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2010 Annual Meeting: Engineering Workshop on Tall Building Safety

Organizers: Nicolas Luco, Paul Somerville, and Swami Krishnan
Date: September 12, 2010 (1:00-5:00pm)
Location: Horizon Ballroom II, Hilton Palm Springs Resort

Description: At present there are contrasting viewpoints on the issue of tall building safety in Southern California, with some researchers suggesting that tall buildings may be particularly vulnerable while design professionals tend to think that they may be safer than other categories of buildings. The purpose of this workshop is to stimulate discussion on the topic of tall building safety in Southern California, with a special focus on earthquake ground motions simulated by SCEC, their scientific basis and validity, their appropriate use, and their relevance to the issue of tall building safety. The workshop will begin with presentations on ground motions that have been simulated by SCEC and used in analyses of building response. Next, there will be mini-debates on the following three questions, based in part on past and ongoing SCEC research: Are SCEC ground motion simulations improbably high? Do simulated and recorded time histories produce different building responses? What different perspectives come from deterministic scenarios (such as ShakeOut and other scenarios generated by SCEC) vs. probabilistic risk (as used in CyberShake and building codes)? There will then be a summary of the debates as they relate to different perspectives on tall building safety, and discussion of research topics that could help resolve differences of opinion. It is expected that the workshop will lead to a better mutual understanding of different viewpoints, and to the identification of future work in which SCEC research can contribute further to the evaluation of tall building safety in Southern California.


13:00-13:10 Purpose(s) of Workshop
  • Informative discussion of different perspectives on safety of tall buildings
  • Engage earthquake engineers
  • Description of SCEC simulated time histories (and other ground motion products) used
Paul Somerville
13:10-13:55 Ground Motion Products Available from SCEC and their Physics Basis
  • Simulated Time Histories
    • Broadband Platform (1D, others can use)
    • CyberShake (3D, in house use)
    • TeraShake etc (long period) – Kim Olsen
  • Time Histories Provided to TBI and Other Presenters to Come
    • Puente Hills
    • Southern San Andreas (ShakeOut)
    • Northern San Andreas (1906 and repeats)
    • Hayward
  • Response Spectra
    • OpenSHA (others can use)
    • CyberShake (in house use)
Rob Graves
  Debates Related to Tall Building Safety  
13:55-14:40 Are SCEC Simulations Improbably High?
  • Yes: Lisa Star, Farzad Naeim* (presented by Paul Somerville)
  • No: Tom Heaton
14:40-14:50 Break  
14:50-15:35 Do Simulated and Recorded Time Histories Produce Different Building Responses?
  • Yes: Farzin Zareian
  • No: Nirmal Jayaram / Nilesh Shome
15:35-16:20 What Different Perspectives Come From Deterministic Scenario vs. Probabilistic Risk?
  • Deterministic Scenario (but with spatially varying buildings): Abbie Liel
  • Probabilistic Risk (with simulated ground motions): Swami Krishnan
16:20-16:30 Summary of Debates and Different Perspectives on Building Safety Nico Luco
16:30-17:00 Discussion of Future Work related to Tall Building Safety Swami Krishnan


Emigdio Alaniz (ELAC)
Jean Paul Ampuero (Caltech)
Ralph Archuleta (UCSB)
Dominic Assimaki (Georgia Tech)
Jack Baker (Stanford)
Greg Beroza (Stanford)
Harsha S. Bhat (USC/Caltech)
Dave Boore (USGS)
Tom Brocher (USGS)
Mike Buga (SDSU)
Alexander Bykovtsev (CTE Inc)
Scott Callaghan (USC)
Ivy S. Carpenter (UCLA)
Hanlong Chen (USC)
Francesco Civilini (UCSB)
Robert Curren (Kansas State)
Steve Day (SDSU)
Arnol Deolarte (ELAC)
Jessica Donovan (USC)
John Duncan (Baylor)
Amy Eisses (UNR)
Ahmed Elbanna (Caltech)
John Filson (USGS)
Roxy Frary (UNR)
Vahe Gabuchian (Caltech)
Robin Gee (UCSB)
Marisol Gonzalez (Chico State)
Christine Goulet (URS)
Lisa Grant Ludwig (UCI)
Rob Graves (USGS)
Lijam Hagos (CGS/SMIP)
Ruth Harris (USGS)
Ken Hatayama (USGS)
Egill Hauksson (Caltech)
Sven Hauksson (UNR)
Tom Heaton (Caltech)
Vanessa Heckman (Caltech)
Phil Hogan (Fugro West, Inc.)
Ken Hudnut (USGS)
Daniel Huthsing (UCSB)
Tran Huynh (SCEC)
Nirmal Jayaram (RMS, Inc.)
Lizhen Jin (UCR)
Megan Jones (SDSU)
Pierson Jones (UCI)
Tom Jordan (USC)
Erol Kalkan (USGS)
Hiroo Kanamori (Caltech)
Jingqian Kang (TAMU)
Swami Krishnan (Caltech)
Kayla Kroll (UC Riverside)
Sandarsh Kumar (USC)
Nadia Lapusta (Caltech)
Samuel Lauda (PCC)
Abbie Liel (U of Colorado)
Pengcheng Liu (USBR)
Zaifeng Liu (TAMU)
John Louie (UNR)
Nico Luco (USGS)
Silvia Mazzoni (Degenkolb Engineers)
Michael Mello (Caltech)
Kevin Milner (SCEC/USC)
Sarah Morton (UCR)
Ramses Mourhatch (Caltech)
Corrie Neighbors (UCR)
Bob Nigbor (UCLA)
Gabriela Noriega (UC Irvine)
Marleen Nyst (RMS)
Anna Olsen (Colorado)
Kim Olsen (SDSU)
German Prieto (U de los Andes)
Rupa Purasinghe (CalState LA)
Shahid Ramzan (CSUN)
José Restrepo (UCSD)
David Rhoades (GNS Science)
Juan Rodriguez (ELAC)
Daniel Roten (SDSU)
Badie Rowshandel (CGS)
Max Rudolph (Berkeley)
John Rundle (UCD)
Kenny Ryan (UCR)
Hyeuk Ryu (UC Boulder)
Hope Seligson (MMI Engineering)
Bruce Shaw (Columbia)
Zheqiang Shi (SDSU)
Nilesh Shome (RMS)
Hemanth Siriki (Caltech)
Norm Sleep (Stanford)
Teira Solis (UTEP)
Surendra Somala (Caltech)
Paul Somerville (URS)
Seok Goo Song (URS)
Lisa Star (UCLA)
Adam Stevens (PCC)
Igor Stubailo (UCLA)
Mark Swift (CSUSB)
Garrett Thornton (UTEP)
Xiangyan Tian (Caltech)
Nathan Toke (ASU)
Rebecca Tsang (SDSU)
S.R. Uma (GNS Science)
Bernadette Vargas (Etiwanda HS)
Brendon Walker (SDSU)
Randi Walters (Stanford)
Ray Weldon (Oregon)
Kyle Withers (SDSU)
Yoshifumi Yamamoto (Stanford)
Sayoko Yokoi (ERI Tokyo)
Alan Yong (USGS)
Farzin Zareian (UCI)
Zhongwen Zhan (Caltech)
Jinquan Zhong (SDSU)
Mary Lou Zoback (RMS)

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