Information and communication systems address the absolute need for effective use of information and communication technologies in monitoring and acquiring data, computer-based modelling, and decision support and knowledge-based systems.
At UNESCO-IHE, the field concerns the development and appropriate use of these systems as a facilitating discipline to bring about the integration between more established disciplines of the water environment such as hydraulic engineering, hydrology and environmental sciences together with such human sciences as sociology, economics and politics.
This area of research aims to provide the necessary tools that give a better understanding and management of water and environment. The applications of these tools are crucial for the effective and sustainable utilisation of resources to meet the challenges of the global water agenda.
The effectiveness and efficiency of the research are evaluated through application to specific areas including: urban flood management; flood forecasting; coastal morphology; ocean surge forecasting; integrated urban water systems modelling and management; eco-hydraulics and environmental modelling; catchment modelling (water quantity and quality) dam break and embankment failure modelling; anticipatory water management
- Exploring major modelling paradigms
- Development of systems engineering and optimization frameworks
- Collaborative decision making and Internet-based computing and learning
Chair Groups involved:
- Knowledge and Capacity Development
- Hydrology and Water Resources
We are currently exploring 3 major modelling paradigms, namely: physically based modelling; data driven modelling; and agent based modelling. The objectives are to develop new algorithms and to refine existing algorithms for each paradigm.
New techniques are being developed to integrate different paradigms in what is termed hybrid modelling. Special attention is given to the procedural application of the different modelling paradigms to produce safe and reliable instantiated models.
This involves the analysis and the treatment of uncertainty in modelling (including the development of new methods); and risk assessment through modelling of the consequences of natural hazards.
Systems engineering is the most general framework for building water-related systems. Optimisation is a major element in a systems approach to water resources and water systems management, and to decision making in general.
Currently we are developing and testing new methods of optimisation (in particular, perfecting a new method based on an evolutionary approach with non-standard recombination mechanisms).
In addition we are developing systems engineering frameworks based on a multi-criteria robust approach to the optimisation of water systems. Research is also being undertaken in the area of real time control and anticipatory water management.
This research line explores the extension of existing hydroinformatics tools and systems, predominantly used by water professionals and engineers, into tools and systems that can be used by a broad range of stakeholders.
Platforms for the development of these new kinds of systems are electronic networks such as the Internet, the World Wide Web, and the extensive mobile telephone networks.
Various technologies enabling Internet-based and server-based computing for the purpose of hydroinformatics (modelling, collaborative working and learning) are being tested.
The objectives include ensuring appropriate integration of different kinds of models that will provide relevant information. In addition feasibility, reliability and efficiency of such kind of systems are topics of research.