A four-satellite network takes advantage of forces that would hamper other spacecraft. Engineers have discovered orbits that allow satellites to harness forces that would disrupt other craft — making it possible for a four-craft constellation to monitor almost the entire globe at once.
“This research project is important for geoscientists, information technologists, and researchers in many other areas of science and engineering,” says Edward Walker, a program director in NSF’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. “The discovery has important implications for global commerce and national defense vital to our country. NSF funds high-performance computing instruments such as Blue Waters, which includes software and human experts to assist scientists in using the instrument, to enable discoveries that would not be possible otherwise.”
Now, a National Science Foundation-sponsored collaboration led by Patrick Reed, the Joseph C. Ford Professor of Engineering, has discovered the right combination of factors to make a four-satellite constellation possible, which could drive advances in telecommunication, navigation and remote sensing. And in an ingenious twist, the researchers accomplished this by making the forces that ordinarily degrade satellites instead work in their favor.
The ENRE Best Publication Awards are given annually to the best refereed journal articles in the areas of interest of ENRE, published two calendar years prior to the year in which the award is given. The objective of the award is to recognize the contributions of ENRE members to the respective research areas. Nominated publications will be judged by separate committees of three members for each area with respect to impact and originality.
Globally, our operation and planning of water resources systems must evolve to better confront the fundamental challenges posed by meeting rapidly evolving human demands and increasingly severe hydroclimatic extremes. Addressing these challenges requires an understanding of how our current institutions constrain adaptive actions and the resulting consequences of these constraints on the coupled human-natural system dynamics. Discovering strategies for better balancing multi-sectoral human demands and adapting to increasingly severe extremes requires modeling advances that permit high fidelity representations of state-action-consequence feedbacks while also accounting for the information available to the actual managers of water resources systems. Moreover, we must acknowledge that the actual state-action-consequence feedbacks are deeply uncertain given the myriad of ways that socioeconomic and climatic pressures may evolve in the future.
Through diverse interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives, the Social Policy and Public Entrepreneurship group looks for ways and strategies to ensure the continuation of social processes in the future. It studies basic resources such as water, its relation to life in the cities and its general role in sustainability. Social transformation is analyzed from four points of view: a) The theory about social changes; b) Education; c) Local-global linkage; and d) The “trans” criterion of contemporary social phenomena, especially from the trans-national perspective. Ethical issues, peace and sustainability are studied from an interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary perspective encompassing philosophy, literature, law and international relations. We also study the relationship between development and sustainability as well as cultures of peace. In economic and social aspects, we focus on: evaluation of governmental programs, elections, poverty and inequality, social responsibility and transparency, migration and remittances as well as sub-national public finance.
‘Bridging Science to Practice’ is KWR’s motto. KWR researchers work at the interface of science, business and society. Their strength lies in their translation of scientific knowledge into applicable, practical solutions for end-users in the Dutch and international water sector. They have built a solid reputation as top-level innovation accelerators and international network builders, and increasingly play a coordinating role in national and international collaborations.
The Department of Water Resources will hold a Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Summit designed to inspire water management and climate change technical communities to work together to achieve water resilience for California. Decision makers will discuss prominent future climate change uncertainties and threats and the role of those risks in ongoing and future water management activities.
The Witherspoon Lecture Award recognizes significant and innovative contributions in hydrologic sciences by a mid-career scientist, which includes the awardee’s research impact, innovative interdisciplinary work, application of research to socially important problems, and inspired and dedicated mentoring of young scientists, and acknowledges the awardee shows exceptional promise for continued leadership in hydrologic sciences, according to AGU.
The sustainability challenges of the region demand an enhancement of collaborative governance in policy-making, particularly in of large development projects. The purpose of this first meeting is to bring together top-level academics, policy makers and civil society representatives to exchange experiences on: (1) What are the major challenges the region faces in the assessment of sustainability, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change? (2) How can evidence based policy making be strengthen in the region within the context of the SDGs and Agenda 2030? and (3) Which are the most efficient mechanisms for mainstreaming leading edge approaches (such as Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty (DMDU)) into the sustainable development policy instruments?
The Environmental Fluid Dynamics Group studies flow and transport in a diverse range of environmental systems, including the atmosphere, the oceans, lakes, streams and subsurface environments (e.g. groundwater, oil) as well as the interfaces that connect these diverse systems. Our work focuses on understanding the fundamental processes in these systems in such a way as to improve our ability to work harmoniously with Nature so as to better design infrastructure to mitigate against natural disasters, better manage and remediate air and water quality across all environments, improve our ability to forecast weather in extreme environments and develop sustainable plans to deal with future conditions that will evolve under climate change.
The Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change is MIT’s response to the research, analysis and communication challenges of global environmental change. The program combines scientific research with policy analysis to provide independent, integrative assessments of the impacts of global change and how best to respond.
That’s not just because the impacts of rising temperatures — from severe storms to surging seas — are already apparent. It’s also because limiting future damage requires bold moves to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions today.
C-PREE provides a nexus for interdisciplinary research and policy analysis aimed at addressing the world’s environmental problems. C-PREE tackles key issues such as global climate change, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity, psychology of decision making, and sustainable agriculture. Its faculty consists of experts across a range of disciplines who are both leading scholars and have served as practitioners in government, NGOs, and the private sector.
