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Research Progress and Accomplishments
2003-2004

Foreword

As MCEER enters its 18th year as a national earthquake engineering center, it finds itself at a strategic juncture with a promising future. Strong from the leadership of its past directors, and in particular of George C. Lee, MCEER has pioneered multidisciplinary earthquake engineering research and a culture of coordinated large-scale integrated research projects. These, in turn, have led to many advances in knowledge and accomplishments that have had a tangible impact on practice.

This sixth volume of Research Progress and Accomplishments highlights many of these advances, starting with an overview of the multidisciplinary center approach in earthquake engineering that MCEER has pioneered. The 14 papers that follow provide selected detailed examples of how MCEER research is fulfilling its vision to achieve earthquake resilient communities through its activities.

The papers are presented in groups according to major areas of activity. First are the “Overarching Center-wide Cross Program Research Activities,” whose outcomes provide support to and further integrate the other three major research areas. These studies include the development of earthquake simulation tools (Papageorgiou); development of an Internet-based geographic information system management process (O’Rourke); and an analysis of economic resilience to earthquakes (Rose).

The “Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit of Lifeline Systems” research focuses on the development of analytical, experimental and empirical procedures to evaluate and enhance the seismic resilience of lifeline systems. These studies include the development of improved models of the post-earthquake restoration processes for electric power and water supply systems (Davidson); the development of advanced systems analysis tools to evaluate the joint performance of water supply and electric power networks before and after an earthquake (Shinozuka et al.); and a state-of-the-art disaster loss modeling procedure, that emphasizes understanding how mitigating lifeline infrastructure systems can improve the disaster resilience of a community (Chang).

The “Seismic Retrofit of Acute Care Facilities” research aims to quantify the influence of various seismic response modification technologies to protect structural and nonstructural systems and components in acute care facilities from the effects of earthquakes. The results will be used to provide meaningful input to integrated decision support tools. Studies include development of new materials and technologies for the seismic retrofit of a wide variety of structures and nonstructural components (Filiatrault et al.); development of an integrated decision-assisting model to help executives and engineers make informed choices about alternative approaches to improving seismic safety (Alesch and Petak); and formulation and application of an evolution theory design approach to aseismic design and retrofit and organizational decision support (Dargush).

The “Emergency Response and Recovery” research deals primarily with developing post-event response and recovery strategies to enhance resilience through improving the rapidity with which impacts are identified, resources are mobilized and critical systems are restored when earthquakes strike, as well as through improving the effectiveness of community recovery strategies that are used following earthquake disasters. Studies include the investigation of the relationship between technological and natural disasters (Tierney); and the development of tools and techniques for post-earthquake urban damage detection based on remote sensing images (Eguchi).

Education and outreach activities focus on providing an interface between ongoing research activities and end users. In this regard, a series of web-based education modules on earthquake engineering have been developed and are available on the Internet (Spencer).
Research in the “Seismic Vulnerability of the Highway System” concentrates on developing formal loss estimation technologies and methodologies; analysis, design, detailing and retrofitting technologies for special bridges; response modification technologies; and soil and foundation behavior and ground motion studies for large bridges. Studies include the development of an analytical methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of vibro-stone column and dynamic compaction techniques (Thevanayagam); and the development of decision support software for improving traffic flow after major disasters, which has recently been expanded to include Tri-Center collaboration (Werner).

The papers included in this volume also showcase the type of multidisciplinary multi-institution innovative research for which MCEER is recognized in the engineering community. This tradition of being able to spearhead and/or embrace innovative ideas and nurture them from initial fundamental research to implementation through the efforts of high caliber affiliated researchers and strategic partners, provides the platform from which MCEER is now working to build the Center’s future successes beyond the term of its current 10 year funding cycle as part of the NSF Engineering Education and Centers division. MCEER’s outlook on the future is positive. The Center is looking forward to continuing to serve the NEHRP mission for many years to come, as well as to tackle new challenges by expanding its research activities, through teamwork efforts of MCEER’s researchers, partners and management.

If you would like more information on any of the studies presented herein, or on other MCEER research or educational activities, you are encouraged to contact us:


University at Buffalo, State University of New York
107 Red Jacket Quadrangle
Buffalo, New York, USA 14261
phone: 716-645-3395
fax: 716-645-3399

This report is available in both printed and electronic form (to order a free printed copy (while supplies last) contact MCEER Publications at the email address above.

 
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