World Congress on Risk 2015
19-23 July, 2015, Singapore

Online Program

Session Schedule & Abstracts

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Common abbreviations

Monday 20-07-2015

Resilience of Infrastructure Systems - A Compound of Engineered, Operational and User Systems

Room: Aspiration   16:00–17:30

Chair(s): Hans Heinimann

0    Resilience of Infrastructure Systems - A Compound of Engineered, Operational and User Systems. Sornette Didier, ETH Zurich, Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks; Amir Sulfikar, Nanyang Technological University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences; Schubert Renate, ETH Zurich, Chair of Economics; Dang Vinh, Paul Scherer Instiute, Laboratory of Energy Systems Analysis (261)

Abstract: Infrastructure systems and services have grown into a web of interdependent components, and their interactions increasingly govern their behavior. However, such enhanced connectedness causes novel types of disruptions that result from coupling. What usually begins as a small, local disaster eventually spreads and is amplified both within and between systems. Critical infrastructures are not only physical but also socio-technical systems that comprise three subsystems: (1) the engineered system itself, (2) the operating organization, and (3) users who consume those infrastructure services. Analyses of large-scale disruptions (NASA Columbia and Challenger explosions, toxic leaks at Bhopal, radiation contamination at Fukushima, etc.) have demonstrated that social subsystems are often the weak link triggering the development of those disruptions. The purpose of the session is to present the approach of the "future resilient systems" research programm, which is framing critical inrastructure systems as a compound of engineered, operational and user systems. Program 1. Introduction (Prof. Hans R. Heinimann, ETH Zurich & FRS Programme Leader, Singapore) 2. Extreme events in complex systems: dragon-kings and their control (Prof. Didier Sornette, ETH Zurich, Switzerland) 3. Sociotechnical Resilience: Emergence of a New Concept (Prof. Sulfikar Amir, Division of Sociology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University) 4. Private Households‘ Energy Related Behavior – Innovations for More Sustainability, Robustness and Resilience (Prof. Renate Schubert, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

1    Extreme events in complex systems: dragon-kings and their control. Sornette Didier    (273)

Abstract: In many complex systems, large events are believed to follow power-law, scale-free probability distributions so that the extreme, catastrophic events are unpredictable. Here, I emphasize that the most extreme events often do not belong to a scale-free distribution. Called dragon-kings, these events are outliers that possess distinct formation mechanisms. Such specific underlying mechanisms open the possibility that dragon-kings can be forecasted, allowing for suppression and control. I illustrate the statistical evidence and predictability of dragon-kings in an electronic circuit that has an underlying time-varying dynamics identified to belong to a more general class of complex systems. We identify the mechanism leading to the dragon-kings and show that they can be forecasted in real time and even suppressed by the application of tiny and occasional perturbations. The mechanism responsible for dragon-kings in this specific system is attractor bubbling, which is a generic behavior appearing in networks of coupled oscillators. The approach is generalised to obtain a conceptual framework to quantify, model and predict crises in out-of-equilibrium open heterogeneous dynamical systems (i.e. almost all systems of interest) based on a synthesis of the theory of the renormalization group in statistical physics and bifurcation theory in mathematics combined with systematic empirical data analyses. The obtained insights have important implications to address the challenges facing mankind, including finance induced instabilities in worldwide economies, debt instability, epidemics of obesity and chronic diseases, aging and financial retirement liabilities, the energy challenges, the water problem, the soil erosion run-away, the on-going sixth largest biological extinction, extreme industrial disasters, coupled with geopolitical risks, the problem of the stability of societies that need to steer responsible management of our complex industrial systems.

