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Examining the threats of our time...locally, regionally, and globally.

Current Scholar Research

Vaccine Modeling Project - Howard Kunreuther, Michael Kearns, Harvey Rubin, Shin Teh, Josh Metlay, David Asch, Mark Pauly
The vaccine modeling project at ISTAR was developed to examine efficient strategies for vaccination. Currently this project team draws upon a diverse group of faculty including health care economists, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, risk managers, and computer scientists. The purpose of this project is to create a robust model for analyzing the spread of disease among various populations and vaccine distribution models that can most effectively combat disease spread. At the crux of this model is the principal that a vaccinated individual passes benefit onto others by not being a possible agent for spreading a disease. To develop this model, principals from risk management’s concept of interdependent security and computer science’s artificial intelligence and evolutionary game theory research are being combined in unique ways to find an innovative solution to this problem.

Airline Security ProjectGeoffrey Heal, Michael Kearns, Paul Kleindorfer, Howard Kunreuther, Felix Oberholzer-Gee
Consider an airline that is determining whether to install a baggage checking system voluntarily. In making this decision it needs to balance the cost of installing and operating such a system with the reduction in the risk of an explosion from a piece of luggage not only from the passengers who check in with it, but from the bags of passengers who check in on other airlines and then transfer to it. The incentive to invest in security is greatly diminished if other airlines fail to adopt protective measures, so there may be a need for some type of intervention by the public sector. This project is examining the inter-dependent nature of security in airlines to develop strategies for mitigation. By combining complex network analysis with economic theories of insurance and games, this project plans to develop an extremely robust method for empirically examining this problem.

The Role of Hydrological, and Epidemiological Issues Essential to a Successful Recovery Program in Post-Saddam IraqTom Naff, Bob Giegengack, John Holmes
The University of Pennsylvania Iraq Consortium proposes to undertake a 24 month field research and analysis project with the objective of determining the hydrological, epidemiological, demographic, and environmental factors essential to a successful recovery program in Iraq. The study will also include an assessment of whether the Al-Huwaiza Marsh in the wetlands of southern Iraq, the only remaining marsh that stands a reasonable chance of being recovered, can be saved from destruction that would produce serious ecological, environmental, human, and economic consequences for Iraq. The Consortium will offer short and long-term recommendations and immediate action guidelines for planners and decision-makers in an order of priority. These results will take the form of a series of issue specific reports together with accompanying data and models organized and designed for ease of use.

Sustainable Resiliency™ ProjectBruce Cahan (Urban Logic), Karl Bortnick (City of Philadelphia), Harvey Rubin
Strategic threats are generally high risk, low probability events. This paradox does not justify large expenditures for the sole purpose of fortifying our local, state and national infrastructure against low probability terrorist acts. Based on personal experiences working in the Command Center after 9/11, Bruce Cahan (Urban Logic’s president and a Wharton alumnus) forged the foundations for the Sustainable Resiliency™ methodology, and proposed prototyping it in Philadelphia with ISTAR. By smarter investing in urban infrastructure (i.e., for longer-term benefit to society) AND investing to reduce damage impacts or improve response in the event of a terrorist attack or other strategic threat, cities would receive a better payoff for their investment. This approach the new infrastructure reporting rules of the Government Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB 34) to position cities to have a renewed dialogue that actually improves their bond ratings, bringing reduced interest costs and substantial fiscal savings to plow back into sustainable resiliency™ investments. Careful review of existing urban infrastructure permits benchmarks of improving aggregate and block-specific Sustainable Resiliency.™ Urban Logic is leading the Sustainable Resiliency™ project with the active participation of the Mayor’s Office of Information Services, ISTAR and the Penn Community to realize its potential in a Philadelphia Pilot Project that will serve as a model for other cities.

 

 


 


 

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