11th MIT-UAlbany System Dynamics Research Colloquium


Date: Friday, October 14, and Saturday, October 15, 2005
Location: Page Hall Lounge
Rockefeller College of Public Affairs andPolicy
University at Albany
135 Western Ave. Albany, NY 12222








Networking and Coffee



Welcome and Opening Remarks

Hyunjung Kim


The Federalism Challenge for Extreme Event Policy Design

Michael Deegan (UAlbany)


Small Unbaked Idea Session

Cristina Giosue (Cornell)


Dynamics of Capital Structure

Christopher Johnson and Onur Dulgeroglu (GE)


Networking over Lunch



Small Unbaked Idea Session

Sasha Lubyansky (UAlbany)


Mapping the impact pathways: how management research can be relevant?

Hazhir Rahmandad (MIT)


Small Unbaked Idea Session

In the Eye of the Storm--Hurricane Mitigation

Ryan Taylor, Ajish George, and Melissa Peterson (UAlbany)


Networking and Coffee



Hydrogen Transition Challenge: co- evolutionary dynamics between alternative fuel vehicle demand and fueling infrastructure

Jeroen Struben (MIT)


Discussion Session

The Goal and the Future of the Colloquium

David Andersen (UAlbany)


Closeing Remarks and Adjourn



Dinner at Andersen’s


SATURDAY        High Peaks Adventure in the Adirondacks


Presentation Abstracts



Michael Deegan

University at Albany


The Federalism Challenge for Extreme Event Policy Design


Natural hazards in vulnerable communities cost United States taxpayers billions of dollars each year. In fact, some research suggests the taxpayer burden of relief and recovery is nearly 500 million dollars a week. The flood hazard is one of the most costly and pervasive natural hazard in this country. Since the risks of these extreme events are not evenly distributed throughout the states nor are they predictable in any given year, the hazard presents difficult challenges in a highly decentralized federalism system.


Since the 1950s, the federal government has enacted several policies to deal with threats imposed by natural hazards. The early policies had a paternalistic tone, favoring federal relief after disaster and federal projects (e.g., levees, and seawalls) to mitigate and protect communities before an event. Later research showed that levees encourage development in these “protected” floodplains. The “levee effect” can create a sense of security in these communities, a sense that could be false in a flood of record. Over time, federal policies would encourage state and local governments to share the burden by developing plans in favor of mitigation at the community level (e.g., zoning and building code enforcement).


While the federal government would prefer that each community take an active role in hazard mitigation planning, the reality is much different. The level of commitment and capacity for mitigation planning varies from state to state and from community to community within each state. In part, one might argue that the current incentives do not encourage the “buy in” from local communities that the federal government desires. One might also argue that where state involvement is low, the local agenda for hazards is nonexistent, which may explain why local governments continue to focus on relief and recovery instead of mitigation. The conceptual model developed for this research identifies the federalism challenges in this problem. In the base run, the model simulates the “levee effect” for a community in potential hazard of an extreme event.


In this discussion, I would like to explore a few ways I may wish to build confidence in the structure and behavior of the model. For my dissertation, I will be able to interview a few hazards experts who are very familiar with the policy options, but not familiar with system dynamics. With your help, I would like to develop an effective strategy for interviewing these informants.



Cristina Giosue



The dynamics of milk production and qualitative characteristics of milk of the Cinisara cow, (a local Sicilian breed raised in a pasture-based production system) and possible intertemporal relationships with the characteristics of Caciocavallo palermitano cheese. (This is a Sicilian variety of cheese that is not qualified as PDO, but has been recently included under the protection of Slow Food Association.) This cheese is made according to traditional methods, and its qualitative characteristics are extremely variable. Often in summer, which is a tourist period marked by a high demand for local products, cheese production is not sufficient because the climatic conditions make the grazing resource and the resulting milk production extremely low. In fact, Cinisara cows are raised in marginal hilly areas of Sicily, where precipitation is generally low and irregular throughout the autumn-winter season. These climatic conditions are the main constrains to reproductive management (and thus, milk production). The objective of the research is to characterize the cheese in different seasons and examine biophysical and economic effects of modifying the seasonality of milk production and processing of cheese during the year. Studies under way are have identified linkages between between the nature of pasture and the chemical, physical and technological characteristics of the cheese.  A dynamic characterization is likely to be difficult when the system continuously changes!



Christopher Johnson and Onur Dulgeroglu

General Electric


Dynamics of Capital Structure



Hazhir Rahmandad



Mapping the impact pathways: how management research can be relevant?
What makes our research relevant? This question is important not only for those in the field of system dynamics, but also for management scholars in general. Traditionally, most System Dynamicists aimed at doing research with high real-world impact, on the other hand there is growing consensus among management scholars that the impact of management research is negligible. The calls for increasing the relevance of research are often directly translated into call for doing some kind of consulting projects. In this presentation I discuss some early thoughts for mapping the pathways for research to impact real-world practice, draw some parallels between natural and social sciences, and argue for importance of introduction of design mindset in the social science research. Finally I discuss implications for what can make the social-science research, particularly management research, more relevant to the real world.



Ryan Taylor, Ajish George, and Melissa Peterson

University at Albany


In the Eye of the Storm--Hurricane Mitigation




Jeroen Struben


Hydrogen Transition Challenge: co- evolutionary dynamics between alternative fuel vehicle demand and fueling infrastructure

This paper explores the co-evolutionary interdependence between hydrogen vehicle demand and the requisite hydrogen refueling station coverage. The analysis is based on a dynamic, spatially-explicit behavioral model capturing consumer and industry decision-making processes. Understanding the dynamic inter-dependence of vehicles and refueling stations is vital to developing effective transition strategies that will support the emergence of a self-sustaining hydrogen-based transportation system.  To date, attempts to achieve widespread adoption of alternative-fuel vehicles have been largely ineffective, underscoring the difficulty of such transitions and the importance of a thorough understanding of these co-evolutionary processes. 

Dynamics resulting from local supply-demand interactions with strategic location of refueling stations are explored in depth. Scenarios played mapped on California give insight in the challenges for adoption. Growth of vehicle demand and refueling station coverage is analyzed under various heterogeneous socio-economic and demographic conditions. The formation of adoption clusters is revealed as an important mechanism for market formation. While locally speeding adoption, this same micro-mechanism can obstruct the emergence of a large self-sustaining market. TFurther, sensitivity analyses of the growth of vehicle demand and refueling station coverage to different model parameters and assumptions are performed.

The model can be used to develop and compare targeted strategies for hydrogen refueling station coverage and hydrogen vehicle introduction. Such strategies include, but are not limited to, both technology and policy alternatives.  Further, the transition to a hydrogen-based transportation system is subject to myriad of other ‘chicken-and-egg’ mechanisms that interact in a highly integrated and non-linear fashion (e.g., consumer awareness and acceptance of hydrogen technology, vehicle performance and cost, etc.). Extensions to consider these and other factors that contribute to the dynamic complexity of market formation are discussed.