2    Sociotechnical Resilience: Emergence of a New Concept. Amir Sulfikar    (274)

Abstract: Every technological system from simple ones such as vehicles, cellphones, etc. to more complex ones including nuclear power station, electricity networks, and public transportation, is a sociotechnical system. These systems are sociotechnical because the operation and utilization of these technologies deeply rely on a proper integration between social organizations and technical components. Both social and technical elements play equally crucial roles in successful operation of any system. Disaster in modern society is essentially a foray against the socio-technical structure that embodies modern culture. Thus, the ability of sociotechnical systems to withstand shocks and disruptions defines whether a crisis will be ended immediately or prolonged. Drawing on the sociotechnical system approach, this presentation seeks to develop “socio-technical resilience” as a new concept to understand how complex sociotechnical systems build resilience in anticipation of a variety of critical situations. The presentation will discuss the methodological approach to study sociotechnial resilience in which both quantitative and qualitative analyses are combined to build a model of sociotechnical system able to simulate the proliferation of crisis within the system. The empirical investigation explores into real-world problems in the ways social organizations are structured to manage technical operations of Singapore’s energy system. The primary result of this study will be materialized in the simulation modelling of sociotechnical system to measure the sociotechnical resilience of the system in question. This model will contribute significantly to the understanding of system resilience, and offers new insights for policymakers to improve infrastructure resilience in which social and technical factors are taken into account in an integrative manner.

3    Engineered systems and emergency organizations – challenges to achieving safety, robustness, and resilience. Dang Vinh    (275)

Abstract: From a perspective that emphasizes resilience, the design of “safe” systems are sometimes perceived to be robust but brittle, where the term ‘brittle’ suggests that the system will remain safe only under carefully constrained conditions. Such systems are then seen as superficially robust because these constraints may be violated, especially in those circumstances associated with rare disasters. On the other hand, when safety is examined comprehensively and implemented thoroughly, flexibility to allow for the unexpected are added to the familiar notions of redundancy, diversity, and defence-in-depth. For instance, accident management and the preparedness for severe accidents in the nuclear industry attempt to incorporate strategies to manage the unanticipated. For instance, mitigation strategies and the accompanying technical features and implementation procedures are prepared for degraded, accidental situations regardless of their likelihood and without precisely defining how such situations may arise. This contribution focuses on a case study of the accident management of the 2011 catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station. The focus is not the inadequate design basis, an important contributor to the catastrophe, which has been examined elsewhere. Instead, the emphasis is on the ways in which the preparations for severe situations were lacking and on how the implementation of the planned response was prevented or hindered during the event. The aim is to draw insights on the challenges in designing flexibility in the response, system, and organization needed for resilient systems and to identify possible solutions.

4    Evaluation of Seismic Resilience of an Integrated Critical Infrastructure Network System. Sun L, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland; Didier M, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland; Sansavini G, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland; Stojadinovic B, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland (301)

Abstract: The modern Critical Infrastructures (CIs) are becoming more integrated and interdependent through sharing of resources and information. This makes them more vulnerable to exogenous disruptive events such as natural hazards, terrorist attacks, and random operational errors. The resulting local damage can cascade through one or more CIs and lead to the severe global failure of the system of CIs. A framework to quantify the resilience of an integrated CI system is proposed and illustrated. Specifically, an Electric Power Supply System (EPSS) and a Transportation System (TS) of a virtual community are considered, and their resilience to an earthquake disaster is examined. The Agent-Based Modeling (ABM) method is used in this framework to model the recovery of the intertwined EPSS and TS under earthquake disasters. The three individual agents, the Operators of EPSS and TS, and the Community Administrator (Government), are defined by parameters that model their behaviors during the seismic recovery process. More importantly, the rules for interaction among these agents are specified. The EPSS and TS repair crews repair the damaged components in their systems according to their own priorities. However, successful implementation of the EPSS recovery plan depends on the availability of roads: EPSS repair crews can only go to the substations by driving along the instantaneously available roads and bridges, which are also undergoing the repair process. The most efficient path for the EPSS repair crews is computed using the state of the TS in each new time step. It is likely that the repair priorities for different CIs will differ during the community recovery process. The organization criteria of the Community Administrator agent will therefore be defined to coordinate and optimize the entire recovery campaign.

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