A new scientific analysis of millions of possible climate futures found only a narrow window to keeping global warming to levels the international community has deemed safe. Out of 5.2 million possible climate futures, carbon emissions must reach zero by 2030 in every country in the world if we are to stay at less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) by 2100 of warming, the target set by the United Nations to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, from rising seas to deadly heat waves.
Grand Water Research Institute operates as the Israeli national institute for research in the science, technology, engineering and management of water resources. Established in 1993, the mission of the GWRI is to be a center of excellence of international caliber, the leading water research institute in Israel.
PNNL develops and applies a wide range of atmospheric, climate, human, and Earth system modeling tools to address complex questions at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Many of these tools are state-of-the-art community models that include contributions from researchers around the world. PNNL’s focus is on increasing the accuracy and utility of these models, often by leveraging our measurement capabilities to represent human and Earth systems with increasing detail, complexity, and fidelity.
The Art of Complexity: Errors, Actions, & Tradeoffs in Infrastructure Systems Design
At present, mounting concerns related to the resilience and robustness of major US infrastructure systems has motivated a transition in our national research agenda towards convergence research. In short, this transition seeks to accelerate transdisciplinary research efforts that will have direct translational value for improving our infrastructure investment and management choices. This talk reflects my recent efforts to work with several US federal agencies to help them shape their near term research investments. I highlight how historical science innovation perspectives have strongly shaped our current struggles and ambitions for better understanding the complexity of societal infrastructures. I use a selection of recent examples drawn from the confluence of emerging high performance computing capabilities, complex systems science, and artificial intelligence to illustrate how our evolving problem solving capabilities hold promise and simultaneously require caution in how they are used to shape societal choices.
Each year faculty are presented with Research Excellence Awards from Cornell Engineering. The annual awards recognize the importance of leadership in innovative research.
When Hurricane Harvey’s record-busting rains drenched Texas in August 2017, they triggered a cascade of chaos. Widespread flooding turned roads into rivers, impeding evacuations and access to emergency services. Stormwater swept up pathogens from wastewater treatment plants and toxins from Superfund sites, posing health threats. Phone and internet services failed in some areas, and 300,000 people in Texas lost power. Harvey also temporarily shut down a quarter of U.S. oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, raising gas prices.
To show the Cambodian government better options, Wild and Reed created a modeling platform that helped the team discover an alternative dam design, called the Sambor Ecological Alternative, with design and operational features that would improve sediment and fish passage while maintaining significant hydropower production. Collaborating with a broader interdisciplinary team that included fish biologists, a dam engineer, a geomorphologist, a geographer, a lawyer and an economist, the team explored alternative siting, design and operation choices, and the specific tradeoffs in balancing energy and ecological objectives that would result.
Effective November – Reed Awarded the Joseph C. Ford Endowed Chair
Joseph C. Ford was a graduate of the Sibley School of Mechanical Engineering at Cornell in the class of 1911. He was a manufacturing executive and a director of Wisconsin Telephone, the First National Bank of Madison and Ray-O-Vac Co. In addition, he was founder and chair of the Madison Community Trust Fund and founder and president of the Celon Co. The Joseph C. Ford Professorship in Mechanical Engineering was established in 1958 through a bequest in the will of his wife, Vera Veerhusen Ford, for the purpose of providing a distinguished professorship in mechanical engineering and in such specialized fields in the College of Engineering as the university may determine. Because of the growth of the endowment, the board of trustees voted in 1980 to authorize the appointment of two or more concurrent holders of the Joseph C. Ford Professorships.
The goal of Earth and Environmental System Modeling (EESM) is to simulate and understand DOE-relevant predictability of the Earth system, by describing processes and process interactions over multiple time and space scales. EESM investments focus on model development, model analysis, and understanding the role of multi-sector interactions with the physical-human system. The vision for EESM is to provide DOE with the best possible information about the evolving Earth system, so that, e.g., energy assets and infrastructures remain robust throughout their lifetimes.
This work is focusing on the role of more- and better-informed decisions as well as coordination mechanism design, including financial risk hedging tools, to improve existing water management practices. In the Northern Italy lake district, extensive model-based analyses show that a soft-path approach can substantially mitigate the impact of changing climate, and help contrasting increasingly frequent and impacting droughts with little financial investment but a substantial shift in the existing water governance.
Food, Energy and Water are basic for human welfare and prosperity. A recognized grand challenge is meeting these societal needs in an environmentally sustainable way despite changes in population, climate and land use. Recent funding initiatives recognize that food, energy, and water form a coupled system requiring integrated multidisciplinary approaches. As water provides the connections among intertwined food, energy and environmental systems, Hydrologic Science can play a major role in addressing these grand challenges. The 2018 Biennial features keynote lectures and sessions that highlight ongoing research in hydrologic science and provide perspectives on future challenges.
The research areas in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are Geo-informatics, Traffic Engineering, Structure and Construction Management, City Planning and Design, Hydraulic Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, and Environmental Engineering. Currently, our society confronts various difficult issues on energy saving infrastructure, environment deterioration, global climate change, ever increasing traffic congestion, and rapid change to aged society. The CEE in SNU has recently established our new proactive vision to accommodate the national and social demand to resolve and relieve these issues, and to establish human and environment oriented infrastructures in the future.
