A mathematical framework to assess vulnerabilities in codependent infrastructure and natural system networks

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


The objective of this paper was to understand how flow and topology affect resilience and robustness of codependent infrastructure and natural system networks. This paper represents these codependent infrastructure and natural systems as an integrated network system (INS) and develops metrics to measure resilience and robustness based on the understanding of network connections and flow characteristics. The paper presents a mathematical framework founded in system dynamics and viability theory that can be used to formulate metrics of robustness and resilience for an INS. As each of these factors are a function of the system "structure," a graph theoretic approach is used to represent and analyze the INS. The research builds on recent work indicating that the topology of a network determines its vulnerabilities. The immediate contribution of this paper is that it lays the mathematical foundations for measuring robustness and resilience of the INS and identifies methods to characterize its topology and flow through it. In the long run, this research is likely to support a platform that proactively will identify and prepare for unexpected disruptions to infrastructure services while reducing undesirable environmental hazards. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Publication Title

Construction Research Congress 2014: Construction in a Global Network - Proceedings of the 2014 Construction Research Congress