spaces starting with the Group Space.

NEEShub Boot Camp Webinar, February 4

NEEScomm will host NEEShub Boot Camp on February 4, 2011 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. This three-hour interactive webinar for researchers and graduate students is a great opportunity to learn about and use NEEShub features that facilitate research, data management, and collaboration. NEEShub Boot Camp will introduce the NEEShub features that facilitate research and provide hands-on training for data management and research collaboration tools. Topics include: The Project Warehouse (i.e. data repository) and its Project Display, recommended procedures for data archiving and sharing, Project Editor tool for creating/editing projects in the Project Warehouse, Project Explorer for NEES (PEN) tool for bulk data upload, inDEED tool for data viewing and manipulation, and Group space and SynchroNEES for research collaboration. This webinar will provide essential training for graduate students and researchers to take full advantage of the NEEShub in research. Follow this link to register, NEEShub Boot Camp.


Two incremental releases of NEEShub were moved to production in December. The enhancements concentrated on improved ease of use, improved performance, and new features. The first focused on PEN (Project Explorer for NEES) and the Project Editor. More information on the release can be found at NEEScomm IT Upgrades. The second incremental release provided improvements for RDV (Real-Time Data Viewer), revamped ‘About NEES’ content, and added new cybersecurity content. It also included new functionality for NEESLive and Resource Discovery. More information on the release can be found at NEEShub Code Release.

The NEEScomm IT team made refinements to the design for the delete capability within PEN and the Project Editor. Multiple meetings were held between NEEScomm IT and Oregon State University to better understand user needs around sensor upload/management. These functional areas will be addressed in NEEShub Release 2, which is slated for mid-February.

NEES/EERI Educational Webinar Series Kicks Off January 14, 2011

Six-story building atop E-Defense shake table.

Don’t forget to sign up for Performance-Based Seismic Design of Mid-Rise Light-Frame Wood Buildings, the first webinar of the NEES/ Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) engineering webinar series, Reducing Earthquake Losses: From Research to Practice. The webinar will be offered Friday, January 14, 2011 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time. To register, click here and follow the prompts using event #666 946 334 and event password: NEES.

The program will summarize key findings of the ground-breaking NEESWood project, suggest design approaches, and discuss forthcoming code implications. Presenters NEESWood Principal Investigator John W. van de Lindt and Steve Pryor, International Director of Building Systems, Simpson Strong-Tie, will provide a brief overview, describe the major tests on two and six-story full-scale buildings, and explain the SAPWood modeling software.

The webinar series is geared for both engineering practitioners and researchers, featuring the outcomes of NEES research projects and highlighting the significance of the results for improved engineering design and construction. Future programs are forthcoming.

2011 NEESR Proposal Solicitation Webinar- January 27

Stay tuned to the NEESR Proposal Preparation webinar on January 27, 2011 from 3-5 p.m. Eastern Time. The seminar will feature information to help researchers interested in applying for a 2011 NEESR award better understand the expectations of this year’s NEESR proposal process. To register, click NEESR Webinar. You may register in advance and receive reminders or on day of event. If you choose to register the day of the event, please allow several minutes in advance of program for the registration process.

The 2011 NEESR proposal solicitation deadline is March 9, 2011. Potential research topics include: NEHRP Strategic Priorities, Simulation Development, Payload Projects, and International Collaboration Research Topics. For the first time, proposals that seek new scientific inquiry through reuse of data curated and archived in the NEES Project Warehouse, either alone or in combination with use of the NEES equipment site(s), will be considered. The data eligible for reuse from the NEES Project Warehouse must be data that are curated, archived, and publicly viewable and available at proposal details, visit NEESR Program Solicitation NSF 11-512.

Do not forget to visit the NEESR Proposal One-Stop Shop, a central location with links to information and material that you may find helpful during the preparation phase of your proposal as well as following notice of award.

NEES REU Applications due February 28, 2011

The NEES Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) is a dynamic ten-week summer research program for upper division undergraduate students interested in civil engineer, computer science/engineering, seismic risk mitigation, or engineering education. Students work with NEES researchers, attend virtual trainings with other REU interns and participate in enrichment activities. Mentors include university faculty, researchers and graduate students. Participants are assigned to an individual project that contributes to the goals of an existing NEES research project or to development of cyberinfrastructure tools and/or educational modules. Students receive $5,000 stipend inclusive of housing expenses.

Applications for the summer 2011 REU session are now available at REU Program Application and must be completed and submitted online no later 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time on February 28, 2011. 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.

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.

2010 REU students on tour of shake table at NEES@Reno

NEES@UCLA Team Conducts Simultaneous Trio of Global Field Studies

Six story building atop E-Defense shake table.

NEES@UCLA successfully completed three very different field tests in one week in December: one in Los Angeles, CA; one in Istanbul, Turkey; and one at the E-Defense lab in Miko, Japan.

At the E-Defense facility in Japan, NEES@UCLA PI John Wallace led a team of UCLA and NEES@UCLA personnel in a project that tested instrumented shear walls on a full-scale building. Instrumentation from NEES@UCLA was installed to augment the Japanese instrumentation, specifically to measure concrete shear wall deformations in detail during the shake table testing of a full-scale RC building. Working with Japanese colleagues, they gathered a rich data set on shear wall performance during the week of December 13. This NSF RAPID-funded project opens new collaborative possibilities with NEES@UCLA as an instrumentation resource for E-Defense testing.

“With staff and equipment spread literally around the world, December 2010 stretched our capabilities to their maximum” said Dr. Robert Nigbor, co-PI and Manager of NEES@UCLA. “I am especially proud of our professional staff, all of whom worked extreme hours, much on tasks not normally theirs, to make all three field testing projects successful.”

NEES Beyond 2014

As noted in last month’s issue, NEEScomm has established the Task Force – NEES Beyond 2014 in response to two studies that will assess future research and research infrastructure needs for earthquake engineering beyond fiscal year 2014, which is when the current award ends. [The detailed NSF letter is available at Dear Colleague Letter on Plans for the Future of Earthquake Engineering Research Infrastructure Support beyond 2014 (nsf10-071)]. NEEScomm is presently developing a glossy publication, IMPACT: NEES 2002-2011, to briefly summarize NEES’ valuable contributions to earthquake engineering. We are also compiling a list of NEES-related publications from 2002-present to make available on the website as a PDF version and as hard copy to show how prolific researchers have been in the short time since NEES was established. A number of you have already been contacted regarding the need for information related to these projects and we appreciate your consideration and prompt response to this effort to give NEES research greater visibility.

Thank you,


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