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Groundbreaking Work

Team Awarded for Earthquake Simulation


A team of scientists and engineers from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas, the University of California, Davis, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center won this year's Analytics Challenge Award at SC06, the premier international conference on high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis.

Led by Tiankai Tu, a Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. candidate, the researchers won for their work on realistically simulating earthquake ground motion to better assess the seismic threat to populated, earthquake-prone areas. 

"We're not trying to predict earthquakes. We are interested in other questions," said team member and Carnegie Mellon Professor Jacobo Bielak.

Professor Bielak said the researchers are interested in which regions will be the most affected if a large earthquake strikes Los Angeles. They are also investigating which seismic frequencies will be amplified most by the soil.

"Answers to these questions will help city planners set building codes," he explained. "[They] will help architects and engineers improve the design of buildings to withstand the seismic forces generated by the ground motion, including those at frequencies that are most strongly excited during an earthquake."

The winning entry is titled "Remote Runtime Steering of Integrated Terascale Simulation and Visualization." Carnegie Mellon team members were Tiankai Tu (team lead), Jacobo Bielak, Julio Lopez, David O'Hallaron, Leonardo Ramirez-Guzman and Ricardo Taborda-Rios. Other team members were Hongfeng Yu and Kwan-Liu Ma of University of California, Davis; Omar Ghattas of the University of Texas at Austin; and Nathan Stone and John Urbanic of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.

"The stunning real-time visualization is made possible by a new computational technique called end-to-end simulation, where mesh generation, partitioning, solving, visualization and data analysis are performed in place and in parallel on the nodes of a supercomputer," said Carnegie Mellon Professor David O'Hallaron.

The award was presented Nov. 16, at the International Conference of High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC06), which was held in Tampa, Florida.    

Related Links: SC06  |  Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center  |  College of Engineering  |  School of Computer Science

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