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Mark Borsuk: Clear Decision-Making in an Increasingly Murky World

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mark Borsuk, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, talks about how our society is being confronted by unexpected challenges with increasing frequency and intensity, whether in the form of natural disasters, cyber-attacks, financial shocks, or public health crises. While risk assessment has a rich history in engineering, conventional methods generally assume that risks are well-characterized and governed by chance. These assumptions do not hold for most contemporary risks, in which situations are without precedent and conditions are continually changing. In this talk, he describes decision theory and its role in addressing problems involving risk and uncertainty, then walks through a climate change example to exemplify: the well-established strengths of the approach, recent advancements that enhance its utility to modern risks, and the remaining limitations that require further research and development.

About Mark Borsuk

Mark Borsuk became an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering on Sept. 1, 2016. His research concerns the development and application of mathematical models for integrating scientific information on natural, technical and social systems. He returned to Duke, where he earned a doctorate in 2001, after four years at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG) and 11 years at Dartmouth College.