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NEES Community Update - April 2014

Research News
In The Network
Outreach News

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

April 24 & 25
NEES Data Management and Upload Workshop, Davis, California

See Event Details

April 26 & 27
3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival, Washington DC

Registration Details

May 12
Application deadline: EERI/FEMA Graduate Fellowship in Earthquake Hazard Reduction

See Event Details

July 21-25
10CEE meeting, Anchorage, Alaska

See Event Details

Sept. 28 - Oct. 1
3rd Annual Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction

See Event Details


Director's Letter


April 7 Workshop at NIST Launches Effort to Improve Disaster Resilience of Communities

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Md., is hosting six workshops devoted to developing a comprehensive, community-based disaster resilience framework. The first workshop was held at the NIST laboratories in Gaithersburg, Md., on Monday, April 7, 2014.

Focusing on buildings and infrastructure lifelines such as communications and electric power, and the role these play in contributing to community resilience, the planned framework is aimed at supporting communities in efforts to protect people and property and to recover more rapidly from natural and man-made disasters. The release of the framework, planned for public comment in April 2015, will establish overall performance goals; assess existing standards, codes, and practices; and identify gaps that must be addressed to bolster community resilience.

The second workshop is scheduled for July 30, 2014 at Stevens Institute of Hoboken, New Jersey. The registration fee for the inaugural workshop was $55 with limited space.

Left: Warren Edwards, executive director of the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI) from Oak Ridge, TN, delivers the keynote lecture entitled, "What is community resilience and why is it difficult to measure?"

More information on the disaster resilience framework can be found at

Stay on Testing Schedule

With the deadline of September 30, 2014, it is critical for equipment sites to stay on schedule while keeping safety as the highest priority. We encourage researchers with plans to test between now and that deadline to stay in constant communication with the site managers. We are informed that all sites are currently on schedule to finish testing on or before that deadline. NEEScomm Site Operations Director Dann Parker is ready to support researchers and site managers in this important task. Data uploading and Curation of projects is another key priority for NEES. The NEEScomm Curator and his team are working with the community to facilitate this important task for researchers.


Julio Ramirez
NEES Chief Officer and NEEScomm Center Director

Hybrid Simulation Primer and Dictionary now available 

Newcomers to hybrid simulation are now able to download the Hybrid Simulation Primer and Dictionary. It is available here.

Prepared by the NEES Hybrid Simulation Task Force (of the NEES Simulation Steering Committee) led by Professors Narutoshi Nakata and Shirley Dyke, the publication is intended to serve as an introduction to this cost-effective simulation technique.  

This volume discusses the basic components of a hybrid simulation and it outlines the typical procedures by which hybrid simulations are performed. Both Hybrid Simulation and Real-time Hybrid Simulation are addressed. After reading this document, we anticipate that users new to hybrid simulation will have the fundamentals to plan a simple hybrid simulation, and will understand how the physical and computational components work together during the execution of a hybrid simulation. Researchers that are interested in conducting hybrid simulations are expected to have experience with typical structural engineering laboratory equipment such as hydraulic actuator and data acquisition, as well as modeling approaches and solution procedures in structural dynamics. The primer's dictionary section also clarifies terms and their synonyms, helping new users to understand the similarities when multiple terms for describing a single concept. 

This publication is authored by Narutoshi Nakata (chair), Shirley J. Dyke, Jian Zhang, Gilberto Mosqueda, Xiaoyun Shao, Hussam Mahmoud, Monique H Head, Michael Erwin Bletzinger, Gemez A. Marshall, Ge Ou and Cheng Song. 

The next task for the NEES HS Task Force will be a report on the Acceptance Criteria suitable for hybrid simulations. Look for that report later this summer.


Remote access available for NEES Data Management Workshop, April 24 & 25

The final NEES Data Management Training and Data Upload Assistance workshop takes place Thursday and Friday, April 24 and 25.

NEEScomm data curator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. will provide hands-on training and upload assistance to NEES researchers who have data to upload to the NEEShub repository.

The workshop is full. Nevertheless, the morning sessions on April 24 will be accessible remotely via WebEx. Topics available for remote attendees include sessions on data management and data archiving fundamentals, as well as demonstrations of the uploading tools.

View the agenda and remote access details on the NEEShub.

NEES faculty, professional staff, and students: time to register for Quake Summit

Register now for the 2014 Quake Summit, July 21-25. The event takes place in Anchorage, Alaska in tandem with the 10NCEE meeting. The conference commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964.

Paper presenters, NEESR principal investigators, students, and equipment site personnel are all encouraged to visit the 10NCEE website and register.

Some things to bear in mind --

  • Conference-rate rooms at the Marriot Hotel are sold out; some rooms are still available at the Anchorage Hilton. 
  • NEESR PIs required to attend Quake Summit may still submit a poster for consideration.
  • Airfare discounts are available for United and Alaska Airlines. Be sure to check the logistics section of the 10NCEE website.
  • Quake Summit conference registration rate increases $100 on May 16.

Find 10NCEE program details at the 10NCEE website. Information about NEES Day, which is Thursday, July 24, is available on the Quake Summit website


NEES researcher DesRoches testifies on mitigating earthquake impacts

On March 27th, engineering professor and NEES researcher Reginald DesRoches testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. Appearing on behalf of Georgia Tech, where he chairs the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, DesRoches testified at a hearing entitled "Advances in Earthquake Science: 50th Anniversary of the Great Alaskan Quake."

In his statement, DesRoches noted that “the 50 years following this earthquake has marked an unprecedented period of great progress in our understanding of earthquakes and how to build to minimize the impact of earthquakes. As a result, we are much more prepared, much safer and much more resilient; however, more can be done to protect our infrastructure.” DesRoches' full statement is available online. Details about the hearing are available from the Committee.

 The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) which coordinates federal earthquake related research has been out of authorization since 2009.  ASCE has been working with Congress and other science and engineering organizations towards reauthorization of this important program. 

Science Nation covers NEES tsunami research

The National Science Foundation's Science Nation program recently featured NEES investigations into damage caused by tsunami debris. The news story and accompanying video include interviews with researchers Clay Naito and Ronald Riggs, and capture dramatic, full-scale debris-strike experiments at NEES at Lehigh.

Professor Riggs discusses the collaborative nature of the research, which involves the NEES at Oregon State lab, the University of Hawaii, as well as the NEES at Lehigh facility. Professor Naito demonstrates how data are collected from load cells installed on the debris specimens. He also explains how the resulting data will help researchers estimate the force buildings need to be designed to withstand. "Within a couple of years, everything we've learned should be applied, and should be required, of all building design."

Read the article and watch the video at the Science 360 site.

NEES researcher McMullin explores misconceptions in EE education 

Kurt McMullin, research engineer and professor at San José State University, recently presented a paper about applying Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), a methodology for understanding conceptual misconceptions, to college engineering students learning the fundamentals of earthquake engineering. 

McMullin's paper "Defining Misconceptions in Earthquake Engineering Education," details specific misconceptions many engineering students have, and therefore carry into practice. The paper also provides an introduction to PCK and discusses ways to monitor student progress. Ideally, defining and addressing misconceptions will lead to better assessment of student capabilities and improved teaching strategies in earthquake engineering.

McMullin presented his paper in March, at the Structures Congress 2014, in Boston. The abstract and article are available in the ASCE Library.



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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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