January 25, 2009

Infrastructure Project Day 4 Describing "Self Healing"

I was going to talk today about how I figure Google into my equation however, I will digress and discuss the "Self Healing" nature of my infrastructure idea first.

In order for this project to truly be beneficial in our modern society with the many threats we face, weather, natural disasters and terrorism it is important that the project be able to deal with these issues and not compromise the integrity of the entire system. That said with modern day technology, valves, controls, meters etc. we need to design the system that should a break or breach occur along the system valves will divert water away from the break, meters will shunt electrical around the break and meters will refocus lasers or shut off lasers transmitting data through the fiber optics. Much like a spider web where many individual strands can be compromised the web still will stay intact.

So let's go back to our new national grid we would be building, we have a line every 10 miles. Let's say we have a break in San Francisco because of an Earthquake. Hopefully, it won't compromise the 2-4 lines that would be going into San Francisco but let's assume it does. The system would isolate the breaks, allowing for rapid repair while not causing further damage from flood etc. Also, because we are monitoring the entire grid in a real time basis we will know precisely where the breach occurred and can respond accordingly.

An important aspect for the United States and local utility companies will be to tie their existing system into the new grid, both for economies of scale purposes, but to help make the system more robust. The greater and more intricate the web with safeguards in place and "self healing" enabled the more robust the overall system the less likely terrorism, natural disasters or weather can be a factor.

I will need to flesh this out more in the future but this is the general idea.

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