Modelling Complex Socio-Technical Infrastructure Systems

Main content

Modelling Infrastructure Systems

With a large number of system components interacting not only within, but also between systems, critical infrastructure systems have become more complex. However, the best simulation systems today have not been able to map system properties close enough to reality. Most systems are based only on topology and are usually based on the assumption that physical components behave discretely and respond without delay. Moreover, beyond individual human error and behaviour, organisational factors and adaptation, which are also important factors in modelling these complex systems, are often overlooked.

As such, this research module aims to:

  1. conceptualise, specify, and utilise a distributed-simulation environment
  2. implement a simulation environment that integrates models developed within FRS with available built-to-purpose models, and the coordinating runtime infrastructure
  3. execute system-of-systems simulations that represent interactions among the physical, cyber (SCADA), and social systems

The Systems Integration submodule supports and coordinates all model development processes within FRS through a robust systems engineering approach, ensuring that model inter-operability is a fundamental consideration in the process of model development.

Specifically, researchers will conceptualise a distributed-simulation environment that integrates models developed within FRS with existing or newly-developed models to produce a system-of-systems environment that could model interactions between systems.

The Efficient Physical Infrastructure Modelling submodule aims to bring critical infrastructure modelling closer to real-world scenarios. Current models often assume a discrete physical state of its components (i.e. either working or not working) and the absence of delay in behavioural responses. An agent based modelling system will be developed, in which physical agents behave according to underlying physical laws. This will allow the exploration of mechanisms of system failure to understand cascading collapses, and in particular, blackouts.

The Socio-Technical Modelling submodule aims to improve the reliability of human/ organisational reliability models by explicitly considering organisational factors and dynamics. Researchers will develop a hybrid simulation model that represents interactions between social and technical components, linked to a disruption model that generates endogenous organisational disturbances. The expected outcome is a compound system to simulate the behaviour of a technical-organisational infrastructure system.

Page URL:
Sun Apr 23 06:33:17 CEST 2017
© 2017 Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich