Supercomputer used to simulate disaster evacuations

by Minoru Matsutani

Staff Writer

University of Tokyo researchers have used the K supercomputer to develop a simulation for mass evacuations in case of tsunami.

The simulation will help when designing buildings and roads to achieve smooth navigation for a massive number of people moving in the same direction, said Muneo Hori of the university’s Earthquake Research Institute.

It will also help if optimal evacuation routes calculated by the K computer, which can conduct 10 quadrillion calculations per second, are sent out to mobile phones during an emergency, Hori said Friday at the Tsunami Evacuation Symposium organized by Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc.

In developing the simulation, Hori’s team entered a wealth of information, such as data on buildings, roads and other infrastructure in Sendai, Tokyo and other places.

The team also recorded how pedestrians walk on streets and used video footage from the devastating 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean to predict how people would move during a mass evacuation.

Hori also showed in his presentation that the simulation takes into account how walkers can slow down and police officers or other officials can speed up the evacuation process.