Progress in the field of natural hazards engineering and improvements in community safety and resilience have traditionally occurred after some aspect of the built environment performs poorly during a major earthquake, tsunami, or windstorm. While this approach is understandable, it is insufficient to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The Computational Modeling and Simulation Center’s (SimCenter) approach is to proactively address these issues by modeling and simulating the effects of natural hazards on the built environment. The goal of the SimCenter is to provide researchers access to next-generation computational modeling and simulation software tools, user support, and educational materials needed to advance the nation's capability to simulate the impact of natural hazards on structures, lifelines, and communities. Backed by the leadership of natural hazards experts and computational experts, the SimCenter will enable leaders to assess needs and make informed decisions about effective mitigation strategies.


The Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, catalyzes advances in natural hazards engineering research. The SimCenter contributes to this vision by transforming the application of numerical modeling and simulation within the field. The SimCenter lays the groundwork for a data-enabled cyberinfrastructure that will move from an environment of disjointed and oftentimes single-science, deterministic simulations to a collaborative one that bridges diverse scientific communities and integrates high-performance computing, data, software, and experimental facilities. The project aims to enable researchers to tackle problems of unprecedented scale and complexity, and to prepare a new cohort of natural hazard engineers to address and lead efforts to make society more resilient to natural hazards.

The SimCenter cyberinfrastructure framework will allow collaborative simulations from various disciplines to be integrated, while accounting for probabilistic uncertainties. It will incorporate a wide range of natural hazards, utilizing both measured data and results from numerical simulations, and it will include systems ranging from individual components and structures to communities comprising multiple structures and lifeline networks.

The SimCenter is composed of:

  • A computational framework that supports decision-making and enhances community resilience to natural hazards
  • A framework that weaves together existing simulation tools and data, so it can be employed in the near-term and improve as users identify new needs
  • A sufficiently flexible, extensible, and scalable framework where any component can be enhanced to improve simulations and thereby meet future needs
  • An ecosystem that fosters collaboration between scientists, engineers, urban planners, public officials, and others who seek to improve community resilience to natural hazards

SimCenter Team

Leadership Team

Sanjay Govindjee

Principal Investigator
and co-Director

UC Berkeley

Greg Deierlein


Stanford University

Camille Crittenden

CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, UC Berkeley

Ahsan Kareem

University of Notre Dame

Laura Lowes

University of Washington

Management Team

Frank McKenna

Chief Technology Officer

Matthew Schoettler

Associate Director Operations


Stephen Mahin
Founding Principal Investigator & Director

The SimCenter acknowledges the contributions and tremendous insight of Stephen A. Mahin, who was key in developing our vision of using next-generation computational modeling and simulation software to mitigate the effects of natural hazards. As Founding Principal Investigator and Director of the SimCenter, Professor Mahin worked tirelessly in the interest of improving decision-making and strengthening community resilience to earthquakes, storms, and other extreme hazards. His colleagues will miss his intellectual curiosity and drive that brought the compelling, complex vision into reality. Stephen A. Mahin passed away on February 10, 2018, but through his efforts, the SimCenter moves forward with a strong, multi-disciplinary, organizational foundation and vision.

Read more on the UC Berkeley website.

Read more on the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center’s website.