Nagurney organizes 'Dynamics of Disasters' symposium for AAAS meeting
Anna Nagurney, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor at the Isenberg School of Management, has organized the symposium, "Dynamics of Disasters: Harnessing the Science of Networks To Save Lives," at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Feb. 17 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
The symposium will feature experts in engineering, operations research/management science, supply chains and logistics, whose skills and expertise can be applied to the suffering associated with disasters, whether natural or man-made.
The speakers will be:
David McLaughlin, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Sensing of the Atmosphere, who will be speaking on “Chasing Storms Across Disciplines.”
Laura McLay, associate professor of statistical sciences and operations research, Virginia Commonwealth University, who will speak about “The Emergency Medical and Fire Calls During Severe Weather Events.”
Panos M. Pardalos, Distinguished Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Florida, whose presentation is on “Assessing the Vulnerability of Evacuation Plans via Critical Element Detection.”
The discussants will be Jose Holguin-Veras, William H. Hart Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Isenberg School doctoral graduate Tina Wakolbinger, professor of supply chain services and networks, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria.
According to Nagurney, the number of disasters is growing as well as the number of people of affected by disasters, with accompanying societal and economic losses as vividly demonstrated by Superstorm Sandy and hurricanes Katrina and Irene. The understanding of the dynamics of natural or man-made disasters is a problem of great importance globally.
However, she added, due to the inherent nature of disasters, there are complex challenges: the critical infrastructure, including the transportation, logistical and communication systems, may have been severely negatively impacted and their functionality compromised; there is a short time window in which to respond with the critical needs products, which must be delivered in order to prevent loss of life and human suffering, and there may be great uncertainty due to the disruptions, among other complications.
Moreover, there may be different organizations competing for resources and the complex interactions may result in inadequate financing, inappropriate coordination and response, congestion, inadequate delivery of supplies, including of relief personnel and other problems, said Nagurney. “This symposium focuses on the dynamics of disasters, through the prism of mathematical modeling and the science of networks, to address such issues as prediction, communications, response and recovery, and the resiliency of evacuation networks.”
Nagurney said the symposium is intended to be accessible to a general scientific audience and will communicate the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary approach for the investigation of critical real-world phenomena.
Photos: Anna Nagurney and David McLaughlin