The KSCC had a special program related to Climate Change Adaptation in Water Resources and sponsored by Seoul National University. The special program consisted of three dedicated sessions: (1) Robust & Adaptive Decision Making Under Climate Change, (2) Sharing of Climate Change Adaptation Experiences, and (3) Uncertainty in Climate Change Assessment.
Government-commissioned report says proposed site at Sambor reach is the ‘worst possible place’ for hydropower due to impact on wildlife. The report, which was commissioned by the government in Phnom Penh, has been kept secret since it was submitted last year, prompting concerns that ministers are inclined to push ahead regardless of the dire impact it predicts on river dolphins and one of the world’s largest migrations of freshwater fish. The proposed hydropower plant would require an 18km-wide barrier across the river at Sambor, Kratie province. This quiet rural district is best known as a place for watching Irrawaddy dolphins, whose critically low numbers have just shown their first increase in 20 years.
Recently Lamontagne et al.1 demonsUse my Cornell NetID trated the application of scenario discovery6 to one of the integrated assessment models (IAMs) used to generate a SSP. This exploratory modelling approach combines factorial design and cluster analysis. First, the analyst varies the input assumptions of a model systematically to run it as many times as needed to generate a comprehensive database of model realizations. The database is then examined according to criteria of interest. In the case of Lamontagne et al., the criteria are radiative forcing and average global policy cost over the period 2020–2095. This makes it possible to isolate all model realizations with high forcing and high cost.
Juilanne Quinn ’17, a postdoctoral associate in the Reed group, has been named the first place recipient of the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) 2018 Ph.D. Dissertation Award in the category of Natural Science and Engineering. Each year, UCOWR recognizes two outstanding Ph.D. dissertations on water issues, one in Water Policy and SocioEconomics, and the other in Natural Science and Engineering.
Students and research faculty at Arizona State University’s School of Computing is Part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, one of six schools in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, are exploring a wide range of cybersecurity issues, including social media analysis, data security on the web and mobile devices, data forensics and the use of blockchain technology — the technology that underlies digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Dash.
March 19 – Reed Invited as a Speaker in the Atkinson Center for Sustainability’s Climate Change Seminar Series: “Do We Fully Understand the Challenges and Implications of Climate Change Scenarios?” (online video available)
This university-wide seminar provides important views on the critical issue of climate change, drawing from many perspectives and disciplines. Experts from both Cornell University and other universities will present an overview of the science of climate change and climate change models, the implications for agriculture, ecosystems, and food systems, and provide important economic, ethical, and policy insights on the issue. The seminar is being organized and sponsored by the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.
Water resources systems are complex entities to manage, as they involve multiple and often conflicting objectives interacting under uncertainty from both natural and human sources. When formulated as optimization problems, water resources models are often limited by simplistic representation of objectives and uncertainty. This summer school comprises six short-courses which cover many aspects of decision making in water resources systems under uncertainty, with emphasis on optimization and economic tools to better represent and balance the variety of objectives (economic, social, and environmental) involved.
The WaterSYSTEMS Research Group carries out innovative research in areas such as sustainable water resources and water infrastructure design, management and operation. The group applies and develops techniques that enable improved decision-making in complex, multi-objective and uncertain environments related to natural and engineered water systems.
February 22 – Reed Invited as a Seminar Speaker for the Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management (iCAM) Centre, Fenner School of Environment and Society , Australian National University, Canberra
iCAM (the Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management Centre) is a highly interdisciplinary research group consisting of social scientists, economists, hydrologists and interdisciplinary modelers. Our stakeholders are also varied and range from business groups, farmers, government and non-governmental organizations. iCAM’s mission is to develop and integrate the knowledge required to clarify management and policy options for sustaining vital water and related resources.
The MDO group is led by Professor Tapabrata Ray and currently has eight core members. The members of this group have been working on a number of theoretical and applied areas such as decision making in presence of uncertainty, identifying solutions of interest from large trade-off sets, development of efficient algorithms for multi/many objective optimization, development of efficient constrained handling schemes, rule and policy mining, shape representation and optimization. The group has several collaborations with academics working in diverse areas of computational intelligence and engineering, within Australia and internationally.
Since multiobjective optimization has focused almost exclusively on serving a single “decision maker”, providing solutions merely as potential (not actual) alternatives, it is not presently a technology that can serve mass markets with mass solutions. A new approach is needed if we are to fulfil the demanding aims of mass-customization, product/service variation and personalization we see today in areas such as engineering, planning, operations, investment, media and Web services, and healthcare. Taking the first steps, this Dagstuhl Seminar explored an “Analytics” perspective already proven in handling large-scale pervasive data, and seek to build the scientific foundations for delivering efficient and effective (even optimal) mass-personalization.
Recent Reed Group efforts in developing exploratory modeling and scenario discovery frameworks for consequential climate futures were featured in the seminar. The Centre for Environmental Policy aims to have a global impact on energy and environmental security policy, management of environmental quality, and sustainable transitions in environmental governance, through collaborative research and engagement supporting efforts on environment, energy and health throughout the College.
Julie Quinn introduced Project Platypus and the Rhodium framework for Many-Objective Robust Decision Making. This training session provides guidance for those who wish to apply DMDU tools to the analytical problems they face. But just as importantly, the agenda also seeks to help people working with the output of DMDU tools, so that they might derive better understanding and value in applying these results.
