Assessing the Value of Information for Site-Response Analyses

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Seismic hazard assessments are key to the safe design of buildings and critical infrastructure such as power plants. Outcomes from these assessments inform design parameters to ensure infrastructure resilience to earthquakes, and, as such, the safety of the local population.

In seismic hazard assessments the importance of knowing different input parameters accurately depends on their weights within the hazard model, which comprises of seismic-source, ground-motion and site-response components. Many aspects of the assessment require inputs based on knowledge and data from experts. When it comes to decisions about data collection, facility owners and seismic hazard analysts need to estimate the possible added value brought by the data along with the budget and time available for its collection. In other words, they need to answer the question “Is it worth paying to obtain this information?”

Assessing the value of information (VoI) before data collection should lead to optimising the time and money that one is willing to invest. VoI is computed as the difference between the prior and posterior outcomes. In this study, we propose a method that combines available data and expert elicitation to facilitate the decision-making process within seismic hazard assessment, specifically within the site-response component. The approach combines Bayesian networks and influence diagrams to translate the causal-relationships between the input parameters in site-response analysis (e.g. shear-wave velocities) and Bayesian inference to update the model when new evidence is considered. Here, we assess VoI for a specific hypothetical site. Consideration of the VoI should enable a prioritisation of which information to collect first and to estimate the potential benefits of collecting one type of data over another. As such, the outcomes from this study helps seismic hazard assessment teams to determine “Which data gives us more bang for our buck?”
Period21 Sept 2021
Event title37th General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission
Event typeConference
LocationCorfu, GreeceShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational