Nov 282010
 

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has presented the world’s most advanced earthquake shaking simulation at the Supercomputing 2010 (SC10) conference held this week in New Orleans.

The research was selected as a finalist for the Gordon Bell prize, awarded at the annual conference for outstanding achievement in high-performance computing applications.

This image shows detail from the M8 simulation. (Credit: Southern California Earthquake Center)

The “M8” simulation represents how a magnitude 8.0 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault will shake a larger area, in greater detail, than previously possible.

Perhaps most importantly, the development of the M8 simulation advances the state-of-the-art in terms of the speed and efficiency at which such calculations can be performed.

The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) at the University of Southern California (USC) was the lead coordinator in the project. San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) researchers provided the high-performance computing and scientific visualization expertise for the simulation. Scientific details of the earthquake were developed by scientists at San Diego State University (SDSU). Ohio State University (OSU) researchers were also part of the collaborative effort to improve the efficiency of the software involved.

While this specific earthquake has a low probability of occurrence, the improvements in technology required to produce this simulation will now allow scientists to simulate other more likely earthquakes scenarios in much less time than previously required. Because such simulations are the most important and widespread applications of high performance computing for seismic hazard estimation currently in use, the SCEC team has been focused on optimizing the technologies and codes needed to create them.

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