Professor Patrick Reed of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been invited by the US National Academies to serve as an invited speaker in the session on “Smart Agriculture” at the 5th Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. The symposium will be held November 2-4 in Rabat, Morocco. In each topical area, the symposium chairs have invited two U.S. speakers and two speakers from the Middle East and North Africa region. The speakers have been selected to frame challenges and facilitate discussions. There is also a competitive application process for non-speaking attendees to be selected to participate.
Since the summer of 1995 the Energy Modeling Forum has organized a 2-week annual workshop, Climate Change Impact and Integrated Assessment (CCI/IA), that brings together climate change experts to discuss the state of the art in climate policy analysis. These annual workshops take place in Snowmass, Colorado. The Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) at Stanford University organizes these workshops for a consortium of sponsors including the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Environmental Studies of Japan, the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics, Electric Power Research Institute, and Exxon Mobil Corporation.
The WISE CDT was awarded a £5.2M award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) aimed at securing the future supply of graduates. The EPSRC funded centres bring together diverse areas of expertise to train engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today’s evolving issues and future challenges. They also provide a supportive and exciting environment for students, create new working cultures and forge lasting links with industry. Water Informatics: Science and Engineering (WISE) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) provides students with the opportunity to develop and carry out PhD-level research. A CDT has the added benefit of taught courses to give students a solid background in their chosen discipline. This CDT is a partnership between the Universities of Exeter, Bath and Bristol and Cardiff University.
This workshop included 25 invited participants from several countries around the world including Germany, the Netherlands, the US, the UK, Canada and Chile. Participants brought diverse perspectives on coupled human-natural systems from resource economics, engineering, finance, hydrology, and ecology. Key topics of focus included adaptive decision making, agricultural impacts on water resources, energy networks, and ecosystem function. The broader goal of the workshop is to develop a network of researchers capable of advancing our understanding and management of the complex co-evolutionary dynamics of coupled human and natural systems.
The half-hour PBS documentary, “Managing Risk in a Changing Climate”, takes viewers to coastal Louisiana, where threats associated with climate change leave communities like New Orleans facing tough choices under deep uncertainty. The film was produced by WPSU under the guidance and support of the Network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRiM). Featuring some of the nation’s leading climate experts and a diverse array of stakeholders from the New Orleans region, the documentary investigates how decision makers can better inform choices about managing risk from rising sea levels and storms by working with researchers and community members. The film captures the many scientific disciplines that come together to help address the economic, social, environmental, and ethical issues associated with managing risk in a changing climate.
The BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action is an NSF Science and Technology Center founded with the mission of illuminating and harnessing the power of evolution in action to advance science and technology and benefit society. Research at BEACON focuses on biological evolution, digital evolution, and evolutionary applications in engineering, uniting biologists who study natural evolutionary processes with computer scientists and engineers who are harnessing these processes to solve real-world problems.
The purpose of this meeting was to identify the “Grand Challenges” for the Department of Energy’s BER research over the next 20 years. The breakouts engaged participants in an open, thoughtful and creative discussion. Capturing the key ideas that come from the discussions in the breakout sessions will be critical to the success of the workshop in informing visions for needed research investments.
This week, a spokesman for the ministry, Victor Jona, said the memorandum had not been signed “because at least we need to see the study by NHI [Natural Heritage Institute] first…. We have to see the results first.” Mr. Jona did not say when the results would be ready.”
“A $20 million, five-year project with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) looks to create a state-of-the-art framework of computational tools that will help to assess the impacts of weather-related variability and change. This project looks to integrate multiple existing models to capture important energy-water-land interactions and feedbacks between the natural and human systems.”
“The American Astronautical Society (AAS) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) are honoring Cornell Professor Patrick Reed and his collaborators Lake Singh, Marc DiPrinzio, and Will Whittecar from The Aerospace Corporation for submitting the best paper to the 26th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting. Each year the Space Flight Mechanics Committee recognizes a single paper as the top technical contribution presented at the AAS/AIAA joint international event.”
“The session explored the critical question: “Do we understand how alternative strategies for operating complex infrastructure systems influences their initial designs as well as their long term evolution?”. Understanding the interplay between short-term adaptive operations and their influence on long-term planning is particularly relevant for irreversible decisions for long-lived infrastructures that present complex ecological impacts, and must reliably meet multi-sectoral demands (e.g., reservoirs, energy production/transmission, transportation networks, etc.). This session will draw on a suite of multi-sector examples to clarify emerging innovations and persistent challenges related to bridging the planning and management divide.”
“Work with world-renowned faculty who are forging new ways to solve complex socio-technical problems in research areas such as the integrated modeling and simulation of the behaviors of complex natural and engineered systems, their design and the operation for resilience, robustness and scalability, the characterization of the societal and behavioral context in which we find such systems, as well as their local and global consequences. Because of the nature of systems science and engineering, the research takes on a collaborative approach with faculty from many different disciplines both in traditional engineering areas as well as those outside of engineering such as health care, food systems, environmental studies, architecture and regional planning, and many others.”
