Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Natural-disaster mathematical aid systems aid in decision-making

Date:
February 16, 2010
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Mathematicians have developed a computer application that estimates the magnitude of natural disasters and helps NGOs in the decision making process. The researchers have also presented an on-site humanitarian aid distribution model. Both could have been applied in the case of the recent Haiti earthquake.

Haiti. A team of mathematicians has developed a computer application that estimates the magnitude of natural disasters and helps non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the decision making process. The researchers have also presented an on-site humanitarian aid distribution model. Both could have been applied in the case of the recent Haiti earthquake.
Credit: United Nations Development Programme

A team of mathematicians from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) has developed a computer application that estimates the magnitude of natural disasters and helps non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the decision making process. The researchers have also presented an on-site humanitarian aid distribution model. Both could have been applied in the case of the recent Haiti earthquake.

Related Articles


"The Sistema Experto para el Diagnóstico en Desastres (SEDD) (Expert System for Disaster Diagnosis) is a natural-disaster diagnosis and prediction computer tool to help NGOs in strategic decision making," Begoña Vitoriano, co-author of a study published this month in the Knowledge-Based Systems Journal, and professor of the Statistics and Operative Research Department of the UCM Mathematics Faculty, explains.

The program starts by taking information about the type of disaster (earthquake, flood, hurricane, tsunami, fire, etc.), quantifiable units (Richter scale for earthquakes, wind speed for hurricanes, etc.) and a vulnerability measurement of the area. To obtain a vulnerability measurement, which is the most difficult to do, the scientists use the Human Development Index provided by the UN per country, and they modify it according to the situation of the affected region.

With these data, the computer application estimates the magnitude of the consequences of the catastrophe "in terms of fatalities, injuries, homeless people, others affected and cost," which is very useful information for NGOs. These variables have been chosen from the Disaster Epidemiology Research Centre database of Lovaina University (Belgium), which is a WHO collaborating centre.

To manage the highly imprecise and uncertain nature of the data gathered in these cases, the researchers work with fuzzy logic, a mathematical tool that operates with numerical intervals (not with exact s) to try to quantify "the highest or lowest" magnitudes as the number of injured or affected people.

Juan Tinguaro Rodríguez, also a member of the UCM team, points out that "The decision aid system that we propose could have been applied perfectly following the recent Haiti earthquake, as it is centred around the assessment of the consequences of disasters such as this, where primary information is scarce, unreliable or, in general, of low quality."

The most effective distribution of aid

Another application developed by these mathematicians and that has just been published in the Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, is a humanitarian aid distribution systems (HADS).

The tool is based on the use of a logistics map of the territory, with nodes (localities) and connections (streets and roads). The "graph" includes aid demand in some nodes (affected populations), supply in others (airports, ports or stores), availability and characteristics of vehicles (type, capacity, speed, cost), as well as data on connections (distances, condition of roads, risk of attack).

"The complex problem of choosing the most suitable distribution routes is a matter that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible and through a multi-criteria decision approach," as it is important to consider aspects such as response time, budget, shipment arrival reliability, risk of attack, fairness of distribution or the priority of reaching certain areas," Begoña Vitoriano points out.

The expert recognises that by presenting the problem in this way, "it is much more difficult to resolve, but is much more real and useful for organisations." The team continues to improve both models in order to provide a free access service via the Web to NGOs involved in humanitarian logistics efforts. To do this, they rely on the support of the IMath-Consolider public financing programme, within the R&D&i National Plan.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Tinguaro Rodríguez et al. A natural-disaster management DSS for Humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisations. Knowledge-Based Systems, 2010; 23 (1): 17 DOI: 10.1016/j.knosys.2009.07.009
  2. Vitoriano et al. HADS, a goal programming-based humanitarian aid distribution system. Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, 2009; 16 (1-2): 55 DOI: 10.1002/mcda.439

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Natural-disaster mathematical aid systems aid in decision-making." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211090752.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2010, February 16). Natural-disaster mathematical aid systems aid in decision-making. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211090752.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Natural-disaster mathematical aid systems aid in decision-making." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211090752.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Hot Months, 1 Warm Year And All The Arguments To Follow

5 Hot Months, 1 Warm Year And All The Arguments To Follow

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — The NOAA released statistics Thursday showing October was the fifth month this year with record temps and 2014 will likely be the hottest on record. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) — Nations meeting in Berlin pledge $9.3 billion (7.4 bn euros) for a climate fund to help poor countries cut emissions and prepare for global warming, just shy of a $10bn target. Duration: 00:46 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins