Spring 2024 – CREATE News and Updates

Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Threats and Emergencies

Spring 2024

News and Updates

As we commemorate CREATE’s 20th anniversary, I am humbled by the accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff, and the support we have received from the Department of Homeland Security, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Price School of Public Policy. Nearly 100 people attended CREATE’s 20th Anniversary Symposium in April, in person and online. I thank the Viterbi School for publicizing our anniversary in a recent story.

It was a pleasure to reunite with three former directors — Detlof Von Winterfeldt, Adam Rose and Steve Hora — and to host Wallicia Tapscott (DHS S&T Executive Director of Innovation and Collaboration) along with her team, as well as hear presentations from the original director of the Office of University Programs (Mel Bernstein) and former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Steve Hora, Randolph Hall, Detlof von Winterfeldt and Adam Rose with Wallicia Tapscott Jim McDonnell, Terrence O’Sullivan, Jun Zhuang and Robin Dillon-Merrill

We are delighted to join the latest DHS university center of excellence, ADAC-ARTIC, based at the University of Alaska at Anchorage, offering support in technology transition and contributing to the research plan. We have also welcomed three new Research Fellows, received new grants and published research on climate change, terrorism, Covid-19, cybersecurity, supply chain resilience, equity and innovation. Last congratulations to graduating students and for the honors they and our faculty have received.

Have a terrific summer.

Randy Hall
Director, CREATE

New Fellows

USC Viterbi faculty Bistra Dilkina, Burcin Becerik-Gerber, and Johannes Royset have been appointed as senior research fellows in CREATE.

Dr. Dilkina is an associate professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science and co-Director of the USC Center for AI in Society (CAIS). Her research focuses on advancing the state of the art in combinatorial optimization techniques. A key area of research is designing machine-learning-driven combinatorial optimization algorithms, by leveraging the plethora of data generated by solving distributions of real-world optimization problems.

Dr. Becerik-Gerber is a professor and Chair of Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and founder and the Director of USC Center for Intelligent Environments (CENTIENTS). During the last 15 years, her research focused on advanced data acquisition, modeling, visualization for design, construction, and control of user-centered responsive and adaptive built environments.

Dr. Royset is a new faculty member, joining the Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in January of 2024. Dr. Royset comes to USC from the Naval Postgraduate School. His research focuses on formulating and solving stochastic and deterministic optimization problems arising in data analytics, sensor management, and reliability engineering.

Grants and Contracts

Richard John and Robin Dillon Merril (with N. Scurich) have secured funding for a CAOE project on Normalcy Bias spanning 2 years from 11/1/2023 to 10/31/2025, with a total budget of $500,000 split evenly among UCI, Georgetown, and USC.

Noah Dormady and Adam Rose have been awarded an NSF grant titled “Advanced Data and Methods to Improve Hazard Resilience for Underrepresented Groups: Minority- and Women-Owned Small and Mid-Sized Businesses."

SENTRY Year 4 funding has been approved from 7/1/2024 to 6/30/2025 for CREATE, led by Richard John. Approximately $200k will be awarded.

Jun Zhuang, Isaac Maya, and Randolph Hall will contribute to the launch of ADAC-ARCTIC, which has a total budget of $46 million. Their work will include game theory and operations research to analyze multi-stakeholder collaboration and competition in assessing and mitigating risks in Arctic security, as well as technology transition.


Economic Analysis

Amjadi, E. & John, R. S. (2024). All is fair in love and war: Moral foundations in English-language tweets during the first 36 weeks of conflict between Ukraine and Russia. In Proceedings of the 57th Annual Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-2024), Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 3-6. https://hdl.handle.net/10125/106690

Cutler, H., M. Shields, A. Rose, D. Wei, D. Keyser, and K. Crofton. 2023. “Regional Economic Impacts of the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Transition,” Climate Policy, electronic preprint. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2023.2287076.

Fong, M. & John, R. S. (2024). Motivated bias in detecting climate change misinformation. In Proceedings of the 57th Annual Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-2024), Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 3-6. https://hdl.handle.net/10125/106636

John, R. S., Dillon, R., Burns, W., & Scurich, N. (2024). Partitioning the expected value of countermeasures and an application to terrorism. Decision Analysis, 21(1), 23-47. doi: 10.1287/deca.2023.0011

Kusumastuti, S. & John, R. S. (2024). A simulation approach to investigate factors influencing the cost of omitted objectives in multiattribute models. Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, 31(1). doi: doi.org/10.1002/mcda.1826

Kusumastuti, S. & John, R. S. (2024). Consequences of missing objectives in applications of multiattribute utility analysis. In F. Federspiel, G. Montibeller, & M. Seifert (Eds.), Behavioral decision analysis. Springer.

