When: April 21 at 2:30pm
Speaker: Dr Melanie Roberts (see Biography below)
Title: Enhancing bushfire readiness: an approach using mathematical modelling and optimisation
In 2015 natural disasters cost Australia an estimated $9 billion, and with population growth and the expected impacts of climate change, it is anticipated that this figure will continue to rise. At the individual and community level little action can be taken to reduce the likelihood of natural disasters occurring, however the impact of events can be significantly reduced through pro-active risk management. Current efforts in risk mitigation focus on generic actions - recommendations and actions at the community level without full consideration for the variation of risk within a community. Such an approach can result in the under-utilisation of resources and even apathy. To improve engagement with risk mitigation, our work takes a personalised approach to understanding and responding to risk. By modelling risk and response on the local scale, communicated using advanced technologies in mobile and cloud computing, we demonstrate how individuals and agencies can better respond to the reality of bushfire risk in the peri-urban environments.
In this talk we introduce a model for bushfire risk at the property level and show how it can be used to both assist people in understanding and responding to their personalised risk, and to inform the pre-positioning of fire appliances in high risk communities.
Melanie is a research scientist with the Physical Analytics team at IBM Research - Australia, focussing on weather impacted operations. In particular, Melanie works on integrating modelling with a weather forced component applicable to emergency management, agriculture and insurance industries. Her current work is focussed on developing models to understand household-based risk from bushfires in the peri-urban environment, and of developing models of impact of hail on crops.
Melanie's background is in applied mathematics, having received a PhD from the University of Western Australia in the area of asymptotics and fluid dynamics. In addition, Melanie has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the areas of mathematics, education and science communication. In 2013 Melanie served on the Smarter Cities Challenge team "Enhancing Multi-agency Interoperability and Community Awareness: Smarter Disaster Management Systems for the 21st Century" to the City of Gold Coast.
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