“The annual symposium dedicated to Search Based Software Engineering (SBSE), in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, studies the application of meta-heuristic optimization techniques to various software engineering problems, ranging from requirements engineering to software testing and maintenance. The symposium builds on the flourishing interest in SBSE and provides a welcoming forum for discussion and dissemination that will strengthen the rapidly-growing international SBSE community. SSBSE 2016 will be collocated with 32nd IEEE Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution”
“The interdependence of water availability, agricultural production, and electric power generation is well established, yet significant challenges remain for understanding how decisions or resource disruptions in any one of these sectors impact the system as a whole. Nowhere is this challenge more pressing than California, which, despite chronic water scarcity, continues to lead the nation in agricultural production by a factor of two. In California, nonstationary climate is expected to increase the frequency and severity of drought, with highly uncertain impacts on the availability of surface water. The subsequent effects on statewide electricity generation and agriculture in California’s Central Valley will be closely linked. “
“This Symposium and Summer School aims at exploring the perspective of urban water demand management for the next years. Several topics are going to be addressed, with a particular attention on modelling and understanding the behaviour of water consumers, the drivers of such behaviour, the role of social norms, economic leverages and water demand management strategies to promote behavioural change, and the role of Information and Communication Technologies to support the design, implementation and deliver smart solutions for urban water demand management.”
“The Frontiers in Geoscience Colloquia is organized by the Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) Division of LANL. EES is the intellectual home of Earth Sciences at Los Alamos, and has over 200 staff working on a complex set of earth science problems. The goal of the Frontiers in Geoscience seminar series is to bring to Los Alamos innovative scientists conducting research in fields of study that are complementary and potentially promote collaborations.”
“Emerging water scarcity concerns in southeastern US are associated with several deeply uncertain factors, including rapid population growth, limited coordination across adjacent municipalities and the increasing risks for sustained regional droughts. Managing these uncertainties will require that water utilities identify regionally coordinated, scarcity-mitigating strategies that trigger the appropriate actions needed to avoid water shortages and financial instabilities.”
“Professor Reed is being awarded the 2016 Biennial Medal for Exceptional Research Contributions to Environmental Modeling and Software by the International Environmental Modelling & Software Society (iEMSs). As part of this award, he will also become a Fellow in the Society. Two or three medalists are selected every two years globally. Also former Reed group member Joseph Kasprzyk is receiving the 2016 Early Career Research Excellence from iEMSs. The early career research award is given to individuals judged to be making exceptional research contributions and who graduated with a PhD degree or equivalent within seven years of being nominated for the award.”
“Balancing the impacts of climate change risks for all involved may not be within the realm of economics or physics, but a novel approach may help to achieve a better compromise, according to Penn State and Cornell climate researchers. Rather than look at one aggregated number, the researchers used an integrated assessment model to look at the multidimensional trade-offs of four goals — to increase global economic growth, to achieve reliable temperature stabilization, to minimize climate damages and to minimize abatement costs.”
“Water flows in the lower Mekong River in Vietnam are so feeble that salt water from the South China Sea is pushing through the delta, up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) inland along the river’s main stem and more than 70 kilometers (43 miles) inland on tributaries. The salt, damaging to crops, is a disaster for rice farmers in the delta, which accounts for half of Vietnam’s rice production. Not only a short-term emergency, the drought is also magnifying longstanding fault lines in the six-country basin. Even before the strong El Nino of the last six months turned off the rain spigot, the water resources of the Mekong River were under immense pressure. A cascade of major dams are planned or under construction on both the river’s main stem and its tributaries. In the eyes of governments and developers, the dams are hydropower cash registers and a cure for daily blackouts. To environmental and civil society groups, however, the dams are a scourge: uprooting communities, flooding forests, threatening one of the world’s great warehouses of biodiversity, and endangering the livelihoods of tens of millions of people who catch fish for food.”
“The workshop focused on decision making problems and discussed frameworks and/or tools to help structure and solve these problems in order to enable learning across disciplines with a view to highlighting areas for future research and collaboration with external partners to address capacity gaps. The opportunity will allow an exploration of the ways in which uncertainties and complexities in evidence can be factored into decisions; particularly exploring the tools and techniques available and the contexts in which they might be applied more effectively.”
“The Oxford Water Network is the University’s response to global water challenges, building upon existing and emerging water science excellence. The network is a multi-disciplinary research community, harnessing Oxford University’s diverse strengths to address the challenge of managing water in a complex and uncertain world. Oxford’s scientists are developing a research agenda to address key challenges of water security, advancing knowledge to inform policy and planning, and developing instruments to improve practice in partnership with government, research and business communities.”
“The workshop focused on aiding the Chesapeake Bay Program in exploring what tools exist to help support high complex model-based technical and management challenges. Discussions extended across sensitivity tools, model diagnostics, basic uncertainty assessment, and frameworks for integrating uncertainty into management decisions.”
“To allow sediment through the proposed Sambor Dam in Cambodia, the Natural Heritage Institute in San Francisco advocates a bypass channel for environmental releases of water to help river ecology and the full opening of dam gates in certain seasons to flush sediment.”
“Scientists will use the federation to solve data challenges. “We plan to use Aristotle to exploit cloud-based parallelism and perform asynchronous, interactive analysis of complex environmental models that generate thousands of data files” said Patrick Reed, a Cornell University Civil and Environmental Engineering researcher who collaborates with University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Penn State engineers. “We will use Aristotle to enhance our decision management tools so that we can solve problems of increasing complexity such as helping cities to better manage their drought risks.””
“Dr. Reed advocated that as a field concerned with “deep uncertainties”, it is logically consistent to include a more direct acknowledgement that our choices for dealing with computationally demanding simulations, advanced search algorithms, and sensitivity analysis tools are themselves subject to failures that could adversely bias our understanding of how systems’ vulnerabilities change with proposed actions.”
