On Sustainability as a Cyber-Physical-Social System
I was asked to deliver a seminar for Farrokh Mistree and Janet Allen’s Conversations series on September 17th, 2021. This talk goes over the necessity and goals of the XGEM project related to sustainability as a cyber-physical-social system. Per my modus operandi, I have made the slides (and code) available to the public here. This was my first time speaking to OU’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and I enjoyed the interaction. It was a great opportunity to meet new faces and learn new thoughts on the subject. Farrokh and Janet are the CPSS experts here, and my goal was to frame the XGEM goals of sustainability as a cyber-physical-social system. As the co-PI on the XGEM team with the best combination of project knowledge and communication skills, I was asked to present.
As society seeks solutions for greenhouse gas proliferation and environmental impacts, it is frequently stymied by the complexity of multiscale observations. Current sensing and mitigation schemes fail to incorporate the “human element”, treating emissions with the sterile terms of an economic perspective–barrels of oil, tons of emissions, and degrees warmer than the previous year. Taking methane, the second most prevalent greenhouse gas, as an example, this discussion will explore the limitations in current paradigms of gas inventory mechanisms from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective and explore collaborative solutions to overcome these limitations. Quantifying methane is fraught with technical challenges. Filling the gaps in our knowledge of gas impacts on humans using technology innovations may not be enough. As a society, we need to close the feedback loop of humankind’s difficult relationship with these addictive aliphatics by rethinking how we shape our world to co-exist with a problem that seems to have no definite solution. OU’s X-GEM Big Idea Challenge seeks to move the pieces of the puzzle into a cohesive Cyber-Physical-Social System so we, as a society, can move forward.