IEEE Open Journal of Systems Engineering Special Issue on Resilience in Systems Engineering

This special issue in the IEEE Open Journal of Systems Engineering seeks original papers to form a well-established body of knowledge on resilience in systems engineering and to aid in the pathfinding for innovative and long-term research. Extended Deadline, April 15. Guest editors include Drs. Astrid Layton (Texas A&M), Karen Marais (Purdue), Payuna Uday (Stevens).
Topics under consideration include conceptual and theoretical examinations of resilience and sustainability; systematic approaches for resilience assessment of complex systems; design for resilience approaches; uncertainty handling in resilience assessment; data-driven approaches for resilience assessment and monitoring; simulation methods; artificial intelligence for resilience; resilience coordination, decision-making, and governance; human factors considerations; dynamic maintenance for resilience; and digital twins for reliability, risk and resilience engineering. 

BiSSL 2021 Paper is Wiley’s Top Downloaded Article

It’s great to see Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) work in collaboration with Drs. Abheek Chatterjee, Ph.D. and Richard Malak on bio-inspired systems/systems of systems design for resilience getting some attention via INCOSE!

You can check out the paper online: “Ecology-inspired resilient and affordable system of systems using degree of system order”

Two new BiSSL Journal Papers Accepted!

Two journal papers have recently been accepted for publication involving BiSSL student alumni as authors/co-authors and collaborators.

“Ecological Robustness-Oriented Grid Network Design for Resilience Against Multiple Hazards” in IEEE Transactions on Power Systems by Hao Huang, Varuneswara Panyam, Astrid Layton, and Katherine Davis

“A Comparison of Graph-Theoretic Approaches for Resilient System of Systems Design” in ASME Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering by Abheek Chatterjee, Cade Helbig, Richard Malak, and Astrid Layton

Huge congratulations to BiSSL alum Jessica Ezemba on her first authored paper being accepted to the Journal of Mechanical Design!

Jessica was an undergraduate researcher student in BiSSL while at Texas A&M. Her work combining her interest in brain injuries with bio-inspired design turned into a full-length journal article that has now been accepted for publication in the Journal of Mechanical Design. Jessica is currently a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in their MIIPS program and is planning on pursuing a Ph.D. thereafter.

The paper is titled “Bio-Inspired Avenues for Advancing Brain Injury Prevention” and can be found here:

Abstract: “Bio-inspired design is a highly promising avenue for uncovering novel traumatic brain injury prevention equipment designs. Nature has a history of providing inspiration for breakthrough innovations, particularly in cases when the traditional engineering mindset has failed to advance problem solving. This work identifies patterns and trends in the ways that nature defends against external stimuli and predators, investigating them with the goal of highlighting promising inspiration for brain injury prevention. Two key strategies were found missing in engineering applications while identifying patterns and strategies used in nature: 1) connections between layers in multi-layered material structures and 2) the use of multiple strategies in a single design. Nine organisms are highlighted in detail as examples of patterns in biological methods of protection, both on a macro and microscale. These findings include the coconut’s shell, the pomelo fruit’s peel, the golden scale snail’s shell, the ironclad beetle’s exoskeleton, the woodpecker’s skull, the Arapaima fish’s scales, conch shells, and the dactyl club of shrimp. The results highlight knowledge gaps preventing these findings from being applied as well as recommendations for moving towards their use in engineering design.”

(2022) *Ezemba, J.; Layton, A. “Bio-Inspired Avenues for Advancing Brain Injury Prevention.” Journal of Mechanical Design. DOI: 10.1115/1.4055737

New BiSSL Publication in the Systems Engineering journal

Big congratulations to BiSSL Ph.D. student Abheek Chatterjee for his paper “Ecology‐inspired resilient and affordable system of systems using degree of system order” – which investigates applying ecological resilience measures to the design of Systems of Systems (SoS) and has now been published!

