Ken Harrison is an Operations Research Analyst in the Community Resilience Group in the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Ken’s educational background and doctoral degree are in civil engineering with a specialization in systems analysis. He has a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University, and a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; his Ph.D. dissertation was entitled “Environmental and Water Resources Decision-Making under Uncertainty”. His research and experience are in mathematical modeling to support decision-making, with an emphasis on methods for decision-making under uncertainty and the development of mathematical programming-backed decision support tools. He has studied a diverse set of large-scale systems with engineered and natural systems components. Ken joined NIST in 2016.
Ken leads the “First-Generation Community Resilience Systems Model” project. The project involves development of an optimization-based decision support tool for community resilience planning. In addition, he conducts research in the Hurricane Maria Program. Dr. Harrison is a member of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) for the Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria’s Impacts on Puerto Rico. He also leads a National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) project in the Hurricane Maria Program that examines the impacts to and recovery of distributed infrastructure supporting critical buildings and emergency communications.
Ken joined NIST from the University of Maryland and NASA where for eight years he worked in the NASA's Hydrological Sciences Laboratory as a Research Scientist affiliated with Maryland's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). At NASA, he designed and implemented the Uncertainty Estimation subsystem of the NASA Land Information System (LIS) software, and conducted research investigating the value of NASA Earth Science satellite data for reducing hydrologic prediction uncertainty. Prior to NASA he was on the faculty of the University of South Carolina Department of Civil Engineering, where he studied and taught systems analysis.