Designing Influence in Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems or CASoS Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering Seminar

Dr. Robert J. Glass

Senior Scientist

Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems Engineering Initiative

Sandia National Laboratories


Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems, or CASoS, are ubiquitous: they include people, organizations, cities, infrastructure, government, ecosystems, the planet – in short, nearly everything that includes biological and human systems. CASoS Engineering entails designing ways of influencing CASoS, or in context of many socio-technical systems, the design of institutions, technology, infrastructure and policy. Foundational to the design process is the use of models that conceptualize the system of interest and render it in a mathematical form that allows computational simulation to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of alternatives. In this informal talk, I will introduce critical structural and behavioral features of CASoS, a conceptual lens for modeling them, and show several example applications of CASoS Engineering (some complete, some ongoing) pulled from those found on ranging from the design of community mitigation of pandemic influenza, to the control of large value payment systems (how all our money moves across the globe), to the design of security measures that increase (not decrease!) trans spectrum global prosperity.




Dr. Robert J Glass leads the Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems (CASoS) Engineering Initiative at Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Glass has degrees from Haverford College (BS, Ecology) and Cornell University (MS and PhD, Agricultural and Biological Engineering). He worked for many years in the general field of Subsurface Science where his discoveries of phenomena and creation of new modeling approaches influenced problems ranging from water and contaminant transport in fractured rock (e.g., Yucca Mountain, Nevada) to the remediation of aquifers contaminated with Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPL such as TCE and PCE). Joining the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC, joint between Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories) in 2004, Dr Glass created a research team that has grown to become the CASoS Engineering Initiative focusing on the analysis and control of CASoS as embodied by many critical infrastructures and socio-economic-technical systems. [Dr Glass’s webpage:]