As we moved towards the end of the second decade of the C21st it is clear we are in the era of the Anthropocene –even if geologists are still undecided when – or even if – there is such a thing. Irrespective of the geologists we are certainly in a different era from even 50 years ago, and this necessitates a different way of thinking and viewing our environments, from the wild to the urban…
My OED defines nature as the “physical power causing the phenomena of the material world, these phenomena as a whole”; and also as a “thing’s essential qualities”. So this blog is about how we go about understanding the essential qualities of the material world. This might seem like a pretty arcane subject for a series of blogs about “thinking systems” but, as it turns out, the question goes to the heart of our relationship with the natural world. If we are getting it wrong, this has fundamental consequences. Of course, I am going to argue that in some important respects we are getting it wrong!
Infrastructure is so ubiquitous and reliable that most people do not realize that it is even there. But when we do get a failure in one of our infrastructure systems, well then we really do notice. Think about the last time there was a power cut, or you were caught in a traffic jam – or worse, you could not access social media. It is amazing how upset most people get when they don’t have access to the services that our infrastructure usually provides – even for a short time.
We often talk about infrastructure – these days increasingly about smart infrastructure – but how often do we pause and think about what ‘infrastructure’ is for – or what ‘smart’ is? We think about roads and railways, energy, communications and water infrastructure as serving some purpose, such as moving traffic from A to B, or supplying sufficient energy to keep the lights on, but there is a more fundamental question: why do we need to do these things? Given the amount of money (that should be) invested in infrastructure, perhaps we should be asking such a fundamental question before we start proposing what should be built. Continue reading
Closed loop supply chain management (CLSCM) is a relatively new field in the area of supply chain management and logistics which involves all the reverse logistics activities in addition to the forward logistics, like product acquisition, remanufacturing, redistribution, disposal etc. Continue reading
The forecasting of the population’s health needs is a big challenge in the current society, since the proportion of elderlies within the population is continually increasing. To allow each older person to live in a good health, health services need to be adapted. The project Virtual Belgium in Health (VBIH) aims to develop a platform based on a spatial micro-simulation that will approximate the health needs of elderlies in Belgium for 2030. Continue reading
By Robert Ogie
Hydrological infrastructure such as pumps, floodgates (or sluice gates), dams, embankments, and other flood barriers are invaluable assets used in coastal cities for mitigating flooding. These infrastructure components are often vulnerable to damage or failure due to the impact of floodwaters, thus exacerbating the flood hazards and causing significant loss of life and destruction to property worth billions of dollars. Continue reading
By Dr Jack Yang
In the past decade, with the exponential data accumulation, the challenges associated with the big four “V” problems – data volume (number of records), variety (different data formats), velocity (streaming data), and veracity (data uncertainty) – continue to multiply. Continue reading