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Message from PEER Director: Recent Events, New Projects Funded for over $1Million, and the 2018 PEER Annual Meeting

As 2017 comes to a close, I would like to share some of the important activities PEER has been leading during the past few months, announce new projects that have been funded, and look ahead to the 2018 PEER Annual Meeting and pre-conference workshop in January 2018.

Workshops and Technical Seminars

PEER hosted several important workshops during the past quarter, and two are highlighted here. In collaboration with Caltrans, PEER organized a workshop chaired by Cliff Roblee and Sashi Kunnath focusing on characterizing uncertainty in bridge component capacity limit states. A report summarizing this event and its presentations and discussions is being prepared and will be published as a PEER report. Another workshop focused on exa-scale computing for city-scale simulations was chaired by Kenichi Soga and included representatives from the stakeholder community (BART, Caltrans, EBMUD, Hanshin Expressway, LADWP, PG&E), members of the technical delivery community (Microsoft, Nvidia, UC Berkeley NHERI SimCenter, Cambridge Service for Data Driven Discovery), and the academic/consultancy methodology community (PEER, Arup, Kobe University, LBNL, Stanford, USGS, UC Berkeley, University of Cambridge, University of Tokyo). A white paper summarizing the workshop activities is being prepared and will be posted to the PEER web site.

PEER collaborated with the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC) and the Structural Engineers Association of Washington (SEAW) to host a series of technical seminars featuring the Tall Buildings Initiative “Guidelines for Performance-Based Seismic Design of Tall Buildings” Version 2.  Live seminars were hosted in San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles, with webcast sites in Sacramento and San Diego. The afternoon seminars highlighted revisions and updates incorporated into the document that was published during the summer. Several hundred attendees including building officials, and engineering practitioners in structural, geotechnical and geohazard fields, had the opportunity to ask detailed questions to the project team led by co-chairs Jack Moehle and Ron Hamburger. Details of the seminar program can be found here.

New Projects Funded

The PEER Research Committee was re-established in August 2017 and set a strategic plan for the PEER Transportation Systems Research Program (TSRP), benefiting from the previous efforts of the previous TSRP committee. A Request for Proposal (RFP TSRP-PEER 17-01) emerged from this strategic plan and was released mid-September 2017. 47 outstanding proposals were received, covering16 different issues in the broad domains of: Geotechnical Engineering (G), PBEE of Bridge Systems (S), PBEE Methodology (M), PBEE Tools (T), and Areas of Application (A). All proposals were grouped into two categories: 13 seed proposals of $50k total budget or less and 34 full proposals of more than $50k total budget.  Each proposal received three independent reviews from members of the research committee. Based on the priorities of the pre-set strategic plan, pre-defined evaluation criteria that was specified in the RFP, and factors such as the level of engagement of as many of the PEER core institutes as possible, 17 new projects have recently approved: 6 seed projects and 11 full projects. All awarded PIs were informed by November 1 for the seed projects and by December 1 for the full projects. Two of the new projects are collaborations between either two core campuses or a core campus and a member of PEER Business and Industry Partnership (BIP). Awarded projects will be listed soon at TSRP website.

I would like to thank all those researchers who took time to write proposals for this recent solicitation, and I hope to see continued strong participation in future solicitations. There are plans to have the TSRP RFP released annually in the fall, and possibly biannually with another release mid-Spring. More news will be released about this important development.

2018: PEER Annual Meeting and Pre-conference Workshops

PEER is finalizing plans for the 2018 PEER Annual Meeting (PAM), “PEER at 21: The Practice of Performance-Based Engineering for Natural Hazards,” scheduled January 18-19, 2018, on the UC-Berkeley campus. For more information about the 2018 PAM, refer to the PAM web site for the two-day program that includes special presentations and the announcement of the winner of the 2017 PEER Blind Prediction contest, and registration information.

PEER is partnering with USGS to co-host two pre-conferece workshops on January 17, 2018, to identify research needs and opportunities arising from the USGS HayWired Scenario. Due to limited space, the first workshop is invitation-only and focused on “Practical Uses of and Research Needs for Physics-Based Modeling of Ground Motion.” The second workshop is open and free to interested participants – it is focused on “The HayWired Scenario & Research Needs for Resilient New Buildings,” emphasizing the topics of building performance, building codes, and public expectations.  Additional information about this workshop will be posted to the PEER website.

The PEER organization is robust and active, and we look forward to continuing the strong engagement with the PEER community in 2018. I would like to wish you an early happy 2018, and I look forward to seeing you at the PEER Annual Meeting in January.