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Title: Developing a global risk engine
Author: Silva, V.
Crowley, H.
Pinho, R.
Varum, H.
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: Risk analysis is a critical link in the reduction of casualties and damages due to earthquakes. Recognition of this relation has led to a rapid rise in demand for accurate, reliable and flexible risk assessment software. However, there is a significant disparity between the high quality scientific data developed by researchers and the availability of versatile, open and user-friendly risk analysis tools to meet the demands of end-users. In the past few years several open-source software have been developed that play an important role in the seismic research, such as OpenSHA and OpenSEES. There is however still a gap when it comes to open-source risk assessment tools and software. In order to fill this gap, the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) has been created. GEM is an internationally sanctioned program initiated by the OECD that aims to build independent, open standards to calculate and communicate earthquake risk around the world. This initiative started with a one-year pilot project named GEM1, during which an evaluation of a number of existing risk software was carried out. After a critical review of the results it was concluded that none of the software were adequate for GEM requirements and therefore, a new object-oriented tool was to be developed. This paper presents a summary of some of the most well known applications used in risk analysis, highlighting the main aspects that were considered for the development of this risk platform. The research that was carried out in order to gather all of the necessary information to build this tool was distributed in four different areas: information technology approach, seismic hazard resources, vulnerability assessment methodologies and sources of exposure data. The main aspects and findings for each of these areas will be presented as well as how these features were incorporated in the up-to-date risk engine. Currently, the risk engine is capable of predicting human or economical losses worldwide considering both deterministic and probabilistic-based events, using vulnerability curves. A first version of GEM will become available at the end of 2013. Until then the risk engine will continue to be developed by a growing community of developers, using a dedicated open-source platform.
Peer review: yes
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