Upcoming CEE Graduate Student Seminar – April 18th, 2-3pm

Seminar Info: “Infrastructure System-of-Systems: An Interdisciplinary Paradigm for Sustainable and Resilient Civil Systems”

Who: Professor Ali Mostafavi, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University

When: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Where: Wilcox 264

Summary: In this talk, the significance and elements of a system-of-systems research paradigm is explained. Then, this approach is applied in a resilience assessment of infrastructure systems under climate change impacts study.

Resilience and sustainability of civil infrastructure systems is one of the grand challenges facing engineers and decision makers in the 21st century. The complexity of this challenge is due to the existence of multiple, heterogeneous, distributed, and interdependent systems composed of actors and physical components embedded in networks at multiple levels. To unlock the full potential of a sustainable and resilient infrastructure development, holistic paradigms need to be created to facilitate an integrated assessment of extant complex adaptive behaviors, decision-making processes, and dynamic interdependencies. To this end, recent studies have proposed the use of a system-of-systems paradigm for integrated modeling and holistic analysis in civil and project systems.

In this talk, the significance and elements of a system-of-systems research paradigm will be explained. Then, the use of the system-of-systems approach will be described in a study of resilience assessment of infrastructure systems under climate change impacts.

The first component of this study examines the long-term resilience and adaptation of water supply infrastructure to saltwater intrusion caused by sea-level rise. Through the use of a system-of-systems framework, various attributes, processes, and interactions related to physical infrastructure and actor’s decision making were abstracted and used in the creation of a computational simulation model. Then, the computational model was used to simulate various scenarios composed of sea level rise and adaptation approaches. Through an exploratory analysis approach, a simulated scenario

landscape was used to identify robust adaptation pathways that lead to a greater system resilience under future uncertain sea-level rise.

The second component of the study investigates the role of demand management in enhancing the resilience of water supply systems. In particular, the adoption of water conservation technologies was investigated.

To this end, an Agent-Based Model (ABM) was created based on the theoretical underpinnings of innovation diffusion theory. The ABM captures various demographic, economic, and social attributes affecting the households’ adoption of water conservation technologies. The ABM was then used in assessing the impacts of water price structures, rebate policies, and social network structures on water conservation technology adoption and future water demand scenarios.

These studies illustrate the important role of the system-of-systems research paradigm in integrating interdisciplinary elements at the intersection of civil infrastructure, hazard, decision, computer, and social sciences in addressing resilience, urban sustainability, and climate change adaptation challenges.


About the speaker: Ali Mostafavi joined the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering after having been an assistant professor at the Florida International University (FIU) College of Engineering and Computing. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at Purdue University in August 2013. He also holds a Master of Science in Industrial Administration (One-year accelerated MBA) degree from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. Ali Mostafavi supervises the Infrastructure System-of-Systems (I-SoS) Research Group. His research focuses on a system-of-systems paradigm that bridges the boundaries between complex systems science, network theory, and civil infrastructure systems to address sustainability and resilience challenges. He has been a principal investigator (PI/Co-PI) in multiple research projects funded by different agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), Construction Industry Institute (CII), and Miami-Dade Expressway (MDX). He is also a member of the Infrastructure Resilience Division (IRD) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Power, Utility, and Infrastructure Committee of CII.

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