“Dr. Reed presented results that show how sampling of deeply uncertain factors in the computational search phase of Many-Objective Robust Decision Making (MORDM) can aid in the discovery of management actions that substantially improve the robustness of individuals as well as the overall region to water scarcity. Cooperative water transfers, financial risk mitigation tools, and coordinated regional demand management provide important tools to decrease robustness conflicts between geographically clustered water utilities. The insights from this work have general merit for regions where adjacent municipalities can benefit from cooperative regional water portfolio planning.”
“Dr. Reed presented computational innovations in the Many-Objective Visual Analytics framework demonstrated on recent successful applications in urban water portfolio planning in Research Triangle in NC as well as assessing the vulnerability of our global portfolio of space-based rainfall satellite missions to infrastructure collapse.”
“Dr. Reed discussed the vulnerabilities in our global observations and information systems that are critical for managing Food-Energy-Water challenges. He recommended a shift to a more active design and evaluation of global information systems from a holistic systems perspective — jointly documenting emerging natural dynamics, their socio-economic contexts, and key scientific insights. Sustained and holistic monitoring of evolving FEW systems is fundamentally important for clarifying their risks as well as documenting the ex post validity of science informed policies aimed at improving their sustainability.”
“Dr. Reed provided a critical review of the current bottom up planning efforts undertaken by MWD and provided recommendations on future efforts. The growing recognition of challenges posed in understanding the magnitude and impact of population pressures, climate change, and water portfolio investments are shifting major utilities towards new planning frameworks that directly address deep uncertainty.”
“Loss of satellites providing rainfall data could have a negative effect on global flood management, according to new research. However, this could be mitigated by improved international co-operation and the use of more modern satellite technology, the authors say. The study examined the consequences for flood management of the loss of four of the existing 10 dedicated rainfall measuring satellites.”
“This project is a multi-institutional collaboration between Cornell University, The Aerospace Corporation, and Princeton University advancing a Petascale planning framework that is broadly applicable across space-based Earth observation systems design.”
“The World Bank through its Climate Policy team and the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) is bringing together experts to address the IEG recommendation and share practical resilient solutions for addressing the risks of long-run climate change to development. The experts will also identify major gaps and challenges for adaptation due to existing regulatory, land-use planning, financial and market incentives; and options they have devised to overcome these challenges.”
“The complexity, diversity, and volume of Earth science data have increased significantly over recent decades. Discovery, access, and interaction with big data collected from numerous sources are increasingly used to explore natural, human and social systems at unprecedented scales while providing us with tremendous opportunities to gain dynamic insight into complex phenomena through big compute (e.g. cloud and high-performance computing) approaches. Though such data have started playing important roles in many Earth science and engineering domains and promise to enable a wide range of decision-making practices with significant societal impacts, Earth data science remains to be established for advancing Earth science and engineering and education in the era of big data and compute.”
“From our crops to our commutes and our computers, how secure and sustainable is the infrastructure upon which modern human life operates? Cornell scientists and engineers will discuss what the coming years hold for bridges and highways, food systems, energy development, data and internet security, and water availability. An audience Q&A session will follow.”
“The Weston Roundtable is a weekly lecture series with leaders in sustainability science, engineering, and policy. The unique, discussion-heavy format aims to build a community around policy-relevant sustainability science and engineering topics.”
“Circling hundreds of miles above Earth, weather satellites are working round-the-clock to provide rainfall data that are key to a complex system of global flood prediction – with flooding only expected to increase as a consequence of climate change. A new Cornell study warns that the existing system of space-based rainfall observation satellites requires a serious overhaul. Particularly in many developing countries, satellite-based flood prediction has weak spots, which could lead to major flooding that catches people by surprise. What’s more, four of the 10 dedicated rainfall satellites are past their warranty, further increasing risk of disaster.”
“The Mekong River is an epicenter of energy opportunity and environmental risk. The river basin is undergoing intensive hydropower dam development to meet the energy demands of a rapidly growing population, with approximately 30 large dams already operational and at least another 100 in the works. These dams could degrade the most productive freshwater fishing region in the world, which feeds 60 million people. Working with faculty fellow Patrick Reed and the Natural Heritage Institute, Thomas Wild will develop a decision support framework to identify and evaluate alternative dam siting, design, and operating policy options that could generate substantial hydropower, while minimizing impacts on valuable ecosystems. The researchers will partner with key government ministries in Laos and Cambodia to increase the project’s impact.”
