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New computers to swiftly predict tsunami damage

TOKYO >> A new disaster-­preparedness system, covering nearly 8,100 miles of Pacific coastline from Hokkaido to Kagoshima Prefecture, will predict tsunami damage within 20 to 30 minutes after an earthquake occurs.

Developed by researchers from Tohoku University, Osaka University, NEC Corp. and other organizations, the system has been designed to efficiently distribute damage forecasts to the national government and elsewhere. This will expedite rescue and recovery efforts.

Drawing on real-time seismic intensity and tectonic plate movement data, supercomputers at the two universities will predict the impact of tsunami on 11-1/2-square-mile swaths of coastline, factoring in topography and city planning to estimate the extent of flooding and the number of destroyed buildings.

Earlier versions of the system covered less than 4,000 miles of coastline. This year’s shift to cutting-edge computers, set to launch in April, will mean a fourfold increase in processing capacity.

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