NSF Award # CMMI-1541136

Population-Infrastructure Nexus

A Heterogeneous Flow-Based Approach for Responding to Disruptions in Interdependent Infrastructure Systems: An NSF-Funded Project ($500,000)

Team members: Xiaopeng Li, Guangqing Chi, and Mengqi Hu

Continents being analyzed
Long-term, active projects

Reducing the instability and vulnerability of our nation's critical and complex population-infrastructure system is essential for a more efficient, resilient, and vital society.

Recent catastrophic events, such as the Northeast Blackout of 2003 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, shut down or interrupted essential and interdependent components of our national infrastructure, such as electric networks, fuel supplies, and transportation systems. This vulnerability is exacerbated by changing population dynamics. Those dynamics impose serious challenges to the capacity of the individual components of our infrastructure system to efficiently respond to both moderate disturbances and extreme events.

The ultimate goal of this Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRISP) collaborative research project is to increase the resilience of the interdependent population-infrastructure system during disturbances of various magnitudes (including operational uncertainties and disastrous disruptions).

This research benefits infrastructure system planning and operations by developing "smart communities/cities" where multiple stakeholders can work together to promote mutual interests. This research also develops innovative educational and training modules to give future generations and practitioners a vision of efficient, resilient and socially vital built environments and the means to approach it. Overall, the outcome of this interdisciplinary research benefits society through energy savings and economic enhancement bybetter infrastructure design and communication systems.

The purpose of this interdisciplinary research is to develop a distributed heterogeneous flow-based modeling framework to quantify the critical and complex interdependence of multiple infrastructure systems and population groups.

The framework also assists in analyzing short-term mobility behaviors and long-term social and demographic evolution of the critical connection between population and infrastructure. These objectives are achieved by:

1) quantifying the interactions of different demographic groups with multiple infrastructures,

2) characterizing infrastructure facilities in several interconnected yet diverse systems,

3) modeling and optimizing the interdependent population-infrastructure system in a self-organized distributed system in which various infrastructure and population agents communicate on a cyber-platform, and

4) analyzing the important theoretical properties of this integrated model (e.g., system equilibrium and stability).

This research makes three key intellectual contributions.

First, a distributed heterogeneous flow-based network method defines the dynamics and equilibria of several interdependent infrastructure systems.

Second, the infrastructure model in a nexus with population characteristics allows examination of the two-way interactions between heterogeneous infrastructure facilities and different population groups.

Third, this model is integrated with a distributed cyber-communication platform based on self-organized "swarm intelligence" to create a realistic system in which multiple parties behave autonomously by communicating their respective available information.