Computational and empirical modeling of lifeline systems interdependence propagation

Funding: National Science Foundation
Students: Isaac Hernandez-Fajardo

Issac's research work focuses on Probabilistic Fragility Assessment (PFA) of interdependent Spatially Distributed Lifelines (SDL). This topic offers three principal challenges that are under investigation. First, the deterministic performance of spatially distributed lifelines can hardly be stated in the form of explicit functions of the performance of its components. The complexity associated to lifeline systems response to external perturbation usually demands careful study and ingenious techniques from a range of fields including Applied Mathematics, Operations Research, Physics, and Engineering. Second, the functionality of SDLs depends on the operation of other complex SLDs. Water systems, Power grids, Gas networks, etc, depend on each other at a variable certain degree. The characterization of these dependencies and their influence on individual systemic fragility adds another complexity layer to the PFA challenge. Finally, society's pressure on high quality service delivery from SDLs requires their operators to constantly improve and enhance the size and complexity of their systems. This sustained growth introduces concerns of deterioration, retrofitting, and increased exposure that require modeling tools yet to be developed.