Abstract: Watershed managers and planners have long sought decision-making tools for forecasting changes in stream-channels over large spatial and temporal scales. In this research, we apply non-parametric, clustering and classification artificial neural networks to assimilate large amounts of disparate data types for use in fluvial hazard management decision-making. Two types of artificial neural networks (a counterpropagation algorithm and a Kohonen self-organizing map) are used in hierarchy to predict reach-scale stream geomorphic condition, inherent vulnerability and sensitivity to adjustments using expert knowledge in combination with a variety of geomorphic assessment field data. Seven hundred and eighty-nine Vermont stream reaches (+7500 km) have been assessed by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ geomorphic assessment protocols, and are used in the development of this work. More than 85% of the reach-scale stream geomorphic condition and inherent vulnerability predictions match expert evaluations. The method’s usefulness as a QA/QC tool is discussed. The Kohonen self-organizing map clusters the 789 reaches into groupings of stream sensitivity (or instability). By adjusting the weight of input variables, experts can fine-tune the classification system to better understand and document similarities/differences among expert opinions. The use of artificial neural networks allows for an adaptive watershed management approach, does not require the development of site-specific, physics-based, stream models (i.e., is data-driven), and provides a standardized approach for classifying river network sensitivity in various contexts.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).