Prager, F., Mendoza, M. T., Huyck, C. K., Rose, A., Amyx, P., Yetman, G., & Tiampo, K. F. (2024). Applying Earth Observation Technologies to Economic Consequence Modeling: A Case Study of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, California. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 1-14.

Decision and Risk Analysis

Aljohani, B., Hall, R. W. (2024). Optimizing the Selection of Mass Vaccination Sites: Access and Equity Consideration International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, DOI:10.3390/ijerph21040491

A. Angelis, G. Montibeller, P. Kanavos, “A structured methodology for essential medicines lists and health emergency stockpiles: Experience with the Emergency Medicines Buffer Stock in the United Kingdom” Social Science & Medicine, Volume 337, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.116236.

Bruine de Bruin, W., Rabinovich, L., Weber, K. et al. Improving figures for climate change communications: Insights from interviews with international policymakers and practitioners. Climatic Change 177, 57 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-024-03704-7

Del Rio Vilas, V.J., Montibeller, G. (2023). Musing Over Non-technical Criticalities of Rabies Prevention and Control. In: Rupprecht, C.E. (eds) History of Rabies in the Americas: From the Pre-Columbian to the Present, Volume I. Fascinating Life Sciences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-25052-1_14

Hall, R.W., Caprariello, A. and Patel, A. (2023). Incentivizing Impact Through Innovation and Knowledge Transfer: An International Review of University Policies. Technology and Innovation. V. 23.

Liu, R., Becerik-Gerber, B., Lucas, G., & Busta, K. (2024). Development of a VR Training Platform for Active Shooter Incident Preparedness in Healthcare Environments via a Stakeholder-Engaged Process. Computing in Civil Engineering 2023. pp. 45–53

Media and Presentations

Adam Rose and Misak Avetisyan presented the webinar paper, “Macroeconomic and Equity Impacts of Cyber-Attacks on the U.S. Banking System,” to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, March 22, 2024.

Adam Rose gave a presentation on “Economic Viability, Resilience, and Sustainability of Transportation Logistics Systems in Post-Conflict Zones” (co-authored with Kieran Donaghy, Terry Friesz, Michael Ferris, Terry Clower,

Wandi Bruine de Bruin, USC study: Climate change graphics are important, so make them simple Published in the journal Climatic Change, the study is USC’s second collaboration with the U.N. Foundation aimed at improving science communications. https://today.usc.edu/usc-study-climate-change-graphics-are-important-so-make-them-simple/

Milestones and Honors


Adam Rose has been honored with the Faculty Lifetime Achievement in Public Policy Award, acknowledging his groundbreaking contributions to environmental policy. His pioneering work includes integrating equity considerations into climate change initiatives and demonstrating unwavering dedication to advancing climate mitigation and adaptation efforts over several decades.

Jun Zhuang has been selected as the recipient of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers’ (IISE) 2024 Fellow Award, the highest distinction within IISE membership. This prestigious recognition celebrates Zhuang’s exceptional leadership and service to IISE, underscoring his significant and nationally recognized contributions to the field of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Undergraduate student Kuofu Liu received the outstanding undergraduate research award for the USC Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering as well as the entire USC Viterbi School of Engineering for his work on modeling disease transmission. He is headed to the University of Michigan in the fall, where he will pursue a PhD degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering.


Bess Djavadi graduated with an M.S. in Public Policy and Data Science, receiving the Price School Dean’s Certificate of Merit. She will pursue a Ph.D. Program in the RAND Pardee School.

Azam Dadabhoy graduated with a Master of Public Policy Degree and Certificate in Homeland Security Policy.

Sirarpi Muradian graduated with a Master of Public Policy Degree, and her MPP Practicum project team was the runner-up for an award.

Alexander Mermelstein graduated with an M.S. in Public Policy and Data Science.

Nathaniel Gundersen completed his first year in the Price School Master of Public Policy and Master of Urban Planning dual degree program, receiving several awards for his outstanding performance.

Ruying Liu, a Ph.D. student, received two awards: the Viterbi Graduate Student Award for Undergraduate Mentoring and the Sonny Astani CEE Outstanding Research Assistant Award.

Katie Byrd will graduate with a Ph.D. in Psychology (Quantitative Methods and Computational Psychology) after serving as a research assistant on CREATE funded projects since summer 2018.

Kevin Kapadia will receive his Master’s in Psychology (Quantitative Methods and Computational Psychology) this summer after being an RA on CREATE funded projects since Summer 2022.

Additionally, Noah Miller, a Price School Ph.D. student, was recognized for his contributions to research on the implications of the Paris Agreement and resilience to cyber-attacks.