Thursday, March 5, 2015

OU CoE Faculty Members Are Key Participants in Recently Announced $20M NIST Community Resilience Center of Excellence

Naiyu Wang
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology announced February 19 that it has awarded a $20M cooperative agreement extending over five years to Colorado State University to establish the Community Resilience Center of Excellence. The centers’ multi-disciplinary team includes experts from 10 universities in the fields of engineering, economics and social sciences and data and computing.  Co-directed by Professors John W. van de Lindt and Bruce
Ellingwood in CSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the team includes OU
College of Engineering faculty members Asst. Professor Naiyu Wang and Assoc. Professor Amy Cerato of CEES and Asst. Professor Charles Nicholson of Industrial and Systems Engineering.  All will play key roles in the centers’ research program.

Amy Cerato
The new center will collaborate closely with NIST to achieve its long-term goal of developing science-based tools and guidelines that individual communities can use to assess their resilience.  This includes evaluating the effectiveness of alternative measures intended to improve performance, minimize post-disaster disruption and recovery time and target public and private investments in resilience enhancement.   The centerpiece of the centers’ effort will be NIST-CORE—the NIST-Community Resilience Modeling Environment.   NIST-CORE will provide the measurement technology for developing resilience metrics and decision tools to enhance the resilience of the built environment.  In addition to physics-based models of civil infrastructure systems, it will integrate models of social and economic systems that are vital to the functionality and recovery of communities such as health care delivery, education, social services, financial institutions and others and allow the synergies between essential systems to be examined rationally and quantitatively.  Built on an open-source platform, NIST-CORE, with its associated software, databases and transparent user-interfaces, will incorporate a risk-based approach to decision-making that will enable quantitative comparisons of different resilience strategies. As NIST-CORE is developed, its performance will be tested against data gathered from past disasters.  Ultimately, NIST-CORE will be able to learn from one analysis to the next; a capability that does not exist in any other risk or disaster resilience model in the world. 

Wang will be responsible for research tasks related to:

·         developing resilience metrics for buildings
·         inventorying buildings and highway systems
·         examining the impact of climate change on natural hazard modeling
·         analyzing uncertainties in the underlying risk-informed decision framework
·       optimizing investments for risk mitigation and community recovery for building inventories and transportation infrastructure networks.

Nicholson will conduct research tasks related to:

·         stochastic network analysis
·         modeling interdependencies between infrastructure systems
·         developing novel and efficient meta-heuristic optimization algorithms that support the decision framework by permitting efficient and intelligent searches for solutions in complex decision spaces that involve hundreds or thousands of decision variables.

Cerato will focus on:

·         geo-system integrity of transportation and utility systems
·         research related to underground pipeline behavior, foundation modeling and foundation system fragility analysis.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the University of Oklahoma to play a central role in addressing a problem of national significance,” said Wang.   “My colleagues and I are very excited about the prospects of collaborating with leading researchers in many disciplines nationwide to advance the state-of-the-art in community resilience assessment.”