Model Of Critical Infrastructures Reveals Vulnerabilities
An interdisciplinary team of Kansas State University researchers developed a computer simulation that revealed beef supply chain vulnerabilities that need safeguarding — a realistic concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Caterina Scoglio, professor, and Qihui Yang, doctoral student, both in electrical and computer engineering, recently published “Developing an agent-based model to simulate the beef cattle production and transportation in southwest Kansas” in Physica A, an Elsevier journal publication.
The paper describes a model of the beef production system and the transportation industry, which are interdependent critical infrastructures — similar to the electrical grid and computer technology. According to the model, disruptions in the cattle industry — especially in the beef packing plants — will affect the transportation industry and together cause great economic harm. The disruptions modeled in the simulation share similarities with how the packing plants have been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we first started working on this project, there was a lot of emphasis on studying critical infrastructures; especially ones that are interdependent, meaning that they need to work together with other critical infrastructures,” Scoglio said. “The idea is if there is a failure in one of the systems, it can propagate to the other system, increasing the catastrophic effects.”
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