“The researchers tested the performance of their solver using different core counts from 512 to 524,288 cores (aka, benchmarking). They designed the LRGV case to be extremely difficult by only allowing 20 minutes to find the best solution possible. The goal is to go from months to minutes while producing better results with the new algorithm running on Blue Waters. This benchmarking found that the solver performs better in parallel than in serial because of its ability to learn and adapt itself—detecting when the search stagnates, for example—as it discovers problem characteristics. The scalability of algorithm increases as the amount of time to simulate the consequences of each scenarios increases. That means the Borg MOEA is prepared to solve extremely large, complex problems on future, even bigger supercomputers. “
“The objective of our proposed research is to advance portfolio-based water management in the Southeast by addressing four core knowledge gaps: (1) we must better account for how climate change and LU/LC trends in the Southeast impact regional hydrology and drought vulnerability (hydroclimate knowledge gap); (2) we need to assess and improve methods by which water managers can reconcile their multiple, and often conflicting, objectives (e.g., conservation vs. financial stability) while effectively exploiting portfolio-based management strategies composed of a broad range of supply and demand management assets (portfolio design gap); (3) we must analyze how the current fragmented approach to Southeast water supply management can be modified to create more efficient cooperative regional systems involving multiple communities (regional management gap), and; (4) we must provide a framework for adaptive management of regional systems tradeoffs as well as their vulnerabilities to assumptions about the future that are deeply uncertain (e.g., demand growth, climate change impacts) (computational synthesis gap). “
“The Current Challenges in Computing Conference brings together a selected research community’s premier leaders to contribute their thoughts in compelling conversations on current trends, and to explore the emerging advancements possible through high performance computing. Now in our fifth year, we are proud to announce our keynote and featured speakers in this year’s chosen scientific field, Decision Science.”
“During each iEMSs conference, students can participate in a competition for the best presentation. In San Diego the winners were: Jon Herman – Balancing robustneess to future uncertainty between cooperating regional water utilities; Tommaso Stella – Reimplementation and reuse of the Canegro model; and Lu Wang – Modelling of CO2 solubility in salty aqueous solutions at geological sequestration conditions.”
“The Borg MOEA is not a single algorithm; instead it represents a class of algorithms whose operators are adaptively selected based on the problem. The adaptive discovery of key operators is of particular importance for benchmarking how variation operators enhance search for complex many-objective problems.”
“On April 28 the four co-chairs of the House Science and National Labs Caucus—Reps. Randy Hultgren, Chaka Fattah, Ben Ray Luján, and Alan Nunnelee—sponsored a briefing on the value of federal investment in high-performance computing. Reed was selected with 4 other scientists to describe the breakthrough research they have been able to achieve thanks to high-performance computing systems like Blue Waters”
“Kasprzyk’s dissertation, “Many Objective Water Resources Planning and Management Given Deep Uncertainties, Population Pressures, and Environmental Change,” proved outstanding to the UCOWR Review Panel and Board of Directors. In his dissertation, Kasprzyk addressed the challenges of managing environmental systems in a manner that benefits conflicting objectives, such as cost and performance.”
“From aiding our understanding of climate change, to providing precise location and time information anywhere on the earth, satellite constellations have become a critical part of our global infrastructure. The architecting of these complex systems, whose costs can exceed billions of dollars, are traditionally accomplished through a slow evolutionary process of incremental learning and implementation. In the previous decade, decision support research at The Aerospace Corporation has led to a paradigm shift in the way we conceive, design, and architect satellite constellations serving national security, civil and commercial space programs. The framework originally developed to support the decision making associated with satellite constellations has been extended to accelerate innovation for a variety of other fields. Changing the way we think about complex design and planning decisions has been met with may challenges and successes over the years and today’s seminar is about that journey.”
“The SETAC will be expected to provide guidance on the overall vision of Blue Waters through various functions. With access to Blue Waters operation monitoring, the committee will be able to better provide guidance for delivering the best possible performance to enable achieving science and engineering teams’ objectives. They will be able to make recommendations on technical directions, strategies, and management while identifying potential challenges for petascale applications. As users themselves, the SETAC will also provide advice for solving common issues that arise from moving applications to Blue Waters and from system software at scale. Members will also be expected to offer suggestions on how to improve communications between the project and its science and engineering communities and the general public.”
“The Fall AGU meeting had more than 22,000 attendees across all areas of Earth science. Hydrology represents one of the largest of the technical communities that attend the international meeting with hundreds of speakers presenting across a large number of technical sessions. Jon Herman was selected among 14 other students honored in the hydrology area.”
“Many objective robust decision making (MORDM) combines concepts and methods from many objective evolutionary optimization and robust decision making (RDM), along with extensive use of interactive visual analytics, to facilitate the management of complex environmental systems. Many objective evolutionary search is used to generate alternatives for complex planning problems, enabling the discovery of the key tradeoffs among planning objectives. RDM then determines the robustness of planning alternatives to deeply uncertain future conditions and facilitates decision makers’ selection of promising candidate solutions. MORDM tests each solution under the ensemble of future extreme states of the world.”
“Our results provide several insights. First, market designs based on the assumption that the market can achieve the least-cost solution, ignoring the presence of complexities in decision making and interactions, might be misleading in practice. Expectations about what these markets can attain and of gains from WQT should, therefore, be tempered. Second, our results point to a need for agencies to assist in the development of trading.”
“Researchers use Blue Waters to make satellites more efficient and effective. We rely on global satellite service for communications, navigation, and environmental monitoring, but have you ever thought about how satellites stay in orbit?”
“Patrick Reed has made a career out of managing water resources, an interest that began with a powerful event. While getting his degree in geological engineering at the University of Missouri, Reed’s hometown, St. Louis, was hit by the ‘93 flood of the Mississippi.”
“Operational conflicts may be significantly reduced if the time length of the guide curve schedule was altered, yet such regulatory changes prove quite challenging given the institutional barriers surrounding water rights in the U.S.,” said the researchers, who also include Patrick M. Reed, professor of civil engineering, Cornell University.”
