The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation or NEES is created by the National Science Foundation to give researchers the tools to learn how earthquakes and tsunamis impact buildings, bridges, utility systems and other critical components of civil infrastructure.
NEES is a network of 15 large-scale, experimental sites that incorporate shake-tables, centrifuges that simulate earthquake effects, unique laboratories, a tsunami wave basin and field-testing equipment. All are linked to a centralized data pool and earthquake simulation software, bridged together by the high-speed Internet. The new NEEShub system, a communications web that uses collaborative tools and tele-presence technologies, allows off-site researchers to interact in real time with any of the networked sites.
With these tools, engineers and students from all parts of the country can collaborate on multi-site experiments using simulators that generate earthquake effects strong enough to bring down full-sized buildings.
From that knowledge will come a new set of rules from which engineers can design structures and materials that will better withstand earthquake forces.