Project

Integrated Complex Systems Modeling

Copyright

CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

 ESA - Sentinel 2

One of the six research methods used by the Space Enabled research group is creating models of complex systems by drawing on techniques from systems engineering, social science, and earth science. The environment, human vulnerability and societal impact, human decision-making, and technology design are four domains with complex interactions that can be simulated in computer models. Environmental models use physics-based simulations to estimate the behavior of natural features in the atmosphere, water, or vegetation. Human vulnerability and societal impact models estimate how people are impacted by environmental hazards, such as hurricanes, or ecosystems services, such as the benefits of forests, using physics-based simulations or economic regressions. Human decision-making models, which can be decentralized agent-based  or centralized decision-logic, simulate the actions taken by humans in response to environmental features. The technology design model allows humans to explore options for technical systems (such as earth observation satellites) to improve awareness of the state of the environment.

While significant… View full description

One of the six research methods used by the Space Enabled research group is creating models of complex systems by drawing on techniques from systems engineering, social science, and earth science. The environment, human vulnerability and societal impact, human decision-making, and technology design are four domains with complex interactions that can be simulated in computer models. Environmental models use physics-based simulations to estimate the behavior of natural features in the atmosphere, water, or vegetation. Human vulnerability and societal impact models estimate how people are impacted by environmental hazards, such as hurricanes, or ecosystems services, such as the benefits of forests, using physics-based simulations or economic regressions. Human decision-making models, which can be decentralized agent-based  or centralized decision-logic, simulate the actions taken by humans in response to environmental features. The technology design model allows humans to explore options for technical systems (such as earth observation satellites) to improve awareness of the state of the environment.

While significant benefit has come from addressing each domain individually in existing models, and yet more from considering certain groupings (such as the economic valuations that combine both decision-making and societal impact), capturing all four together in an integrated software model can enable us to overcome important challenges that lie at the intersections of these domains.

Work is underway to make such integrated models a reality. We are developing applications aimed at facilitating the targeted harvesting of water hyacinth in southern Benin and at assisting the city of Rio de Janeiro with the conservation of their mangrove forests (see the images below). Once complete, these models will accomplish the dual objectives of improving remote observation-informed decision-making and to enable the exploration of remote observation system options, including specifying the architecture of a custom satellite.

The Space Enabled research group aims to develop an open-source standard for software model interfaces and begin to build an open-source library of new and existing computational models for use in a variety of applications. Hopefully this library will be used to facilitate the use of remote sensing data, craft policy here on Earth, and design new remote sensing platforms. As we progress and work towards version 1.0, we hope others will join us in this endeavor.

Research Topics
#social science #engineering