NET NEWS: Networking to Beat the Shakes

Science  07 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5536, pp. 1735
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5536.1735a

Engineers who design earthquake-resistant buildings and bridges will soon be able to reach into cyberspace to, say, run a shake table or a tsunami-generating tank. The Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation will not only give earthquake engineers access to data and software, it will also allow them to operate experiments at some 20 engineering centers over a speedy broadband Internet 2 link. That means these experts will join other scientific communities—such as astronomers and microscopists—already operating instruments remotely on the Web. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, just received a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation to lead the design of the network.

Applications scientist Tom Prudhomme of NCSA says that the project aims to promote cooperation between groups that normally work apart: the structural engineers who design buildings and bridges, the geotechnical engineers who understand earth movements, and the tsunami experts who are worried about big waves. The network begins operating in the fall of 2004.

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