Kansas State University

Model of critical infrastructures reveals vulnerabilities

15-May-2020 1:05 PM EDT, by Kansas State University

Newswise — MANHATTAN, KANSAS -- 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."

The study included a variety of viewpoints to create a realistic and integrated model of both systems. Co-authors on the paper include Don Gruenbacher, associate professor and department head of electrical and computer engineering; Jessica Heier Stamm, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering; Gary Brase, professor of psychological sciences; Scott DeLoach, professor and department head of computer science; and David Amrine, research director of the Beef Cattle Institute.

The researchers used the model to evaluate which supply chain components were more robust and which were not. They determined that packing plants are the most vulnerable. Scoglio said that recent events in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic raise important issues about how to safeguard the system.

"An important message is that after understanding the critical role of these packers, we need to decide how we could protect both them and the people who work there," Scoglio said. "While the plants are a critical infrastructure and need to be protected, taking care of the health of the workers is very important. How can we design a production process that can be flexible and adaptable in an epidemic?"

According to the paper, the beef cattle industry contributes approximately $8.9 billion to the Kansas economy and employs more than 42,000 people in the state. Since trucks are needed to move cattle, any disruption in either cattle production or transportation almost certainly would harm the regional economy, Scoglio said.

"Packers need to be considered as a critical point of a much longer supply chain, which needs specific attention to make sure it will not fail and can continue working," Scoglio said. "Beef packers are a critical infrastructure in the United States."

The project was supported by the National Science Foundation and focused on southwest Kansas, but the researchers acknowledge that cattle come from outside the region and interruptions may have larger national effects.

###

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2454
Released: 3-Jul-2020 10:25 AM EDT
Lack of lockdown increased COVID-19 deaths in Sweden
University of Virginia Health System

Sweden’s controversial decision not to lock down during COVID-19 produced more deaths and greater healthcare demand than seen in countries with earlier, more stringent interventions, a new analysis finds.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 3:10 PM EDT
Researchers outline adapted health communications principles for the COVID-19 pandemic
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced unique challenges for public health practitioners and health communicators that warrant an expansion of existing health communication principles to take into consideration.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 1:40 PM EDT
Collectivism drives efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19
University of Kent

Research from the University of Kent has found that people who adopt a collectivist mindset are more likely to comply with social distancing and hygiene practices to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 12:30 PM EDT
Tiny mineral particles are better vehicles for promising gene therapy
University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers have developed a safer and more efficient way to deliver a promising new method for treating cancer and liver disorders and for vaccination — including a COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna Therapeutics that has advanced to clinical trials with humans.

Newswise: Newer variant of COVID-19–causing virus dominates global infections
Released: 2-Jul-2020 12:10 PM EDT
Newer variant of COVID-19–causing virus dominates global infections
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Research out today in the journal Cell shows that a specific change in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus virus genome, previously associated with increased viral transmission and the spread of COVID-19, is more infectious in cell culture.

Newswise: From Wuhan to San Diego—How a mutation on the novel coronavirus has come to dominate the globe
Released: 2-Jul-2020 12:05 PM EDT
From Wuhan to San Diego—How a mutation on the novel coronavirus has come to dominate the globe
La Jolla Institute for Immunology

Two variants of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), called G614 and D614, were circulating in mid-March. A new study shows that the G version of the virus has come to dominate cases around the world. They report that this mutation does not make the virus more deadly, but it does help the virus copy itself, resulting in a higher viral load, or "titer," in patients.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 11:50 AM EDT
New Study Explains Potential Causes for “Happy Hypoxia” Condition in COVID-19 Patients
Loyola Medicine

A new research study provides possible explanations for COVID-19 patients who present with extremely low, otherwise life-threatening levels of oxygen, but no signs of dyspnea (difficulty breathing). This new understanding of the condition, known as silent hypoxemia or “happy hypoxia,” could prevent unnecessary intubation and ventilation in patients during the current and expected second wave of coronavirus.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 10:15 AM EDT
Stemming the Spread of Misinformation on Social Media
Association for Psychological Science

New research reported in the journal Psychological Science finds that priming people to think about accuracy could make them more discerning in what they subsequently share on social media.

29-Jun-2020 9:00 AM EDT
Coronavirus damages the endocrine system
Endocrine Society

People with endocrine disorders may see their condition worsen as a result of COVID-19, according to a new review published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.


Showing results

110 of 2454

close
3.42067