Earthquake risk modelling: Recent research advances from France and UK

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Presentation 1: Blending physics-based numerical simulations and seismic databases using Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) for earthquake engineering and structural health monitoring (Dr Filippo Gatti)

A new strategy to blend the outcome of physics-based numerical simulations with massive seismic databases is proposed, in order to improve earthquake simulation and structural health monitoring. The approach relies on a set of adversarial learning techniques with a threefold purpose: (1) finding a reduced-dimensional non-linear representation of both synthetic and experimental data; (2) training a stochastic generator of fake experimental responses conditioned by the physics-based simulation results; (3) classify the damage class based on the structural response and predict the damaged response. This methodology is applied to earthquake ground motion prediction and structural damage assessment.

Regional three-dimensional high-fidelity numerical models accounting for both extended sources and complex geology are still limited to a low-frequency range. Moreover, they are prone to significant uncertainties induced by a lack of data on small scale geological structures and rupture processes. Databases of broadband seismic signals recorded worldwide at seismological networks are used to retrieve some pieces of information on these small-scale data to generate realistic broadband signals from synthetic ones. On the other hand, given the structural response of an undamaged structure, engineers need to predict the eventual damage beforehand, based on a monitoring network. The proposed tool demonstrates outstanding performances in encoding seismic signals, together with efficient generation capabilities and cluster capabilities, provided that the physics-based results carry enough information to properly condition the stochastic generator and classify the damage state. In addition, the proposed method, fed only with raw data from both databases and numerical models, outperforms other random signal generators based on pre-existing expertise such as prescribed spectra and more or less complex phenomenological models. 

Presentation 2: Creating a decision support environment for risk-sensitive, pro-poor urban planning and development of tomorrow’s cities (Dr Gemma Cremen)

As the negative impacts of natural hazards continue to escalate around the world due to increasing populations, climate change, and rapid urbanisation (among other factors and processes), there is an urgent requirement to develop structured and operational approaches towards multi-hazard risk-informed decision making on urban planning and design. This is a particularly pressing issue for low-to-middle income countries, which are set to be impacted ever more disproportionately during future natural-hazard events if the “business as usual” urban-development approach continues unabated. Urban poor residents of these countries will significantly suffer under risk-insensitive development trajectories.

To address this crucial challenge, we introduce the Tomorrow’s Cities Decision Support Environment (TCDSE). The TCDSE facilitates a participatory, people-centred approach to risk-informed decision making, using state-of-the-art procedures for physics-based hazard and engineering impact modelling, integrating physical and social vulnerability in a unified framework, and expressing the consequences of future disasters across an array of stakeholder-weighted impact metrics that facilitate democratisation of the risk concept. Operation of the TCDSE leads to a risk-sensitive future visioning scenario (consisting of an urban plan and a set of pertinent policies) owned not only by the planning authorities, municipalities, the government or the private sector, but also by the communities who will live in these future cities. It therefore represents a significant advancement in the state of the art towards inclusive, people-centred disaster risk reduction, as advocated by global policies and world-leading international agencies like the United Nations, the International Federation of Red Cross, and the World Bank. 

About the speakers

Prof Carmine Galasso

Carmine Galasso is a Professor of Catastrophe Risk Engineering in the University College London (UCL)’s Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering (CEGE), UK. His research focuses on developing and applying probabilistic and statistical methods and computational/digital tools for catastrophe risk modelling and disaster risk reduction. He is investigating risks to building portfolios and infrastructure exposed to multiple natural hazards, including earthquakes, strong wind, and flooding, with particular emphasis on low-income countries and community-based infrastructure (schools, hospitals, heritage assets). Carmine is a key investigator of the £20M Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Urban Disaster Risk Hub by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), where he leads the Risk Working Group. The Hub works in four cities (Istanbul, Kathmandu, Nairobi and Quito), collaborating with local, national, and global organisations to strengthen disaster risk governance.

Dr Filippo Gatti

Filippo Gatti is an Assistant Professor in Mechanics at CentraleSupélec, since 2019. He holds a joint PhD in Civil Engineering from Université Paris-Saclay and from Politecnico di Milano (2017) and a MSc (2014) and a BEng (2011) from Politecnico di Milano. He is currently head of the research operation ‘Hybrid twins: simulation, learning’ within the Laboratoire de Mécanique Paris-Saclay and head of the master 1 program in "Geomechanics and constructions". His research focuses on computational earthquake engineering and machine learning applied to civil engineering.

Dr Gemma Cremen

Dr Gemma Cremen has been Lecturer of Risk and Resilience Engineering within the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at UCL since 2021. Gemma’s group develops innovative disaster-risk management tools that facilitate informed decision making for safer future societies. She is a Co-I of the five-year £20M GCRF “Tomorrow’s Cities” Hub ( and the three-year €8M Horizon Europe project “MEDiate: Multi-hazard and risk-informed system for Enhanced local and regional Disaster risk management”. She has authored over 30 journal publications, including an Editors’ Highlight in Nature Communications. She was previously a (Senior) Research Fellow (in Civil Engineering) and a Research Associate (in Geophysics) at UCL and the University of Bristol, respectively. She completed her PhD in Earthquake Engineering at Stanford University in 2019.  


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Further information

The talk is organised by SECED Young Members and co-badged with Groupe Jeunes de l'AFPS. For further information, please contact Marco Baiguera (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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Event Details

Event Date 17/03/2023 12:30 pm
Event End Date 17/03/2023 2:00 pm