What is the SimCenter?

The Computational Modeling and Simulation Center (SimCenter) provides next-generation computational modeling and simulation software tools, user support, and educational materials to the natural hazards engineering research community with the goal of advancing the nation’s capability to simulate the impact of natural hazards on structures, lifelines, and communities. In addition, the Center will enable leaders to make more informed decisions about the need for and effectiveness of potential mitigation strategies.

The SimCenter provides modeling and simulation tools using a new open-source framework that:
  1. addresses various natural hazards, such as windstorms, storm surge, tsunamis, and earthquakes;
  2. tackles complex, scientific questions of concern to disciplines involved in natural hazards research, including earth sciences, geotechnical and structural engineering, architecture, urban planning, risk management, social sciences, public policy, and finance;
  3. utilizes machine learning to facilitate and improve modeling and simulation using data obtained from experimental tests, field investigations, and previous simulations;
  4. quantifies uncertainties associated with the simulation results obtained;
  5. utilizes the high-performance parallel computing, data assimilation, and related capabilities to easily combine software applications into workflows of unprecedented sophistication and complexity;
  6. extends and refines software tools for carrying out performance-based engineering evaluations and supporting decisions that enhance the resilience of communities susceptible to multiple natural hazards; and
  7. utilizes existing applications that already provide many of the pieces of desired computational workflows.


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 often 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