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Starting in 2007, Caltech has been part of a multi-institutional collaboration of scientists and engineers to create a US-based earthquake early warning (EEW) system. Working with USGS Pasadena, UC Berkeley, ETH and USC/SCEC , the effort includes the development and implementation of the demonstration system for California deployed in 2012, called ShakeAlert® (Böse et al., 2012). ShakeAlert® makes use of the existing infrastructure of the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN, Caltech/UC Berkeley/USGS), including real-time waveform data streams from over 400 broadband and strong-motion stations throughout California.

Initially, the project was funded through the US Geological Survey (USGS), which also has the formal responsibility of earthquake alerting in the US. In early 2012, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation began awarding funding for EEW research and development for the west coast of the US. Caltech, UC Berkeley, University of Washington, and USGS are using these funds to accelerate EEW research and to improve the ShakeAlert® system. In particular, the Moore funding has enabled the research and development of new algorithms for creating more accurate warnings for finite-source large (M>7) earthquakes as well as working with early-adopters of ShakeAlert®, and development of probability based smart engineering applications.

In 2016, the USGS began operating a prototype ShakeAlert® system in California, allowing partnering test users to start taking limited actions in response to alerts. Caltech maintains a role in the prototype system, monitoring performance, continuing development and working on the testing and certification procedures required for a fully functional public alerting system. Scientists also continue to research novel methods and data streams, with the aim of increasing the speed, reliability and accuracy of EEW.