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EECS » Grid Computing for Ecological Modeling and Spatial Control of Wildfires


Grid Computing for Ecological Modeling and Spatial Control of Wildfires

The Grid Computing for Ecological Modeling and Spatial Control of Wildfires project is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research project which began in 2005 and concluded in 2008. The project involved several students and postdoctoral fellows who developed several different fire spread models and several different methods to evaluate how spatial control might be utilized to limit the spread of a wildfire. The software simulated a fire starting at a variety of possible burnable locations on a map. The fire would then spread based upon burnable/non-burnable (green/black) areas in the map, in the simplest case, with the possibility of including a local fire load which would affect the magnitude of local burns, as well as the probability of spread. The unique aspect of this project involved the computation for optimal placement of a fire break with the objective of enclosing the fire and sparing as much of the region as possible from burning. The overall goal of the project is to improve the accuracy of responses to fire spread, to develop effective control strategies, and to produce a method that might be useful in training for fire suppression personnel.

The project was a collaborative effort between the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Geography Department, and the Mathematics Department at the University of Tennessee. Over the period of the project, many different models and methods were developed and evaluated, with a summary of the final methods utilized included on these web pages. A paper on this effort is currently under review for publication in a scientific journal (a preprint is available from the investigators upon request).

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation through Award No. IIS-0427471 to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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