Earthquake Forecasting Software Wins NASA Award

The 2012 Software Award was shared by NASA's first mobile app and the QuakeSim software, which models the behavior of earthquake faults to improve earthquake forecasting.

NASA announced that its 2012 Software of the Year Award has two co-winners: NASA's first mobile app and a software named QuakeSim that models the behavior of earthquake faults to improve earthquake forecasting. The award recognizes innovative software technologies that significantly improve the agency's space exploration and maximize scientific discovery on Earth.

Software engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., developed the app, which has more than 9.6 million user installations and receives an average of more than 3 million hits per day. It gathers the agency's online content and other materials, including image and video collections and social media accounts, in a single location, providing public access to science, technology, and engineering discoveries. The app's creators are program manager Jerry Colen, software engineer John Freitas and new media specialist Charles Du.

QuakeSim was developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. It uses NASA remote sensing and other earthquake-related data to simulate and model the behavior of faults in 3-D "both individually and as part of complex, interacting systems. This provides long-term histories of fault behavior that can be used for statistical evaluation. Quakesim also is used to identify regions of increased earthquake probabilities called hotspots," according to the agency's announcement.

NASA said studies have shown QuakeSim is the most accurate tool of its kind for intermediate earthquake forecasting. The team behind it includes principal investigator Andrea Donnellan, Jay Parker, Robert Granat, Charles Norton and Greg Lyzenga of JPL; Geoffrey Fox and Marlon Pierce of Indiana University, Bloomington; John Rundle of the University of California, Davis; Dennis McLeod of the University of Southern California; and Lisa Grant Ludwig of the University of California, Irvine.

A NASA software advisory panel reviews Software of the Year entries and recommends winners to NASA's Inventions and Contributions Board for confirmation. Created in 1958, the board has distributed millions of dollars for thousands of innovative technologies pioneered by federal organizations.

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