The total number of participants at the symposium will be 100 engineers, generally 30-45 years old from industry, universities, and government labs. Attendees will represent the full range of engineering fields. The symposium will consist of four formal sessions—each with speakers’ presentations and discussion of engineering research and pioneering technical work in particular areas—and a break-out session. The four broad topics that will be covered at the 2013 symposium are: Designing and Analyzing Societal Networks, Cognitive Manufacturing, Energy: Reducing Our Dependence on Fossil Fuels, and Flexible Electronics.”
Civil engineering’s Reed leads effort to enhance scientists’ understanding of global precipitation using NSF’s Blue Waters supercomputer. The team will receive 140 million core hours on the Blue Waters’ 512,000 computer cores over the next year.The research team will use Blue Waters to tackle the problem of large gaps in precipitation data for large parts of the world.”
Patrick Reed and his team from Penn State, Princeton and the Aerospace Corporation, use Blue Waters to transform understanding and optimization of space-based Earth science satellite constellation designs. “Blue Waters has fundamentally changed the scale and scope of the questions we can explore,” he said. “Our hope is that the answers we discover will enhance flood assessment, drought monitoring, and the management of water resources in large river basins world-wide.”
“The 7th International Conference on Evolutionary Multi-Criterion Optimization has invited Dr. Patrick Reed, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering to serve as one of the conference’s invited plenary speakers. The bi-annual international conference draws a broad international audience from the many disciplines currently advancing evolutionary multi-criterion optimization. EMO 2013 expands the conference’s focus to embrace algorithmic advances, multi-criterion decision making, and real world applications.”
“Joe Kasprzyk, a graduate student in civil engineering, won a student presentation award at the International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software in Leipzig, Germany.”
“Patrick Reed, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Penn State, has been named the winner of the 2012 Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The honor is awarded to civil engineers younger than the age of 40 and is given to only five people per year. The ASCE cited Reed for his “pioneering advances in multi-objective systems analysis that have significantly advanced engineering practice related to hydrologic prediction, observation network design and risk-based water supply management.”
“The PSEAS Awards recognize the outstanding efforts in teaching, research, advising, staff, service and work with students. Four members of the faculty will receive the Outstanding Advising Award: Leland Engel, instructor and director of mechanical engineering design projects; Patrick Reed, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; Margaret June Slattery, assistant professor of bioengineering; and Terry Speicher, assistant professor of engineering at Penn State Berks.”
“Alisha Fernandez, a doctoral candidate in energy and mineral engineering and National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate fellow, was awarded the Dennis J O’Brien United States Association for Energy Economics (USAEE) Best Student Paper Award for her paper “Evaluating ecosystem and wind-following services for hydroelectric dams in PJM.” The paper also was accepted for publication in of the Journal for Regulatory Economics in 2012.”
“Working with Malaysia Airlines, Apptimation has successfully proven the applicability and value of its multi-objective evolutionary algorithm approach to one of the world’s most complex problems, that of airline connectivity optimization.”
“A newly signed memorandum of understanding between the Penn State’s College of Engineering and Italy’s Politecnico di Milano paves the way for formal teaching and research collaborations between the two institutions.”
“Josh Kollat, doctoral student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has won Best Dissertation in the category of natural science and engineering in the 2011 Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) National Ph.D. Dissertation Award Competition.”
“Rachel Urban a first year Masters student in Civil and Environmental Engineering has received her NSF graduate fellowship to explore how geophysics can be used to enhance the management of groundwater systems. Her work will be co-advised by Drs. Patrick Reed and Kamini Singha.”
“Major space agencies are planning new satellites that will provide new and additional space-based observations of the water and energy cycles components. It is expected that these observations will lead to improved applications (e.g. in agriculture, water and energy management) and scientific understanding the Earth’s climate….”
“Local and regional researchers collect large amounts of high quality data on climate change and its effects, but the researchers that create the economic and climate models do not always…”
“A team of engineers from Penn State and The Aerospace Corporation have created a set of software tools that takes its cues from natural evolution and applies them to solving large, complex planning problems…”
“A team of Penn State civil engineers has received one of the largest single-year allocations of supercomputing hours made for 2010…”
“Two graduate students from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have received Science To Achieve Results (STAR) fellowships from the Environmental Protection Agency…”
“Computer simulations for drought-prone areas reveal that when urban water planners combine three approaches of buying water — permanent rights, options and leases — the city avoids surplus water and high costs, and reduces shortages, according to civil engineers…”
“Taking some cues from popular social networking Web sites, a team including a Penn State civil engineer, the University’s Center for Environmental Informatics and Drexel University has developed a Web service that allows users to search for water-related datasets and share their own work in the mid-Atlantic region…”
“Patrick Reed, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been selected for an Outstanding Achievement Award by the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers …”
“…Patrick M. Reed, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, to collaborate with researchers at the Centre for Water Systems, University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, to develop a framework for discovering how to increase both the reliability and adaptability of water supply systems…”
“Patrick Reed, associate professor of civil engineering at Penn State, has been awarded a large resource allocation (LRAC) grant on the largest open science supercomputer in the world…”
“Patrick Reed, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Rachel Brennan, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, have each received grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Career Development (CAREER) Program for their proposals…”
“A team including researchers from Penn State, Drexel University and Johns Hopkins University has received two grants to establish a test bed focusing on the Susquehanna River Basin and its impact on the Chesapeake Bay…”