Designing Influence in Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems: CASoS Engineering
Robert J. Glass
Sandia National Laboratories & Stanford University
March 23, 2012
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Silver Maple - Davis Center
Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems, or CASoS, are vastly complex eco-socio-economic-technical systems which we must understand to design a prosperous and secure future for the nation and the world. Perturbations/disruptions in CASoS bring with them the potential for far-reaching effects due to highly-saturated interdependencies and attendant vulnerabilities to cascades in associated systems. For example, the global effects of disruption within CASoS can be seen in the impacts of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami in 2011 on not only the people and industry of Japan, but also on US car manufacturers, on global energy and financial markets, and on the future of nuclear power production around the world. We approach this sort of high-impact problem space as engineers, devising interventions or problem solutions that influence CASoS to achieve specific aspirations, an activity we call CASoS Engineering. Through application to real-world problems, the CASoS Engineering Initiative at Sandia National Laboratories is evolving CASoS Engineering principles while growing a community of practice and the CASoS engineers to populate it. The Initiative is both grounded in reality and works to extend our understanding and control of that reality; it is both a solution within a CASoS and a CASoS itself. We seek collaborators - engineers, problem holders, analysts, all those reaching for dynamic, adaptive solutions - to join in the evolution of the discipline of CASoS Engineering.
Dr. Robert J Glass leads the Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems (CASoS) Engineering Initiative at Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Glass has degrees from Haverford College (BS, Ecology) and Cornell University (MS and PhD, Agricultural and Biological Engineering). He worked for many years in the general field of Subsurface Science where his discoveries of phenomena and creation of new modeling approaches influenced problems ranging from water and contaminant transport in fractured rock (e.g., Yucca Mountain, Nevada) to the remediation of aquifers contaminated with Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPL such as TCE and PCE). Joining the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC, joint between Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories) in 2004, Dr Glass created a research team that has evolved to become the CASoS Engineering Initiative focusing on the analysis and control of CASoS as embodied by many critical infrastructures and socio-economic-technical systems. Example applications have included: assessment of cascading failure in multi network infrastructure such as power grids, economic supply networks, and telecommunications (with NISAC); community containment strategies for pandemic influenza subsequently adopted as first-line national policy for pandemic response (with the White House Homeland Security Council); national and global monetary policy influence on congestion and cascades within national large value payment systems linked through international foreign exchange markets (with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the European Central Bank, and the National Banks of Finland and France); design of robust and resilient large scale national community health policies for the Veterans Health Administration (with the Department of Veterans Affairs' Chief Officer of Public Health and Environmental Hazards); among others (see www.sandia.gov/CasosEngineering). Dr. Glass is currently at Stanford University where he is the 2011-12 William J. Perry Fellow in the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), his prospectus for the year is entitled "Understanding Global Interdependency to Promote International Security."