Technological Risk
in Real-time

HITERM: Project Description

Within the framework of HPCN Information Management and Decision Support, HITERM aims at expanding the application of HPCN to decision support in new domains: the central focus is the interface between technological risk management and the environment .

Using distributed parallel computing, the project aims at reaching better-than real time performance for the simulation of accidental release of hazardous substances into the atmosphere, ground and surface water, using state-of-the-art 3D simulation models.

This information will be used, in the framework of on-line decision support and advisory systems for:

  • the adaptive routing of hazardous transports, integrating environmental risk criteria with other road information;

  • the support of emergency management tasks (and related staff training) for transportation accidents involving hazardous substances and for hazardous installations, as foreseen by the amended Post-Seveso Directive (82/501/EEC, 87/216/EEC, COM(94) 4).

In addition to connecting the HPC simulations to various on-line data sources (primarily environmental and hydro-meteorological monitoring), the project will explore two additional important aspects of HPCN based decision support applications, namely,

  • the on-line integration of uncertainty and error analysis, based on Monte-Carlo methods again realized by parallel simulation;

  • methods for on-line interactive data interpretation and visualization for dynamic, spatially distributed, and probabilistic model results for effective user interface design, supporting direct understanding.

The main Project Objectives of HITERM are to design and develop:

  • HPCN methods and tools for time critical environmental applications, that are related to technological risk and emergency management;

  • a prototype system, based on client/server distributed parallel computing, for

    • the on-line adaptive routing and safety analysis of hazardous transports including dynamically updated environmental risk criteria;

    • the simulation of accidents (release scenarios of hazardous substances) for the support of emergency control measures and staff training for emergency management, both for transportation accidents and Seveso-class chemical process and storage plants,

including concurrent sensitivity and uncertainty analysis by Monte Carlo methods as an integrated part of the forecasting and decision support scheme;

  • tools for the real-time visualization of these dynamic and spatially distributed stochastic model results (concurrent ensembles of solutions), to provide

  • efficient interactive decision support tools for these applications, using a discrete multi-criteria optimization system, rule based expert systems, or neural nets where appropriate;

HITERM will implement and test these tools and methods in concrete case study applications related to the road transportation of hazardous goods, and to the chemical process industry, including the storage of hazardous chemicals.

HITERM is developing a new generation of interactive, model-based decision support systems. It will explore the integration, in a distributed client/server HPCN architecture with local, distributed, and mobile multi-media clients, of:

  1. Real-time data acquisition systems (eg., transport telematics systems, satellite imagery, weather radar, stationary and possibly mobile observation stations including hand-held data acquisition systems and video input);

  2. With (distributed parallel) high-performance computing resources for (better than) real-time modeling and forecasting of transport and dispersion models, plus discrete multi-criteria optimization, rule-based expert systems and neural nets, as remote advisory and decision support systems;

  3. And multi-media clients, including local and networked X Windows servers, and http clients including distributed, mobile clients (including hand-held computers),

to provide real-time information and decision support for complex and demanding technological and environmental risk management applications with considerable economic implications -- industrial and transportation accidents addressed by the system can cause extremely large economic damage: even a small reduction due to better emergency planning and management would make a system like HITERM highly profitable.

HITERM will link networks of information resources and analytical capabilities with a range of clients, including mobile field personnel. As an initial form of use the exploitation of the system for staff training exercises can be foreseen.

The decision support paradigm underlying HITERM is based on interactive, multi-criteria selection from large sets of (HPCN generated) alternatives, supported by (HPCN generated) dynamic visualization and multi-media representation.

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