Abstract: This research tests the value of using an ecology-inspired architectural metric, called the metric Degree of System Order (DoSO), to identify resilient and affordable engineered System of Systems (SoS) architectures. Analysis of long-surviving biological ecosystems (nature’s resilient SoS) using DoSO has revealed a unique balance of efficient and redundant interactions in their architectures. This balance is hypothesized to enable both effective resource utilization under normal operation and adaptability to survive and recover from perturbations. Optimal trade-off between resilience (the ability to survive and recover from disruptions) and affordability is highly desirable in engineering SoS as well. To test this analogy, the resilience vs. affordability tradespace of a large number of notional SoS architectures is investigated using the DoSO metric. Results indicate that the majority of Pareto optimal SoS architectures, under various disruption scenarios, lie in the ecologically identified favorable DoSO range. Further, SoS architectures within this DoSO range were found to have better resilience and affordability attributes, in general, than the architectures outside it. Evaluation of the DoSO metric does not require detailed simulations and is the first network architecture metric to consider resilience vs. affordability trade-offs, making it a valuable addition to the SoS engineering toolset.

A. Chatterjee, R. Malak, and A. Layton, “Ecology-inspired Resilient and Affordable System of Systems using Degree of System Order,” Systems Engineering, pp. 1-16, 2021, Art no. SYS21598, doi: 10.1002/sys.21598.

Research paper accepted to the Journal of Cleaner Production

BiSSL MS alum Jewel Williams just had her coauthored full-length research paper accepted and published in the Journal of Cleaner Production! The paper, titled “Matrix Trays: From Waste to Opportunities,” advances a circular economy approach and was done in collaboration with the Department of Architecture Dr. Ahmed K. Ali and his Ph.D. student Patricia Kio. The work couldn’t have been done without the 2019 Mechanical Engineering senior design team of Alexandra Stewart, Zachary Merrill, Austin Grosklags, Miguel Cervantes, and Joseph Bustillo. This team came up with a case study design that reused matrix trays – which are currently a major single-use plastic filling our landfills – as part of an interdisciplinary seed grant from Texas A&M.

Abstract: “Matrix Trays are single-use plastic carriers used to transport integrated chips and circuit board components during automated test and assembly processes for Printed Circuit Boards. These trays represent a significant yet consistent waste stream; primarily in the electronics industry and many other industries that integrate microchips into their products especially the automotive industry. By the end of 2017, the National Sword Policy which was implemented by China on plastic waste import from other countries and especially the United States catalyzed a huge crisis and forced manufacturers and companies to deal with their own plastic waste streams. This study presents two alternative approaches of reusing trays to the reduced conventional recycling practices which have caused used trays to remain in storage or be deposited in landfills. Approaches including a students’ design competition and a proof of concept case study for an autonomous shading device are presented. The shading device was designed, tested and validated. Trays were transformed from waste into 13 possible products showing that a circular economy and industrial symbiosis can be achieved by integrating multidisciplinary reuse approaches for by-product reuse and sustainable industry practices. Environmental and economic impacts were evaluated comparing reuse to recycling, combustion and landfilling. The results showed that reusing trays reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Ali, A., Layton, A., Kio, P., & Williams, J. (2021). Matrix Trays: From Waste to Opportunities Journal of Cleaner Production, 300. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.126813

Research paper accepted to the journal Resources, Conservation & Recycling

BiSSL PhD student Abheek Chatterjee and alumn Colton Brehm (MS) just had their full-length research paper accepted and published in the journal Resources, Conservation & Recycling! The paper, titled “A Quantitative Benefits Evaluation of Ecologically-Inspired Nested Architectures for Industrial Networks,” investigates the use of ecological nestedness – a structural characteristic of ecological food webs, to guide the design of eco-industrial parks and other resource networks to improve it’s ability to survive network disturbances AND to guide inter-actor connections based on resource cost and distance between actors.

You can find a high level summary of the paper written by Texas A&M Engineering’s Vanada Suresh here: “Following nature’s cue, researchers build successful, sustainable industrial networks”

Research shows that design guidelines based on the connection characteristics of food webs can create successful industry networks. | Image: Rachel Anthony Barton/Texas A&M Engineering

Abstract: “Industrial Symbiosis (IS), inspired by the highly effective resource utilization found in nature, advocates byproduct-exchange partnerships between industries to reduce raw material use, emissions, and waste generation while promoting economic growth. Ecological research on mutualistic ecosystems (such as plant-pollinator networks) has found a connection between high values of nestedness, a unique linkage distribution strategy, and effective resource utilization. The present work is the first to test the benefits of nested architectures for IS goals, a characteristic thus far overlooked in bio-inspired IS efforts. A generated large dataset of hypothetical-realistic Industrial Water Networks spanning the entire nestedness domain shows that highly nested designs significantly reduce resource consumption. Circumstances where these savings outweigh any additional infrastructure and operation costs are also shown, highlighting that low to moderate resource abundance and manageable geographical dispersion between participating industries (conditions that commonly generate interest in IS) are particularly favorable for nested architectures. Ecologically-similarly nested IS networks, especially those with highly connected high-throughput industries, are also found to have a reduction in negative impacts during pipeline disruptions. The results provide promising evidence that the principle of nestedness can be a powerful quantitative bio-inspired design guideline for IS, capable of simultaneously addressing environmental, economic, and resiliency concerns.”

