On February 5th, Paul Torrens, Associate Professor of Geography and Director of UMD's Center for Geospatial Information Science, was profiled on the National Science Foundation (NSF) website. Torrens is also the Director of the Department Geosimulation Reserach Lab, where he works with students to develop "next-gen" technologies and applications.
Dr. Torrens studies how weather conditions, such as snow and ice, affect infrastructure systems; specifically, transportation. Weather may not be "catastrphic," but still manages to boast serious economic costs (think Maryland and Georgia) as people often adjust their schedules, transportation routine, etc., which, in turn, affects employer policies and school schedules, for example. Torrens' goal is to "understand and predict how an everyday disruption like snowfall can change people's routines and in turn impact interrelated infrastructure. His model designs focus on the links between human behavior and transportation systems, geography, communications and weather as interdependent systems with complex interactions. Understanding the links between these variables will allow researchers to investigate risks and resiliency in different scenarios."
To read the NSF article and view the profile they developed on Torrens, please click here.