Protecting Critical Infrastructure

June 28th, 2012 by

Researchers from a US National Lab are helping the nation prepare for severe weather and figure out the best ways to lessen the havoc hurricanes and other disasters leave on power grids, bridges, roads, and everything else in their path. The researchers are developing ways to assess the resiliency of the nation’s infrastructure and provide the knowledge officials need to create more resilient systems. Efforts to analyze natural disasters and other threats grew out of the lab’s strengths in systems engineering and complex systems analysis. Some of the work is done through the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), a Department of Homeland Security program. NISAC models and analyzes critical infrastructure, including how interdependent and vulnerable systems may be and the consequences of having them disrupted. One component of the research is to take a mathematically rigorous approach to objective assessments. They have developed high-fidelity computer models of individual infrastructure elements as well as generic network models and dynamic simulations. Researchers do a risk analysis and quantify uncertainties. They look at interdependencies among systems and supply chains, the resilience of various systems, how infrastructure systems fail, cascading effects and how results might differ if a series of disasters hits instead of just one. NISAC has developed expertise in analyzing subjects and developing models that cover everything from national transportation to interdependent supply chains.

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