DRC-Disaster Research Center

Active Studies

 

DRU: Contending with Materiel Convergence: Optimal Control, Coordination, and Delivery of Critical Supplies to the Site of Extreme Events.”

Co-Principal Investigators: Tricia Wachtendorf and Havidán Rodríguez (with Jose Holguin-Veras (PI), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and multiple Co-PIs from the University of Delaware, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez)
Graduate Research Assistants: Bethany Brown, Lauren Barsky, and Lynn Letukas
Undergraduate Research Assistants: Jeffrey Engle, Caroline Williams, and Chris Colindres
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation(NSF)

Study Description

The overall goal of this project is to develop methodologies and tools to foster an accelerated convergence between the dynamic needs and supplies of critical resources (e.g., blood, water) to the site of an extreme event. Achieving the overall goal of this project requires a modeling framework that integrates concepts from the social sciences, control theory, robust and stochastic optimization of supply chains, to bridge the gap between dynamic demand and supply of critical resources (i.e., resources available on site, private donations, resources provided by emergency agencies) after an extreme event, as a system, and in consistency with social science principles. These mathematical procedures would help proactively advise the general public about donation priorities; thus reducing the probability of a repeat of previous extreme events in which a massive influx of non-priority donations hampered the flow of critical resources.

The project seeks to develop novel analytical formulations to:

  • Forecast what is needed, providing robust estimates of the dynamic resource requirements following an extreme event (e.g., demand for water or food);
  • Estimate what is available, i.e., critical resources available on site and in adjacent areas;
  • Estimate the dynamic pattern of unmet needs, i.e., what needs to be transported to the site;
  • Establish an optimal strategy of priority allocation among the donations from the general public and emergency agencies;
  • Design the most effective ways to deliver, store and distribute critical supplies to the impacted area;
  • Identify institutional impediments to coordinate an effective response to extreme events, and formulate mechanisms to overcome these obstacles; and,
  • Identify ways in which tighter integration of the information technology systems can be achieved among the pertinent stakeholders.

The work will lead to scientific contributions in the social sciences, control theory, robust and stochastic optimization, dynamic modeling of supply chains; and to improve the Nation’s emergency response capabilities. As a part of the effort to promote learning education at all levels, the research team will engage both undergraduates and middle school students in research activities with specific emphasis on members of underrepresented groups.

Study Related Publications

Holguín-Veras, J., N. Pérez, S. Ukkusuri, T. Wachtendorf, B. Brown. 2007. Emergency Logistics Issues Impacting the Response to Hurricane Katrina: A Synthesis and Preliminary Suggestions for Improvement, Transportation Research Record 2022, 76-82 

 

Study Related Presentations

Wachtendorf, Tricia. Bethany Brown, Jose Holguin-Veras, and Satish Ukkusuri, 2008. Network Visibility in Emergency Supply Chain Management. Paper presented at the workshop on Improving Disaster Supply Chain Management: Key supply chain factors for humanitarian relief sponsored by the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. November 18.

Wachtendorf, Tricia, Bethany Brown, Jose Holguin-Veras, Satish Ukkusuri, and Noel Perez, 2006. Communicating Convergence: Contending with Supplies Following Hurricane Katrina. Presentation at the Katrina Research Symposium: Social Science Research of the Katrina Aftermath, New Orleans, LA, November 3.    

Holguin-Veras, Jose, Noel Perez, Satish Ukkusuri, Tricia Wachtendorf, and Bethany Brown, 2006. Characterization of the Supply Chains in the Aftermath of Katrina: Logistical Issues and Lessons From and Integrated Social Sciences-Engineering Perspective. Presentation at the Katrina Research Symposium: Social Science Research of the Katrina Aftermath, New Orleans, LA., November 3.    

Holguin-Veras, Jose, Noel Perez, Satish Ukkusuri, Tricia Wachtendorf, and Bethany Brown, 2006. Characterization of the Supply Chains in the Aftermath of Katrina: Logistical Issues and Lessons From and Integrated Social Sciences-Engineering Perspective. Poster Presentation at the National Science Foundation’s Human and Social Dynamics Principal Investigators Meeting, Washington, DC, September 14-15