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Supercomputers ­sed to Model Disaster Scenarios

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A New York City home destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Researchers at the Bangor University School of Computer Science are running programs on supercomputers to try to predict how people will react in a disaster.

Credit: Associated Press

Bangor University School of Computer Science researchers are using supercomputers to run programs that can predict how people will react in a disaster.

The researchers are working with High Performance Computing Wales' supercomputer to help develop an agent-based modeling toolkit, specifically designed for use on a high-performance computer. The system will help students simultaneously run thousands of simulations, enabling them to improve the accuracy of the predictive models through aggregated results. The system is fast enough that thousands of simulations take hours to run instead of weeks.

The researchers say the faster processing time means averages can be extracted from a larger number of scenarios, enabling more accurate predictions. "It will be great research and work experience for our students, I'm looking forward to helping them," says project supervisor and Bangor Ph.D. student Chris Headland. He says these types of supercomputing technologies can handle and analyze massive amounts of data at high speeds, and could lead to breakthroughs in product, process, and service development and boost business competitiveness.

From Bangor University
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