Joseph Kasprzyk

Prof. Joseph Kasprzyk is an assistant professor in the Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) department, affiliated with Hydrology, Water Resources and Environmental Fluid Mechanics groups as well as with CEAE’s Civil Systems program.  Visit his research group page here, and check out a collaborative research blog that he has worked on, with tips and tricks for computer programming and simulation within water and civil engineering research.

Kasprzyk’s research seeks to advance decision making for systems with multiple, conflicting goals, especially given deep uncertainty about future conditions.  The work uses Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithms (MOEAs, a simulation-optimization technique, see a recent review here), simulation modeling, high performance computing, model diagnostics, and multi-variate visualization.  His research group is working on a set of diverse problems that span many of the disciplines offered in CEAE.

The list of research projects below covers current projects in the research group.  If selected, a GAANN fellow who is working with Prof. Kasprzyk will be able to work with him to craft a project that could be similar to one of the projects below, or in a different area altogether. Please e-mail us if you’d like more information.

Research Projects

1. Improving the usability of MOEAs for multi-objective decision support, to aid water supply management in the Front Range of Colorado.  This work is funded by NOAA’s Sectoral Applications Research Program,  with researchers from Western Water Assessment. See a synopsis of the project here.   Broadly, the project is trying to determine how to best balance multiple objectives for water supply in the Front Range of Colorado.  We held a workshop to generate ideas for a ‘testbed’ project that will try to investigate important water supply issues in Colorado.  We are currently working on building the water infrastructure network model.  After the workshop, we will run some simulation-optimization experiments, and wrap up with a final workshop about a year later.  This is an interesting combination of social science and outreach work with experts, combined with decision analysis and water resources engineering.

2. The influence of climate change and extreme events on water quality and drinking water treatment – I recently led a large proposal to NSF in a program called Coupled Natural Human systems.  The idea is that we want to link projections of climate change and extreme events (wildfires, droughts, floods) with disturbances to water quality, and then study how water treatment plant operators will react to those disturbances.  Disturbances like this relate to engineering resilience — they require investments in cost (such as improving unit operations), but passing on those costs to customers could be problematic based on the fact that customers have varying perceptions of risk.  The project will cluminate in a MOEA decision support system that can help suggest adaptation strategies such as watershed management in the source watersheds, improved treatment processes, etc.  The project couples folks from environmental engineering at CU, with professors in the water group, as well as social scientists and researchers from other institutions.   A similar project was recently funded through EPA, see the press release here.  Engineering aspects of the collaboration are with GAANN team member Prof. R Scott Summers, and CEAE Professors Ben Livneh, Rajagopalan Balaji, Fernando Rosario-Ortiz, and others.  We also collaborate with environmental economist, Dr. Katie Dickinson and others.

3. Hydrologic modeling and model diagnostics.  I collaborate with Prof. Ben Livneh and Prof. Rajagopalan Balaji on various projects related to hydrologic modeling and model diagnostics.  These projects relate to resilience because they support better estimates of flooding and damages associated with flooding.  Although we have not started a formal collaboration to date, I have had discussions with Profs. Shideh Dashti, Abbie Liel, and Amy Javernick-Will related to their flooding work, and we could potentially continue this work with a GAANN fellow.

4. Collaborations that use systems analysis for other infrastructure-related projects. We have begun preliminary work with Prof. Abbie Liel on performance of buildings under seismic hazards, as well as Prof. Wil Srubar related to designing sustainable engineering materials to be more resilient.  Both projects utilize MOEAs, simulation modeling, and interactive visualizations to improve engineering design methodologies.

5. Improving MOEA theory and methodologies.  Another line of research in my group has to do with problem formulations for MOEAs, and diagnosing their performance and failure modes.  This work teaches us about benefits and limitations of the MOEA approach, and helps the applied projects (1-4 above).  Please refer to the list of papers on ResearchGate for more info on these projects, especially a diagnostic assessment of MOEAs for the 25th anniversary of the journal Advances in Water Resources.