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Computing Research

Operations Research and Industrial Engineering

PNNL’s research provides critical operational modeling and risk analysis in a diverse set of areas that impact national security. Operational problems and processes are examined from a real-world point of view. Such research enables decision-makers to determine the benefits and impacts of proposed changes to operations and the resources required to manage operational considerations. We also employ risk analysis methods to quantify and assess risk from various threats, such as vehicle-borne improvised explosives devices; chemical or biological attacks; and insider threats to venues, including transportation systems, critical infrastructure, and large-scale public events. Once quantified, core methodologies can recommend the “best” mitigation measures to counter such threats.

Key Capabilities

  • Simulation (Monte Carlo, Agent-based, Discrete-Event)
  • Optimization and Mathematical Programming
  • Risk and Decision Analysis
  • Critical Infrastructure Resilience
  • Life Cycle Cost and Supply Chain Modeling
  • Stochastic, Queueing, and Predictive Analysis
  • Concepts of Operations (CONOPS) Evaluation
  • Operational Model Verification and Validation

Significant Projects

Airport Risk Assessment Model

The Airport Risk Assessment Model (ARAM) is being developed to quantify risk and optimize the allocation of resources at airports. The methodology also is applicable to various venues, including mass transit, critical infrastructure protection, and large-scale or high-profile events. The method starts by decomposing the core components of risk—consequence, vulnerability, and threat—into their various subcomponents, which can be evaluated against the venue and potential threat(s) of interest. A key aspect is the ability to uniquely allow the risk to be quantified as a function of time throughout the day, week, month, or year (as appropriate). The next step is to assess the effectiveness of the different security resources that can be used to counter the threat. With this approach, a mathematical program is formulated and solved to yield the most optimal allocation of the constrained resources that best minimizes the overall risk to the airport.

Project Video

Physical and Cyber Risk Analysis Tool

The Physical and Cyber Risk Analysis Tool (PACRAT) is the only tool that performs risk and vulnerability assessments by combining cyber and physical systems. For the first time, asset owners can identify and account for vulnerabilities and risks associated with the ever-expanding attack surfaces of highly connected systems. PACRAT provides the ability to identify and quantify protection systems in a holistic manner and to thoroughly comprehend the subsystem and component-level interactions and interdependencies that could be exploited by an adversary. This enables a complete understanding of the security systems in place at a facility or within critical infrastructures, as well as their ability to adequately protect those assets.

Equipment Cost Estimator

The Equipment Cost Estimator (ECE) software tool is a life cycle cost model to forecast the failure, maintenance, and replacement of equipment deployed as part of that National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence program. The model has been implemented as a standalone software application that enables users to change model parameters and develop a highly customized budget forecast that fits their needs. ECE has been distributed to users in partner countries around the world to support accurate budget estimation and management of preventive and corrective maintenance costs. Designed to be a user-friendly decision support tool, the ECE also enables partner countries to investigate cost reduction strategies to optimize their maintenance approaches.

Computing Research

Research Areas