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OPTIMAL CONTROL THEORY FOR SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
SHASTRI, Y., U. DIWEKAR, AND H. CABEZAS. OPTIMAL CONTROL THEORY FOR SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 42(14):5322-5328, (2008).
With growing world population, diminishing resources, and realization of the harmful effects of various pollutants, research focus in environmental management has shifted towards sustainability. The goal of a sustainable management strategy is to promote the structure and operation of the hu-man component of the system (society, economy, technology, etc.) in such a manner as to reinforce the persistence of the structures and operation of the natural component (i.e., the ecosystem). Since this is a highly multi-disciplinary task, involving interactions of systems on multiple temporal and spatial scales, a systematic approach, based on sound mathematical techniques, is essential. Two im-portant aspects of this approach are: formulation of sustainability based objectives and development of the management strategies. Fisher information can be used as the basis of a sustainability hy-pothesis to formulate mathematical objectives relevant to the disparate systems. Once the objectives are developed, methods and tools based on systems theory provide the means to derive appropriate management strategies. This work proposes to use optimal control theory to derive time dependent environmental management strategies. This paper represents a proof of concept for this approach using a model system that includes an ecosystem, humans, avery rudimentary industrial process, and a very simple agricultural system. To formulate the control problem, it is important to identify the right control variables in the model, which is achieved through partial correlation coefficient analysis. The results help in identifying the effective management options. The results also emphasize that management using multiple parameters of different nature can be distinctly effective.