MECHS 2019: Research Agenda and Workshop Update

Published on July 29, 2019


Research agenda available for advancing hybrid simulation

The Multi-hazard Engineering Collaboratory on Hybrid Simulation (MECHS) virtual community has now been active for two years, and together we are making major strides toward expanding the scope of hybrid simulation (HS) methods beyond seismic applications to support research tackling wind, wave and other natural hazards.

Based on the presentations and discussions at our recent joint workshop with ETH Zurich, an explosion in the capabilities and implementations of hybrid simulation is now taking place.

To document these advances and foster new research ideas, an updated Research Agenda for Hybrid Simulation has been posted on the MECHS website, located here: This document incorporates new ideas from the Joint ETH & MECHS Workshop, “New Frontiers and Innovative Methods,” held in March 2019 at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Recall that this research agenda is a living document that will continue to evolve. We encourage you review the updated agenda, get involved, join a workshop, and share your thoughts.

To join the email list for MECHS announcements, just send us an email asking to be added to Announcements contain information about upcoming activities related to hybrid simulation including workshops, sessions, special issues, webinars, benchmark problems and other opportunities.

MECHS Spring 2019 Workshop

As noted above, the March 2019 joint ETH-MECHS workshop resulted in a many new ideas for deploying hybrid simulation.

The objectives of the workshop were to establish a vision for future research and to identify best practices for the field of HS. The workshop was organized as a series of presentations mixed with discussions about the scientific challenges and opportunities that will motivate transformative advances in this versatile class of methods. Attendees learned about the basics as well as leading-edge developments of the method, thus building capacity at more laboratories around the world. Another significant goal was to bring together a diverse group of international researchers to spark new collaborative opportunities.

For details about the workshop, including presentations by MECHS PI Shirley Dyke and other NHERI researchers on the cutting edge of hybrid simulation, visit the Joint ETH-MECHS workshop website:

Why hybrid simulation?

Our increasingly interconnected communities rely on resilient strategies to maintain steady operation. However, resilient infrastructure requires that we strive to obtain a deeper understanding of the salient behaviors and uncertainties present when structures are exposed to hazardous loading conditions.

The growing prevalence of virtual testing as a replacement for physical experimentation also drives the need for mathematical models of such systems. When structural systems are too large of complex to test in the laboratory, the cyber-physical testing method known as hybrid simulation (HS), aka dynamic virtualization, provides an important tool for their examination. HS has great potential to increase our expectations regarding standard engineering practices, but engineers and researchers should be able to run HS without needing the advanced skills of developers.

Furthermore, synergetic efforts are needed to develop a new generation of HS platforms with which multi-hazard scenarios can be investigated as we aim to provide rigorous solutions to future infrastructure challenges.

The Research Coordination Network in Hybrid Simulation for Multi-hazard Engineering is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (#1661621).

NHERI researcher Amal Elawady from Florida International University delivering one of the MECHS plenary talks on new RTHS testing directions in wind engineering.


MECHS has recently updated its research agenda. Download it here.