New tool to guide recovery from disasters

New York, Nov 16 (IANS) Indian-origin researchers have developed a computerised tool for guiding stake-holders in the recovery of large-scale infrastructure systems in the aftermath of a disaster.

“The tool, based on a quantitative framework, identifies the order in which the stations need to be restored after full or partial destructions,” said Udit Bhatia, graduate student at Northeastern University in Boston.

Bhatia, under the direction of associate professor Auroop Ganguly, drew on network science to develop the tool.

“We found that, generally, the stations between two important stops were most critical,” he said, alluding to the network science concept of “centrality measures,” which identify stations that enable a large number of station-pairs to be connected to one another.

The tool can be used to restore transportation network, water-distribution systems, power grids, communication networks, and even natural ecological systems, the study said.

For the study, Bhatia mined open-source datasets on ticket-reservation websites to track the origins and destinations of trains running on the Indian rail network.

He then constructed a complex network, with the stations as nodes and the lines connecting those nodes as the ‘edges,’ or links, between them, and overlaid it on a geographical map of the country.

Next he applied natural and man-made disasters to the system, knocking out stations using network science-derived algorithms.

“We considered real-life events that have brought down this network,” said Bhatia, ticking off the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the 2012 North Indian blackout due to a power grid failure, as well as a simulated cyber-physical attack, partially modelled after the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

This unique tool, which has been filed for invention protection through Northeastern University’s center for research innovation, also informs development of preventative measures for limiting damage in the face of a disaster, according to the researchers.

The study appeared in th journal PLOS ONE.


Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of or any employee thereof. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here