Chatterjee, A., Brehm, C., & Layton, A. (2021). A Quantitative Benefits Evaluation of Ecologically-Inspired Nested Architectures for Industrial Networks. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, 167. doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105423

Collaborative Research paper accepted to the Journal of Mechanical Design

Abstract: “In this work, we show that bioinspired function-sharing can be effectively applied in engineering design by abstracting and emulating the product architecture of biological systems that exhibit function-sharing. Systems that leverage function-sharing enable multiple functions to be performed by a single structure. Billions of years of evolution has led to the development of function-sharing adaptations in biological systems. Currently, engineers leverage biological function-sharing by imitating serendipitously encountered biological structures. As a result, utilizing bioinspired function-sharing remains limited to some specific engineering problems. To overcome this limitation, we propose the Function-Behavior-Structure tree as a tool to simultaneously abstract both biological adaptations and the product architecture of biological systems. The tool uses information from an existing bioinspired design abstraction tool and an existing product architecture representation tool. A case study demonstrates the tool’s ability to abstract the product architectural characteristics of function-sharing biological systems. The abstracted product architectural characteristics are then shown to facilitate problem-driven bio-inspiration of function-sharing. The availability of a problem-driven approach may reduce the need to imitate biological structures to leverage biological function-sharing in engineering design. This work is a step forward in analyzing biological product architectures to inspire engineering design.”

Bhasin, D., McAdams, D., & Layton, A. (2021). A Product Architecture-Based Tool for Bioinspired Function-Sharing. Journal of Mechanical Design, 143, 0814011-0814010. doi:10.1115/1.4049151

Article in ASME’s Mechanical Engineering Magazine: “How the Food Web Can Keep the Electricity Flowing” by Jean Thilmany

“Whether intended or not, engineered, industrial systems often mirror those found in the natural world. Case in point: the relationship between today’s electrical power grid and the way food chains function.

Drawing on principles from bio-designed systems—in this case, the food web—will help scientists build more resilience into the electrical power grid, said Astrid Layton, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University. She collaborates with Katherine Davis, an A&M assistant professor of electrical engineering, on the project.

A more resilient power grid means reducing the damage from outages and shorten their duration, Layton said.”

Research paper accepted to the journal Reliability Engineering & System Safety

BiSSL PhD student Abheek Chatterjee just had his full-length research paper accepted in the Journal Reliability Engineering &System Safety! The paper, titled “Mimicking Nature for Resilient Resource and Infrastructure Network Design,” investigates the use of ecological robustness – a functional characteristic of ecological food webs, to guide the design of a supply chain case study to improve its ability to survive network disturbances.

Abstract: “Increasingly prevalent extreme weather events have caused resilience to become an essential sustainable development component for resource and infrastructure networks. Existing resilience metrics require detailed knowledge of the system and potential disruptions, which is not available in the early design stage. The lack of quantitative tools to guide the early stages of design for resilience, forces engineers to rely on heuristics (use physical redundancy, localized capacity, etc.). This research asserts that the required quantitative guidelines can be developed using the architecting principles of biological ecosystems, which maintain a unique balance between pathway redundancy and efficiency, enabling them to be both productive under normal circumstances and survive disruptions. Ecologists quantify this network characteristic using the ecological fitness function. This paper presents the required reformulation required to enable the use of this metric in the design and analysis of resource and infrastructure networks with multiple distinct, but interdependent, interactions. The proposed framework is validated by comparing the resilience characteristics of two notional supply chain designs: one designed for minimum shipping cost and the other designed using the proposed bio-inspired framework. The results support using the proposed bio-inspired framework to guide designers in creating resilient and sustainable resource and infrastructure networks.”

Chatterjee, A., & Layton, A. (2020). “Mimicking Nature for Resilient Resource and Infrastructure Network Design.” Reliability Engineering and System Safety. DOI: 10.1016/j.ress.2020.107142