KU helping develop earthquake-resistant buildings

Lawrence,KS (12-03-2003)

From Lawrence Journal-World
By Chad Lawhorn

Kansas University is playing a leading role in developing design standards for earthquake-resistant buildings and this week has been host to engineering and computer experts from across the country discussing the issue.

Kim Roddis, a professor at KU's school of engineering, organized the conference, which drew 44 people Monday and Tuesday to the university's Information Telecommunication and Technology Center. Roddis said the conference, funded by the National Science Foundation, mainly looked at how computer modeling could be used to better understand the effect earthquakes have on buildings, bridges, roads and land.

"This is a matter of wanting to design structures in a smarter, more intelligent way," Roddis said.

KU is one of 26 universities across the country that belongs to the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering.

And its expertise in networking large computer systems is expected to make KU a major player in the national effort. Roddis said that was why officials with the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center have become involved.

"ITTC has huge depths of expertise in networking, and that's what we need," Roddis said.

The next step for the group is to develop a five- to 10-year research agenda for the National Science Foundation to consider.

"Kansas University will definitely be a participant in setting that strategy," Roddis said.

"This is one of those areas of research that people don't think about KU conducting because we don't have a lot of earthquakes here. But the students we have here design buildings all over the world."

Roddis said earthquake research was beginning to garner more attention because the principles used to design buildings to withstand earthquakes also can be applied to buildings that are more resistant to all types of unexpected events.

"The one that is on everybody's mind now is terrorism," Roddis said.

For more information, contact ITTC.

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