Seminar: System-level assessment of spatially distributed infrastructure networks under interdependent spatial demand

Mason Building, Room 2117
Friday, April 14, 2017 - 11:00


Claudia Zelaschi
PhD Candidate, Institute for Advanced Study, IUSS, Pavia, Italy
Visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University

The assessment of the response of individual structures under extremes events is a traditional topic in earthquake engineering. However, recently the focus has also been extended to the assessment of infrastructure networks’ resilience, recognizing that urban societies significantly depend on the proper functionality of these systems. Response analysis is more challenging for infrastructure systems than for single, non-interacting components. Accounting for the interdependencies of the spatially distributed demand and capacity does significantly affect reliability and risk assessment. The spatial distribution of the ground motion intensity is one of the main sources of dependences among the components’ response. For some intensity measures, models that predict the correlation at different locations are available in literature. However, conditional to the assigned correlated demands, it is still to be determined if the response of the different components should be considered as dependent or independent. Additional dependence can derive from two sources: on the one hand, epistemic uncertainty can be common across many components, on the other, the seismic intensity may be just an incomplete summary of the whole seismic demand, not able to capture relevant features. Because of this, accounting only for the interdependence in the seismic intensity may result in underestimating the actual dependence in the response.

In this seminar, I will describe and discuss the loss of correlation between the nonlinear dynamic responses of bridges, depending on the seismic intensity used. The application of this research is to understand the response of spatially located reinforced concrete bridge structures that are experiencing ground motions recorded during the same event at different sites.


Claudia Zelaschi is a PhD candidate in the “Understanding and Managing Extremes” program at the Institute for Advanced Study (IUSS, Pavia, Italy). She is also a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She received two master degrees in Building Engineering and Architecture from the University of Pavia (Italy) in 2011 and in Earthquake Engineering from the IUSS in 2013. In 2013, Claudia also worked as a research assistant at the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering (EUCENTRE) foundation in Pavia Italy. There, she developed capacity and fragility curves for reinforced concrete bridges. In 2016 she went on to collaborate with AXA MATRIX Risk Consultants to characterize the evolution of the seismic code in several countries. During her PhD she has focused on the development of fragility curves for bridge populations and on the system-level seismic fragility assessment under interdependent spatial demand, under the supervision of Matteo Pozzi and Ricardo Monteiro. Claudia's current and future work is aimed at improving seismic risk assessment of spatially distributed infrastructure networks, and at guiding the emergency and recovery management in the immediate aftermath of an extreme event.