Monthly Archives: April 2017

Public Webinar Announcement: Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning

Public Webinar Announcement — Community Resilience: Modeling, Field Studies and Implementation

Learn more about NIST-funded Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning and how the Center is developing a computational environment to help define the attributes that make communities resilient.

WEBINAR: Thursday, April 27, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (CDT)  

The webinar is open to anyone immediately followed by a Q&A “chat” period.

A Resilient Community is one that is prepared for and can adapt to changing conditions and can withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions to its physical and social infrastructure.  Modeling community resilience comprehensively requires a concerted effort by experts in engineering social sciences and information sciences to explain how physical, economic and social infrastructure systems within a real community interact and affect recover efforts.

Join this information WEBINAR to learn more about the Center’s recent activities.

A Center overview will be followed by a session on the Center’s recent Special Issue of Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure, which features six papers on the virtual community Centerville.  The modeling and analysis theory behind each paper will be explained followed by a demonstration of IN-CORE, the Interdependent Connected Modeling Environment for Community Resilience.  Presentations on the first validation study, the Joplin Hindcast, and the Center’s First Field Study, the 2016 Lumberton floods in NC will also be a highlight of the Webinar.

No registration is required this time, just click, watch, and chat.

Both Dr. Nicholson and Dr. Wang will be giving presentations during the webinar.

Flier for distribution: Webinar Flier 27-April-2017

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Position in Community Resilience

Prof. Charles Nicholson is currently accepting applications for a postdoctoral research fellow position in Community Resilience within the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Oklahoma.

The primary area of research is with respect to the following broad objective:

Enhance community resilience to natural and man-made disasters through modeling, optimization, and risk-informed decision making with respect to vital, large-scale, interdependent civil infrastructure and socio-economic systems.

Researchers with backgrounds and interests in one or more the following areas are encouraged to apply:

  • Optimization: network flow optimization, multi-objective optimization, stochastic optimization; stochastic programming
  • Data science and analytics: including machine learning for predictive and classification modeling as well as unsupervised and semi-supervised learning
  • Decision modeling for community and regional resilience planning

The postdoctoral research fellow will embark on an exciting and innovative research program within a well-established and active multidisciplinary research group with collaboration opportunities across the United States.  In this role, you will also supervise one or more PhD students.  Experience with tools such as Python or R is highly preferred.  Familiarity with Civil Infrastructure systems and/or economic modeling is a plus.  The position will be supported by funded research projects with multi-year durations.

Interested applicants please send a one-page statement of research interests and CV to cnicholson @ OU (dot) edu.

Total Chaos: Soccer, ISE, and Old People


Total Chaos

In Fall 2017  I decided that it was time to start working on my bucket-list, item #117: play an actual game of soccer.   There are other items on my bucket-list too, but I figured I better try this one soon since I am not getting any younger.  This is the impetus for my new team: Total Chaos.

I’ve coached soccer for 3 years (my daughter’s team) for Norman Youth Soccer Association (NYSA) . When I started then, I had very little understanding of the game.  I knew that most of the players were not supposed to use their hands, but any rules other than that were  a bit vague…

Anyway, I’ve wanted to play soccer for years, but starting out as a complete newbie with such a demanding and skilled sport like futbol over the age 40, well, it was somewhat of daunting thing to do.  The options were: (1)  try to join an existing team and then ultimately disappoint all of the other players with my complete lack of skill or… (2) start my own team from scratch with the understanding that (a) everyone is welcome — even newbies and old people — and  (b) we will not likely win.  That is, set expectations low: so low in fact that no one has a right to be disappointed with any outcome!   I opted for the latter.  NYSA has an adult league, and thus I started recruiting for my new team…

To make a long story short, the response to my invitation “do you want to play soccer in a league even if we have no chance of winning any games?” — was a resounding yes.  Soccer mom’s and dad’s, friends, OU faculty, and both grad and undergrad students in ISE for some reason found the idea appealing.  My wife, who like me, has never played the sport in her life even joined up.  Thankfully, not everyone that answered the call was a complete newbie, because several of us needed teachers!

The student becomes the teacher…

In this case, literally “the students become the teachers” — Jack, Austin, Leslie, and Brad are all undergrads who took my ISE 4113 course in Fall 2017 and now they had their work cut out for them trying to teach me what to do on the field. Joining them we also have Darin, Nicole, Andrew, and Yasser — all PhD or MS students in either ISE or DSA.

Now, while our defense is not this bad:

without Jack Appleyard leading the defense, it could be much worse (I’m on defense you see — which does not give Jack much to work with!) so he is almost a one man team in the backfield — saving our collective butts more than once keeping it from being the total chaos it would’ve been otherwise!

