How machine learning is helping predict earthquake damage

[Illustration: Peter Arkle]

As a teen in Kashmir, Ahmad Wani survived a devastating earthquake, and the experience inspired him to become a structural engineer. While pursuing his master’s at Stanford, he teamed up with two other grad students, Nicole Hu and Tim Frank, on a project that applied machine learning to historical earthquake data, creating precise predictions of future damage that could guide emergency response. The three cofounded One Concern in 2015, and five cities, including Los Angeles, Cupertino, and San Francisco, are now using the company’s Seismic Concern platform to monitor more than 12 million residences and nearly 700,000 commercial buildings and run evacuation and rescue simulations. The platform recently helped emergency workers in San Francisco identify evacuees following a high-pressure gas-line rupture.

One Concern is an honorable mention in the 2018 Innovation By Design Awards. Check out all the honorees here.KS