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book coverAnalytic Research Foundations for the Next-Generation Electric Grid   (BMSA)
Released 2016-04-15

Electricity is the lifeblood of modern society, and for the vast majority of people that electricity is obtained from large, interconnected power grids. However, the grid that was developed in the 20th century, and the incremental improvements made since then, including its underlying analytic foundations, is no longer adequate to completely meet the needs of the 21st century. The next-generation electric grid must be more flexible and resilient. While fossil fuels will have their place for decades to come, the grid of the future will need to accommodate a wider mix of more intermittent generating sources such as wind and distributed solar photovoltaics. Achieving this grid of the future will require effort on several fronts. There is a need for continued shorter-term engineering research and development, building on the existing analytic foundations for the grid. But there is also a need for more fundamental research to expand these analytic foundations. Analytic Research Foundations for the Next-Generation Electric Grid provide guidance on the longer-term critical areas for research in mathematical and computational sciences that is needed for the next-generation grid. It offers recommendations that are designed to help direct future research as the grid evolves and to give the nation’s research and development infrastructure the tools it needs to effectively develop, test, and use this research.

book coverStatistical Challenges in Assessing and Fostering the Reproducibility of Scientific Results: Summary of a Workshop   (CATS ,BMSA)
Released 2016-02-29

Questions about the reproducibility of scientific research have been raised in numerous settings and have gained visibility through several high-profile journal and popular press articles. Quantitative issues contributing to reproducibility challenges have been considered (including improper data measurement and analysis, inadequate statistical expertise, and incomplete data, among others), but there is no clear consensus on how best to approach or to minimize these problems. A lack of reproducibility of scientific results has created some distrust in scientific findings among the general public, scientists, funding agencies, and industries. While studies fail for a variety of reasons, many factors contribute to the lack of perfect reproducibility, including insufficient training in experimental design, misaligned incentives for publication and the implications for university tenure, intentional manipulation, poor data management and analysis, and inadequate instances of statistical inference. The workshop summarized in this report was designed not to address the social and experimental challenges but instead to focus on the latter issues of improper data management and analysis, inadequate statistical expertise, incomplete data, and difficulties applying sound statistic inference to the available data. Many efforts have emerged over recent years to draw attention to and improve reproducibility of scientific work. This report uniquely focuses on the statistical perspective of three issues: the extent of reproducibility, the causes of reproducibility failures, and the potential remedies for these failures.

book coverAffordability of National Flood Insurance Program Premiums: Report 2   (WSTB ,BMSA ,CNSTAT)
Released 2016-01-21

When Congress authorized the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968, it intended for the program to encourage community initiatives in flood risk management, charge insurance premiums consistent with actuarial pricing principles, and encourage the purchase of flood insurance by owners of flood prone properties, in part, by offering affordable premiums. The NFIP has been reauthorized many times since 1968, most recently with the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW 2012). In this most recent reauthorization, Congress placed a particular emphasis on setting flood insurance premiums following actuarial pricing principles, which was motivated by a desire to ensure future revenues were adequate to pay claims and administrative expenses. BW 2012 was designed to move the NFIP towards risk-based premiums for all flood insurance policies. The result was to be increased premiums for some policyholders that had been paying less than NFIP risk-based premiums and to possibly increase premiums for all policyholders. Recognition of this possibility and concern for the affordability of flood insurance is reflected in sections of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA 2014). These sections called on FEMA to propose a draft affordability framework for the NFIP after completing an analysis of the efforts of possible programs for offering “means-tested assistance” to policyholders for whom higher rates may not be affordable. BW 2012 and HFIAA 2014 mandated that FEMA conduct a study, in cooperation with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which would compare the costs of a program of risk-based rates and means-tested assistance to the current system of subsidized flood insurance rates and federally funded disaster relief for people without coverage. Production of two reports was agreed upon to fulfill this mandate. This second report proposes alternative approaches for a national evaluation of affordability program policy options and includes lessons for the design of a national study from a proof-of-concept pilot study.