The Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure Networks project (RESIN) at the University of California, Berkeley was launched in 2008 with a mandate to create, validate, and apply new Risk Assessment and Management (RAM) based approaches to facilitate a better evaluation and management of resilience and sustainability in interdependent, interconnected, interactive critical infrastructure systems (I3CIS). These objectives will be accomplished not only with the traditional strengths of engineering, but will also incorporate and integrate complementary ideas from the social, political, and legal sciences.
Solving the wrong problem precisely (error of the third kind, E3) means having a very good idea about just what that “problem” is that is being solved in the RESIN initiative. This paper presents a framework for understanding major errors of the first, second and third kinds (E1, E2 and E3, respectively) and their implications for the RESIN Technology Delivery System (TDS) and the Risk Assessment and Management (RAM) methods, namely, the instruments of a Quality Management Assessment System (QMAS) and a System Analysis Risk Assessment System (SYRAS). Two cautions identifying further areas of study conclude the paper.
Addressing Crises More Effectively: The Other Answers to Rising Sea Levels, Storms, Floods, Desertification, Earthquakes and More Environmental Crises in the Sacramento Delta
Consensus is that California’s strategically important Sacramento Delta is headed for all manner of environmental disasters, not least of which are earthquakes and the storms, floods and dry periods associated with global and regional climate change. Added to this list are the environmental problems associated with urbanization, chemical agriculture and declining fish species in the Delta. In the prevailing view, there are so many crises that if one does not happen, others will. Therefore, the probability and consequences of something failing are extremely high, whatever way you look at it. But there is no “therefore” there. The chief feature of complexity is surprise, not inevitability. Ecosystems are very complex as are the infrastructure systems mandated to reliably manage ecosystem services, including water, hydropower and renewable energy. Surprises are happening all the time in these systems, raising the questions this paper answers: Who manages these surprises systemwide in real time? What are the answers this management provides and how do they differ from current approaches to climate change, earthquakes and other environmental crisis scenarios for the Delta?
Research Note on Major Assumptions About the Probability of Failure (Pf) & Consequences of Failure (Cf) Related to Critical Infrastructures in California’s Sacramento Delta
A problem arises when the assumption that the higher the Pf and Cf, the greater the pressure will be to reduce one or both confronts a reality where Pf is high because Cf is high, and Cf is high because no one has been able to agree over what to do about the critical infrastructures in question. The impasse arises because of the zero-sum nature of the high-stakes conflict, which in turn leads to long-term inaction where thereby increases the probability of something awful happening when disaster finally strikes. Reliability of the critical infrastructure, accordingly, ceases to be the driving priority in decisionmaking. This note examines how to address such a problem within the interactive framework for the risk assessment and management (RAM) the instruments of a Quality Management Assessment System (QMAS) and a System Analysis Risk Assessment System (SYRAS).