Digital Engineering Application of the Environment-Vulnerability-Decision-Technology Framework for Hurricane Disaster Relief Decision Support

Digital Engineering Application of the Environment-Vulnerability-Decision-Technology Framework for Hurricane Disaster Relief Decision Support

June 6, 2023 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Speaker: Mitchell Kirshner - University of Arizona, Dr. Danielle Wood - MIT

Almost $100 billion was spent on recovery efforts for Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. Mid-Atlantic hurricanes devastate many locations off the East coast of the United States every year. They are highly unpredictable and cause many deaths and damage that is not recoverable. Therefore, quick and effective relief efforts are imperative. Rapid mobilization of resources and clear distribution processes make a significant difference in providing effective relief. Support for the disaster management cycle – including mitigation, preparation, response, recovery – requires informed decision making with input from many stakeholders and perspectives. Therefore, to prepare and improve these efforts and prevent disarray similar to the occurrence in Puerto Rico in 2017, we leverage Digital Engineering to develop models by which to better inform decision makers on exactly where and when to send relief supplies. To accomplish this modeling, the authors instantiate the Environment-Vulnerability-Decision-Technology (EVDT) Framework developed at the MIT Space Enabled Research Group. This framework links societal, economic, scientific, and technological data to provide a more holistic view of risks associated with natural disasters. Furthermore, this framework makes use of Earth Observation data taken from the growing plethora of information available from satellite-based monitoring systems. The methods presented In this presentation, developed using the EVDT framework and Model Based Systems Engineering language SysML, map out an approach to use Geographical Information System data for Puerto Rico to categorize Vulnerabilities associated with different regions and develop a hierarchical risk assessment for Puerto Rico disaster relief. This work presents the models alongside the results of a literature review on the response to Hurricane Maria to suggest to decision makers the increased use of the electric Vertical Take Off and Lift (eVTOL) vehicle technology and regional air drop missions. This presentation also describes a framework for the development of a SysML profile for the EVDT Framework, enabling its reuse in disaster relief mission design.

Speaker Biography

Mitchell Kirshner is a postdoctoral research associate in the University of Arizona Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering, where he received his PhD in May 2023. His research focuses on achieving  holistic interoperability within cyberphysical autonomous space systems using Model-Based Systems Engineering, and his career interests include advancing human space travel and sustainability. Mitchell completed his MS degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University in 2015, where he also graduated with his BS in Earth and Planetary Sciences, the Integrated Science Program, and Integrated Engineering. Mitchell’s career experience spans from engineering nuclear submarines to rendering data science applications in virtual reality. He is originally from Long Island, NY.

Professor Danielle Wood serves as an Assistant Professor in Media Arts & Sciences and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Within the MIT Media Lab, Prof. Wood leads the Space Enabled Research Group which seeks to advance justice in Earth's complex systems using designs enabled by space. Prof. Wood is a scholar of societal development with a background that includes satellite design, earth science applications, systems engineering, and technology policy. In her research, Prof. Wood applies these skills to design innovative systems that harness space technology to address development challenges around the world. Prior to serving as faculty at MIT, Professor Wood held positions at NASA Headquarters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Aerospace Corporation, Johns Hopkins University, and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. Prof. Wood studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a PhD in engineering systems, SM in aeronautics and astronautics, SM in technology policy, and SB in aerospace engineering.