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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information
 

This month’s Smart Infrastructure Blog is published ahead of the CSIC 2021 Distinguished Lecture on 13 July, which will be given by Professor Jim Hall, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risk at the University of Oxford. In the Blog, Professor Hall calls for system-of-systems modelling to enable sharing of information for the management of risks to national infrastructure from the uncertainties of future climate change.

The Smart Infrastructure Blog by Prof Hall cites the range of conditions under which infrastructure systems can fail and asks: “In the face of the predictable and unpredictable, what can systems analysis tell us about the resilience of infrastructure systems?”

Prof Hall is internationally recognised for his research on risk analysis and decision-making under uncertainty for water resource systems, flood and coastal risk management, infrastructure systems and adaptation to climate change. He was a contributing author to the Nobel Prize-winning Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

Describing the use of systems analysis to “quantify the vulnerability of enormous networks”, Prof Hall references research analysis completed for the National Infrastructure Commission showing that in interdependent networks such as energy, transport, water and telecommunications “failures can propagate from one network to another… and back again”.

He writes: “Actually, infrastructure operators usually know their own networks pretty well. They have asset management systems which record the location and condition of assets. Yet they seldom have the same amount of information about the networks upon which they depend – power or telecommunications. This is where system-of-systems modelling is required, to enable sharing of information and management of systemic risks.”

Highlighting “ever-growing calls to enhance the resilience of infrastructure systems to the risks associated with climate change”, the Smart Infrastructure Blog acknowledges the financial burden damage from extreme events adds to the national balance sheets. Prof Hall writes: “Governments need rigorous methods of prioritisation which account for the uncertainties in future climate changes and in the condition and rate of deterioration of their infrastructure assets.”

• Read the full Smart Infrastructure Blog by Professor Hall titled ‘Can we measure infrastructure resilience everywhere?’ here.

• Register for the CSIC 2021 Distinguished Lecture by Professor Jim Hall, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risk at the University of Oxford, titled ‘The data revolution in global-scale analysis of climate risks to infrastructure systems’ here. The online event takes place on Tuesday 13 July from 5pm to 6.30pm and is free to attend.

 

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