Shake, Rattle and Roll

Tomorrow’s Forecast: Clear With a Chance of Tremors
University of Texas at Austin (02/10/10) Dubrow, Aaron

The goal of the Southern California Earthquake Center’s (SCEC’s) CyberShake project is to accurately predict earthquake activity for the next 50 years. The CyberShake predictions, called seismic hazard maps, have the potential to preserve lives and save billions of dollars by predicting catastrophic earthquakes.

To create the most recent maps for CyberShake, SCEC partnered with the Texas Advanced Computing Center to take advantage of its Ranger supercomputer. The researchers hope that computational simulations eventually will become the dominant predictor of seismic hazards. CyberShake ultimately will be part of a system that incorporates real-world seismic changes as they happen, producing daily ground motion forecasts.

The methods developed by the CyberShake team will affect many disciplines that use high-performance computing. For scientific computing applications that run serially, the CyberShake’s methodology is an important innovation. Automated use of high-performance computing also could impact atmospheric research, high-energy physics, and biomedical research.

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