WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue University has won a $105 million federal grant — the largest in school history — to lead a new research center devoted to reducing the loss of human life in earthquakes and tsunamis.
The National Science Foundation grant was announced Thursday, the same day Indiana University said it will receive a $10.1 million grant from the NSF to link supercomputers at six universities to create a powerful research network.
Purdue’s five-year grant will fund a center to link 14 earthquake engineering research centers across the nation, allowing researchers to easily share data and conduct experiments remotely.
The goal of the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation will be to prevent earthquake deaths and destruction by helping design buildings, bridges and other structures that are less susceptible to earthquake damage.
Julio Ramirez, a Purdue professor of civil engineering, noted that last year’s magnitude-7.9 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province left almost 90,000 people dead or missing.”The earthquake caused a tremendous financial burden in terms of rebuilding the civil infrastructure, but more than that, a high percentage of those who died were children — the future of a nation,” said Ramirez, who will serve as the center’s director.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that earthquakes caused 463,959 deaths in the past decade.
Purdue’s center is expected to begin operations Oct. 1, and will be housed at the university’s Discovery Learning Research Center in Discovery Park.
Meanwhile, IU’s $10.1 million funding from the National Science Foundation will allow it to lead the networking of supercomputers at six universities, turning them into an “an experiment factory” for scientists conducting complex research.
The six partners will provide about $4 million more for the supercomputer network, which will be called FutureGrid.During the four-year effort, the IU scientists will lead an effort to develop new software linking nearly 1,400 advanced computers at IU Bloomington and the five other sites.
IU President Michael McRobbie said the network will allow scientists to conduct extremely demanding research such as complex climate modeling and analysis of DNA segments.
Ultimately, McRobbie said, the project will create investigative tools for scientists “whose computational needs often exceed the capabilities of a single institution or network.”
Brad Wheeler, IU’s vice president for information technology, said the FutureGrid network will link supercomputers to determine the best ways to conduct certain types of research.
The network’s processors will be located at IU Bloomington, University of California at San Diego, University of Southern California, University of Chicago/Argonne National Labs, University of Florida and University of Texas at Austin.FutureGrid will also be linked to Purdue University and the Technical University of Dresden, Germany.
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