The next big effort in AI: keeping L.A.’s water flowing post-earthquake

September 2019

Experts at the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society are teaming with city officials to find technological solutions for aging, vulnerable pipelines.

Can artificial intelligence save the L.A. water supply from a big earthquake?

USC researchers have embarked on an innovative project to prove that it can. Using federal funds, experts at the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society (CAIS) are working with Los Angeles city officials to find solutions for vulnerable plumbing. The goal is to make surgical improvements to strategic pipelines to keep water flowing after shaking stops.
AI and endangered species: Bistria Dilkina

“L.A.’s water pipes are highly susceptible to earthquakes,” said Bistra Dilkina, assistant professor of computer science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and associate director of the CAIS. “The infrastructure is aging, and when the shaking starts, pipes break and damage propagates throughout the system. It’s a problem we’re trying to solve.”

The project is part of a larger national research effort using AI for societal good involving scientists at USC. It is a response to recent manmade and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 and the Haiti earthquake of 2010.

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