Today’s Solutions: September 22, 2021

Japan’s unfavorable geographic position along the Pacific Ring of Fire means that the country is subject to experience a lot of earthquakes, making tsunamis a real and ever-present threat to its people. A new, AI-powered tool developed by the world’s fastest supercomputer may soon offer disaster management teams the necessary support to quickly respond to tsunamis.

The development was a collaboration between different research institutes in Japan, the new predictive AI tool harnesses the computational power of the world’s fastest computer, called Fugaku. Using the computer, the team was able to run 20,000 high-resolution tsunami scenarios and used them as training data for the AI model.

Using such data as simulated offshore tsunami waveforms and coastal flooding conditions, the researchers eventually managed to develop an AI model that could predict tsunami flooding in near real-time, with a high spatial resolution.

In the event of an actual earthquake, the model would first require to be trained on Fugaku, but it could then be loaded onto regular PCs and fed waveform data to carry out the appropriate predictions in a matter of seconds. This was demonstrated in a simulation of a large tsunami impacting Tokyo Bay, where it matched up with flood modeling from the Cabinet Office in Japan.

The fact that the model can be used on regular PCs is key to the developers’ plans of getting the tool into the hands of disaster response teams. This would enable them to prepare for and respond in real-time to the impacts of potential tsunamis in affected areas.

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