Contact Information

General Enquiry

Fax: +(852)-3442-0688
Address: G5703, 5/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building (YEUNG),
City University of Hong Kong,
Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
Using Machine Learning to Study Infrastructure Interdependencies and Urban Engineering Systems
Speaker Name
Dr. Sybil Derrible
Speaker Detail

Director, Complex and Sustainable Urban Networks (CSUN) Laboratory
Associate Professor, Civil and Materials Engineering
Research Associate Professor, Institute for Environmental Science and Policy
Associate Professor (Courtesy), Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

B5-308, 5/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Urban engineering is the discipline that studies and designs urban infrastructure as integrated and co-dependent systems. It is by nature inter-disciplinary, including elements of urban planning, urban metabolism, computer science, and civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. Urban infrastructure systems include buildings, transport, water, wastewater, electricity, gas, solid waste, and telecom infrastructure systems. Thanks to the availability of new data sources and significant development in data science, the discipline has advanced significantly in the past decade. In this seminar, I will talk about urban engineering, describing how urban infrastructure systems are interdependent and I will offer a rationale for planning and designing them together as opposed to independently. I will then briefly introduce the world of Machine Learning (ML) and show recent results where we used XGBoost (an advanced gradient boosting technique) and SHAP (SHapley Additive exPlanation) to study interrelationships between electricity, gas, and water consumption in large scale buildings in New York City. Finally, I will finally offer a four-step urban infrastructure design process that can be applied to any infrastructure project and that focuses on infrastructure integration and decentralization. Overall, there is a real need to study urban infrastructure together, and urban engineering offers a means to do so, with the ultimate goal to design cities that are smart, more sustainable, and more resilient.

About the Speaker

Sybil Derrible is an Associate Professor in Civil and Materials Engineering and Computer Science, a Research Associate Professor at the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy, and the Director of the Complex and Sustainable Urban Networks (CSUN) Laboratory ( at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research is at the nexus of urban metabolism, infrastructure planning and design, complexity science, and data science to redefine how cities are planned, designed, and operated for smart, sustainable, and resilient urban systems. Professor Derrible received a US National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his work and he serves as an Associate Editor for the ASCE Journal of Infrastructure Systems. He is also the Chair of the Sustainable Urban Systems (SUS) Section of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE) and the Vice-Chair of the Critical Transportation Infrastructure Protection committee of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). In fall 2019, he is a Visiting Professor at the University of Transport Technology in Hanoi (Vietnam).