Brad “the slide tackle ninja” Osborn, Austin Shaw, “the king of awesome”, and Leslie “the beast” Barnes head-up the midfield and offense and simply rock the pitch…

Darin Chambers — who happens to also be a political candidate running for State Representative District 46 — is a fellow soccer dad and great teammate and leader.  Yasser, a PhD student in ISE has both published research with me and taught me how to defend and pass.  Nicole and Andrew, both new to the game, are simply fearless.  Pravin, who is going up for tenure at OU the same time as me, has stepped up to help play keeper after our first keeper was injured.  Finally, Everton, Omar, Nery, Marco, Justin, Alicia, and Greg — are all new friends.

In summary — we have a great team: a great mix of ages, genders, languages, skills, and backgrounds.  Thanks for helping me mark off an item on my bucket-list I’ve dreamed to do for years.    The team pic below is missing a few players, so I’ll update it later, but here we are: Total Chaos.

Finally, despite my hand-balls and/or fouls in the box and/or missed passes and/or bad throw-ins (sorry about all that…) — so far we’ve played two games and won both.

Total Chaos team picture

Left to Right — Back: Everton, Omar, Marco, Justin, Jack, Brad, Austin, Pravin, Greg, Charles, Andrew, Nicole; Front: Yasser, Alicia, Zorelly


Two new resilience publications 2017!

Two new resilience publications!

Well, here at the Analytics Lab @ OU  2017 started off nicely with two new articles published in the area of community resilience. We are also very excited about finally being able to share the virtual community we created named “Centerville” as a part of the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning — the special issue on Centerville is finally published in Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure.  Please check out the post on Centerville!

The first of these resilience publications is entitled Resilience-based post-disaster recovery strategies for road-bridge networks which appears in Structure and Infrastructure Structure and Infrastructure EngineeringEngineering, an international journal which aims to present research and developments on the most advanced technologies for analyzing, predicting and optimizing infrastructure performance.

This paper by Weili Zhang, Naiyu Wang, and myself presents a novel resilience-based framework to optimise the scheduling of the post-disaster recovery actions for road-bridge transportation networks.  This work was supported, in part, by the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) [Federal Award No. 70NANB15H044].

The methodology systematically incorporates network topology, redundancy, traffic flow, damage level and available resources into the stochastic processes of network post-hazard recovery strategy optimisation. Two metrics are proposed for measuring rapidity and efficiency of the network recovery: total recovery time (TRT) and the skew of the recovery trajectory (SRT).  The SRT is a novel metric designed to capture the characteristics of the recovery trajectory which relate to the efficiency of the restoration strategies.  This is depicted in the figure below.

resilience publication

Depiction of new skew metric for network recovery

Based on this two-dimensional metric, a restoration scheduling method is proposed for optimal post-disaster recovery planning for bridge-road transportation networks. To illustrate the proposed methodology, a genetic algorithm is used to solve the restoration schedule optimisation problem for a hypothetical bridge network with 30 nodes and 37 bridges subjected to a scenario seismic event. A sensitivity study using this network illustrates the impact of the resourcefulness of a community and its time-dependent commitment of resources on the network recovery time and trajectory.

  • Zhang, W., N. Wang, C. Nicholson. 2017. Resilience-based post-disaster recovery strategies for road-bridge networks.  Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, Accepted.  LINK

The next of the resilience publications, is a paper appearing in Reliability Engineering & System Safety entitled A multi-criteria decision analysis approach for importance ranking of network components.  This a joint effort between Yasser Almoghathawi, Kash Barker, Claudio Rocco.Reliability Engineering and System Safety

Reliability Engineering and System Safety is an international journal devoted to the development and application of methods for the enhancement of the safety and reliability of complex technological systems. The journal normally publishes only articles that involve the analysis of substantive problems related to the reliability of complex systems or present techniques and/or theoretical results that have a discernable relationship to the solution of such problems. An important aim is to achieve a balance between academic material and practical applications.

In the study, we propose a new approach to identify the most important network components based on multiple importance measures using a multi criteria decision making method, namely the technique for order performance by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS), able to take into account the preferences of decision-makers. We consider multiple edge-specific flow-based importance measures provided as the multiple criteria of a network where the alternatives are the edges.

resilience publication in RESS

Component Importance Measures may rank elements within a newtwork differently. TOPSIS provides one approach to considered such cases.

Accordingly, TOPSIS is used to rank the edges of the network based on their importance considering multiple different importance measures. The proposed approach is illustrated through different networks with different densities along with the effects of weights.

  • Almoghathawi, Y., K. Barker, C.M. Rocco, and C. Nicholson. 2017. A multi-criteria decision analysis approach for importance ranking of network components. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 158: 142-151 LINK [bibTex]