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NEES Community Update - March 2013

Research News

In The Network

Outreach News

Events and


May 20-22
The Seventh National Seismic Conference on Bridges & Highways

See Event Details



June 1
Deadline for completing the hybrid simulation survey

Take the HS/RTHS survey



June 3
NEES Deadline for proposals for NEES2 planning grants

See Event Details



July 15
Deadline for RTHS articles to
Structures and Systems

See Submission Details



Online registration now open!

August 6-8
Quake Summit 2013

See Event Details


Director's Letter

NEES leads the way: Building knowledge and capacity in hybrid simulation

As you know, earthquake engineers use hybrid simulation to examine seismic responses using combined physical testing and numerical modeling.

Presently, there are four equipment sites in the NEES network where hybrid simulation is actively being conducted. Details on these sites’ capabilities can be found below:


On the NEEShub, the community has started a wiki page specifically focused on hybrid simulation. Find it here. More comprehensive than any other online resource, this NEES wiki page provides a variety of info, including hybrid simulation tools, publications, and NEES projects that employ hybrid simulation. The page is work in progress and will continue to grow -- along with NEES capacity and user interest.

In addition, NEES has formed a Task Group on Hybrid Simulation (HS) and Real-Time Hybrid Simulation (RTHS). The group is charged with developing a formal roadmap for HS and RTHS technologies within NEES. Chaired by Narutoshi Nakata of Johns Hopkins University, the group will hold a workshop during the NEES Annual Meeting in August, where about 25 users, site personnel, and IT staff will provide input for the NEES HS/RTHS roadmap.

The workshop will address specific topics including,

  • establishment of standards;
  • communication protocols 
for interoperability;
  • training and user support for various tools;
  • needs regarding education and awareness;
  • methods for achieving interoperability amongst the network's hardware and software 
  • accommodation of geographically distributed HS; and
  • NEEShub infrastructure requirements that will support the 
HS/RTHS community.

The Steering Committee for the workshop is seeking input. Please take a moment to complete the brief survey. (The survey closes June 1.)

I look forward to providing even more exciting news about our advances in HS and RTHS.


Julio Ramirez
NEES Chief Officer and NEEScomm Center Director

Opportunity to showcase NEES RTHS efforts

Clearly, real-time hybrid simulation (RTHS) is increasingly recognized as a powerful research technique. To facilitate the understanding and use of RTHS methodologies, Smart Structures and Systems plans to publish a special issue on this important topic.

It is a wonderful opportunity for NEES to shine in this emerging research arena, and all NEES researchers (and students) are cordially invited to submit an article for consideration.

The submission deadline is July 15, 2013.

Please email manuscripts for consideration to Shirley Dyke (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), one of the guest editors for this issue.

See the full announcement for details.



International collaboration on the NEEShub

Recently, Chinese researchers from the Civil Engineering Department at the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) contributed a project to the NEEShub Project Warehouse.

HIT Professor Jian Wang created the project, which currently is in the curation and publication process. The work provides the data used for a journal paper titled “Experimental investigation of the seismic control of a nonlinear soil-structure system using MR dampers’’ published in Smart Materials and Structures. Paper authors are Professors Hui Li and Jian Wang.

The paper studied a two-story, one-bay, three-dimensional reinforced concrete structure in a laminar soil container under earthquake excitation equipped with MR dampers. This study demonstrates the feasibility and capability of MR dampers in suppressing the vibration of the nonlinear structure incorporating soil-structure interaction (SSI) effect and the energy transmission among the control device, controlled structure, and soil.

To explain the project’s structure to the Chinese researchers, Purdue PhD student Gaby Ou led a bootcamp session in Chinese. The Chinese language bootcamp is now posted as a video resource on the NEEShub. Participating in the session were students and faculty from Civil Engineering at HIT.


More Chinese-American collaboration at NEES

For several years, NEES has enjoyed a successful partnership with researchers in China.  For instance, NEES and Chinese researchers have engaged in 3 workshops on collaboration for "Disaster Evolution/Resilience of Civil Infrastructure and Urban Environment." These workshops have resulted in 6 joint research projects already. The reports for the first and second workshops can be found on the NEEShub here and here. The report for the third workshop, held last August in Berkeley, California, is scheduled for release next month.

The fourth workshop will be held in Reno, Nevada, immediately following the annual meeting. More information on the workshop topics and how to participate will be available in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Chinese researchers also share data on the NEEShub. Specifically, engineers from Tongji University have contributed valuable data to NEEShub’s shear wall database. This database, compiled in 2010, contains 267 wall tests from China, Japan and the U.S.

Accessed over 5,000 times, the database provides a broad array of data in a web-based interface that is easy to sort, search and view. Concrete researchers use it to learn and to make generalizations about the behaviors of shear walls -- from a large number of previous tests.


In the news: University of Nevada, Reno

The final phase of the NEES Grand Challenge project, “Simulation of the Seismic Performance of Nonstructural Systems” captured the media’s eye last month.

For the culmination of this six-year study, local, regional, and major news media outlets, including The Discovery Channel Canada, were in attendance.

Cameras rolled as the facility’s three 50-ton shake tables rocked a two-story structure outfitted with common fixtures such as hanging ceilings, water pipes and room partitions.

The goal of the research is to develop the first ever protocol for earthquake-proofing such nonstructural elements.

Project PI Manos Maragakis, dean of UNR’s engineering college, explained to the press that while these components don’t support a building, nonstructural systems comprise about 85% of a building’s value. He added, “They also can cause lots of damage and down-time because the building can’t be used, and they cause injuries or death.”

Also on hand to observe the test were contingents of Japanese and US earthquake researchers and practitioners. Nevada’s governor Brian Sandoval was also in attendance.



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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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