LA JOLLA, Calif., Sept. 26 -- The University of California-San Diego issued the following news release:
Three research organizations at the University of California, San Diego, have been awarded a multi-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to build an end-to-end cyberinfrastructure to perform real-time data-driven assessment, simulation, prediction, and visualization of wildfire behavior.
The project, called WIFIRE, starts October 1 and is funded under a three-year grant worth approximately $2.65 million. Participants include researchers from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology's (Calit2) Qualcomm Institute, and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) department at the university's Jacobs School of Engineering. Also participating in the project is the University of Maryland'sDepartment of Fire Protection Engineering.
The WIFIRE CI (cyberinfrastructure) will support an integrated system for wildfire analysis, with specific regard to changing urban dynamics and climate. The system will integrate networked observations such as heterogeneous satellite data and real-time remote sensor data, with computational techniques in signal processing, visualization, modeling, and data assimilation to provide a scalable method to monitor such phenomena as weather patterns that can help predict a wildfire's rate of spread.
"WIFIRE will be scalable to users with different skill-levels using specialized web interfaces and user-specified alerts for environmental events broadcasted to receivers before, during, and after a wildfire," said Ilkay Altintas, principal investigator for the WIFIRE project. "This approach allows many sensors to be subjected to user-specified data processing algorithms to generate threshold alerts within seconds. Integration of this sensor data into both rapidly available fire image data and models will better enable situational awareness, responses and decision support at local, state, national, and international levels."
The WIFIRE CI will encompass the remote sensor network that is currently part of the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN) project started at SDSC under NSF funding in 2000. HPWREN director and co-founder Hans-Werner Braun is a co-PI of WIFIRE, in addition to Larry Smarr, founding director of Calit2; and MAE Professor Raymond de Callafon.
"San Diego County is already well positioned to monitor and analyze these dynamics through sensors within and outside of our research networks," said Braun, who has been working with industry and government officials to expand the Area Situational Awareness for Public Safety Network (ASAPnet), a grid of high-speed, wireless communications connecting 60 backcountry fire stations in the region. "We have been collecting environmental data for more than 10 years through HPWREN, merging large volumes of data and computational models into sophisticated visualizations, and have forged new networks through our government and industry partners such as CAL FIRE, the U.S. Forest Service, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and the San Diego County Emergency Operations Center to direct and share our research."