Purdue University Graduate School
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Developing Artificial Intelligence-Based Decision Support for Resilient Socio-Technical Systems

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posted on 2020-06-15, 17:04 authored by Ali LenjaniAli Lenjani
During 2017 and 2018, two of the costliest years on record regarding natural disasters, the U.S. experienced 30 events with total losses of $400 billion. These exuberant costs arise primarily from the lack of adequate planning spanning the breadth from pre-event preparedness to post-event response. It is imperative to start thinking about ways to make our built environment more resilient. However, empirically-calibrated and structure-specific vulnerability models, a critical input required to formulate decision-making problems, are not currently available. Here, the research objective is to improve the resilience of the built environment through an automated vision-based system that generates actionable information in the form of probabilistic pre-event prediction and post-event assessment of damage. The central hypothesis is that pre-event, e.g., street view images, along with the post-event image database, contain sufficient information to construct pre-event probabilistic vulnerability models for assets in the built environment. The rationale for this research stems from the fact that probabilistic damage prediction is the most critical input for formulating the decision-making problems under uncertainty targeting the mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. The following tasks are completed towards the goal.
First, planning for one of the bottleneck processes of the post-event recovery is formulated as a decision making problem considering the consequences imposed on the community (module 1). Second, a technique is developed to automate the process of extracting multiple street-view images of a given built asset, thereby creating a dataset that illustrates its pre-event state (module 2). Third, a system is developed that automatically characterizes the pre-event state of the built asset and quantifies the probability that it is damaged by fusing information from deep neural network (DNN) classifiers acting on pre-event and post-event images (module 3). To complete the work, a methodology is developed to enable associating each asset of the built environment with a structural probabilistic vulnerability model by correlating the pre-event structure characterization to the post-event damage state (module 4). The method is demonstrated and validated using field data collected from recent hurricanes within the US.
The vision of this research is to enable the automatic extraction of information about exposure and risk to enable smarter and more resilient communities around the world.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Shirley J. Dyke

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Ilias Bilionis

Additional Committee Member 2

Julio A. Ramirez

Additional Committee Member 3

Antonio Bobet

Additional Committee Member 4

Karen Marais