New Jersey Institute of Technology Professor to Help Improve NYC's Critical Communications

NEWARK, Dec. 6--The National Science Foundation has awarded a $70,000 grant to a professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), who will assess and improve the way managers of New York City's infrastructures - electric power, transportation and emergency services - communicate with each other during emergencies.

David Mendonca, Ph.D., assistant professor of information systems at NJIT, along with two professors at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, W.A. Wallace and Joe Chow, will study how New York City's infrastructures are managed. They will also develop methods to help managers visualize connections between the city's transportation, emergency service and electrical power networks. The September 11 terrorist attacks, Mendonca says, illustrate the importance of managing these connections.

"It is imperative that we use knowledge gleaned from this horrific tragedy to help prepare for potential disasters of a similar nature around the world," Mendonca says. "We therefore want to understand how managers respond to extreme events like the World Trade Center attack, and then build software tools to assist them in managing critical infrastructure interdependencies."

Critical infrastructure interdependencies arise, Mendonca adds, when two or more critical infrastructures must act together to provide a service. For example, the New York City's subway system infrastructure, run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), needs more than just subway cars to run smoothly. It also needs electrical power infrastructure, which is managed by Con Edison Company of New York (Con Ed), along with telecommunications and other infrastructures. MTA managers must thus work closely with managers at ConEd and other organizations to deliver public transport services. Mendonca's research will help the city's key infrastructure managers do precisely that: communicate with each other quickly and efficiently.


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

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