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TEDxStanford: High-purpose computing for natural disaster reduction

Geophysicist Jenny Suckale shows us how the behavior of a melting glacier in the Antarctic doesn’t act like a melting ice cube, and why that matters. By understanding on the miniscule level how natural systems work, Suckale’s models can simulate and help us predict the most extreme and massive forms of natural disasters.


Jenny Suckale is an assistant professor of geophysics in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and an affiliated faculty member at the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering and the Woods Institute for the Environment. The motivation behind Suckale’s research is to create knowledge that reduces the risks associated with natural disasters like volcanic eruptions, induced earthquakes, tsunamis and ice-sheet collapse. She develops original computational methods for simulating the multiphase nonlinearities that underly abrupt change in many Earth systems. Prior to joining graduate school at MIT and the Harvard Kennedy School, Suckale worked as a scientific consultant for different international organizations aiming to reduce the impact of natural and environmental disasters in vulnerable communities.

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