Embargoed until 2:00 P.M., EST
NSF PR 99-13 - February 23, 1999
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NSF To Establish "Cybersystem" For Earthquake Engineering
A top National Science Foundation [NSF] official today
described to a House subcommittee how the NSF plans
to use information technology [IT] to establish a
cyber Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation
Testifying before the House Committee on Science'
Subcommittee on Basic Research, Joseph Bordogna, NSF
acting deputy director, said that NEES "will change
the face of earthquake engineering." His statement
was part of testimony in favor of re-authorizing the
National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program [NEHRP].
NEES "will use IT to serve a critical national need
(reducing and mitigating effects of earthquakes):
to help save lives and money; and to make more efficient
use of government's investment in science and engineering,"
NSF is seeking $7.7 million in its fiscal 2000 budget
request for the first year of a planned five-year,
$81.9 million program for NEES.
Bordogna told the subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Nick
Smith (R-Mich.), that NEES, like NEHRP, was initiated
in response to a mandate from Congress to take stock
of the nation's experimental and testing capability
in earthquake engineering.
NEES will use a computer network to bring "a complete
collection of state-of-the-art facilities under one
'virtual roof,'" Eugene Wong, NSF's assistant director
for engineering, said. "It will provide remote access
to users, and make a complete system of testing and
experimental facilities available to the entire earthquake
engineering community." Networking software will enable
the system to use models and databases to develop
model-based simulation, Wong added.
More than 30 U.S. institutions currently have some
kind of experimental earthquake engineering facilities.
These include shake tables for earthquake simulations,
reaction walls for pseudodynamic testing, geotechnical
centrifuges for testing soils during earthquakes,
and floor reaction systems.
NEES funds would be used to: create new shake tables
and upgrade existing shake tables; build centrifuges
and Tsunami testing tanks; build new reaction walls,
load simulators and response modifiers; and create
field test facilities (i.e. mobile equipment, field
sites and post-quake labs). Funds will also provide
for system integration and to ensure completion of
all core facilities.
Bordogna stated that NEES can serve as an educational
tool for students and the public, and as the primary
repository of earthquake engineering physical experiments
and data. He added that NEES also will leverage public
and private investments in the $100 billion-a-year
IT industry by using existing software and making
effective use of the high-speed networking infrastructure
that is one of NSF's most successful ventures.
Broadcast Editors: B-roll of the dramatic real-time
earthquake footage and earthquake research accompanying
Dr. Bordogna's testimony is available by contacting
Dena Headlee at NSF's Office of Legislative and Public
Affairs at (703) 292-8070, email: firstname.lastname@example.org