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Power Systems and Telecommunication Networks Capable of Overcoming Disaster-based Disruptions

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Electric energy will replace gasoline and gas to attain our targeted CO2 emissions in the coming years, demanding an increase in transmission capability. Similarly, traffic on telecommunications networks grows with the rise in online services. As more activities depend on electricity supply and the availability of telecommunications networks, we need to extend these networks with higher standards. In particular, we need to improve the reliability standards. On the other hand, large-scale natural disasters compromise these systems' functioning by simultaneously affecting several components. In these cases, the consequences are more significant than those produced by typical failures:

- More people with service disruption.

- Longer repair times.

- Unharmed components may be inoperative due to failures in other systems.

Therefore, we must construct a prepared infrastructure for these high-impact, low-probability events.

Latin America is not exempted from this concern; on average, losses due to natural disasters reach 0.2% of GDP in countries such as Colombia and Mexico, and in the case of Chile, they exceed 1% of GDP. As a region, we must consider these challenges when investing in extending our infrastructure. Our research shows that the additional cost of constructing more reliable networks is equivalent to the costs we incur due to service interruption, indicating that the new standards are achievable if the disruption costs are considered.

About the Speaker:

Javiera Barrera is an expert in applied probability. Her research interests combine stochastic processes, stochastic optimization, and reliable network design. She has contributed to the reliability network literature, developing new methods to design and evaluate reliable networks incorporating geographical dependencies in failures. At the same time, she is interested in studying Markov models' abstract properties with reliability applications. Her research has been published in prestigious journals such as Mathematical Programming, Annals of Operations Research,  IEEE Transactions on Reliability, and Annals of Applied Probability. 

Ph.D. Barrera holds a double Ph.D. from Université Paris-Descartes and Universidad de Chile. She has participated in research projects such as  RAREDEP where researchers from Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, and France study the simulation of dependent failures using rare event techniques. She has also participated as a researcher in collaborative projects such as the Operations Research In Energy & Climate Change and Stochastic Models of Disordered and Complex Systems. She is permanently collaborating with female researchers in Chile and Latin America to communicate women's role in math and STEM research. 

She is currently an Associate Professor at Universidad Adolfo Ibañez in Chile. There she teaches Stochastic Models courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students. She has supervised more than 20 undergraduate students, seven postgraduate theses, and one postdoc.

Javiera Barrera will be teaching MS&E 224: Resilience and Reliable Network Design in the Winter 2024 Quarter.

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