Publications / Conference

An agent-based microsimulation of critical infrastructure systems

Barton, Dianne C.; Stamber, Kevin L.

US infrastructures provide essential services that support the economic prosperity and quality of life. Today, the latest threat to these infrastructures is the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of the system. On balance, added connectivity will improve economic efficiency; however, increased coupling could also result in situations where a disturbance in an isolated infrastructure unexpectedly cascades across diverse infrastructures. An understanding of the behavior of complex systems can be critical to understanding and predicting infrastructure responses to unexpected perturbation. Sandia National Laboratories has developed an agent-based model of critical US infrastructures using time-dependent Monte Carlo methods and a genetic algorithm learning classifier system to control decision making. The model is currently under development and contains agents that represent the several areas within the interconnected infrastructures, including electric power and fuel supply. Previous work shows that agent-based simulations models have the potential to improve the accuracy of complex system forecasting and to provide new insights into the factors that are the primary drivers of emergent behaviors in interdependent systems. Simulation results can be examined both computationally and analytically, offering new ways of theorizing about the impact of perturbations to an infrastructure network.