Civil engineering infrastructure systems are built to serve the public, and, as a result, the performance of these systems depends on feedbacks among natural resources, infrastructure, and society. Research in the Sociotechnical Systems Analysis (STSA) Lab  investigates sociotechnical systems, which are systems in which human decision-making affects resource availability and infrastructure performance, and feedback from resources and infrastructure systems affect human decisions. This research asks “How do human behaviors and choices affect the performance of engineered infrastructure systems?”

The STSA Lab has developed agent-based models of sociotechnical systems to simulate feedback mechanisms and adaptive behaviors among consumers, infrastructure, and environmental systems.  Ultimately, we want to capture loops in which human behavior affects infrastructure systems, and infrastructure performance feeds back to affect human behavior.  Our goal is to capture and predict instability, fragility, and tipping points in urban infrastructure and natural resources systems.

This research also explores optimization models and algorithms to manage the sustainability, security, and resilience of complex infrastructure systems. Agent-based models, water system models, and optimization methods, including evolutionary algorithms, are coupled to identify infrastructure management strategies that adapt to sociotechnical dynamics.

See our research interests for descriptions of how we are applying agent-based modeling, infrastructure modeling, optimization, and statistical modeling for sociotechnical systems analysis.  You can find outcomes of this research listed on our publications page and at Google Scholar.