University of Nebraska–Lincoln researchers Dr. Qing Hui, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Josh Allen, graduate research assistant, are proposing a mathematical approach to model complex nuclear escalation dynamics among world powers.
With funding from the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska, they are using novel mathematical transformation and projection methods to create interactive graphics that Department of Defense (DOD) decision makers can use to rapidly and accurately assess low-intensity, steady to high-intensity, highly dynamic nuclear deployment actions.
Unlike traditional approaches, the proposed model includes multi-cue, multi-choice decision-making within multiagent competing dynamics.
"The importance of this research has become more and more apparent since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine," Dr. Hui said. "At this point, the nuclear dynamics among world superpowers is at their highest point since the Cold War. Having a way to predict and better understand the escalation dynamics of superpowers is a necessity for the DOD."
About six months into the project, the researchers have completed the following:
- Modeled the dynamic correlation between different factors in escalation
- Modeled human behavior involved in decision-making dynamics on different factors during escalation
- Paper accepted for presentation in June 2022
Next, they will use numerical verification and simulation to model the intertwined dynamics using tensor networks. They will also develop a topological visualization using energy-like contours to depict human-readable results.
This method could uncover hidden information for nuclear escalation dynamics from the input-state-output and modeling perspective for DOD decision makers.
"A mathematical model such as the one we have created can provide new insights about the past science of escalation dynamics," Dr. Qing said. "It can also give insight into new solutions that can be used to accurately predict the nuclear dynamics among world superpowers."
Learn more about NSRI’s independent research and development projects currently underway at nsri.nebraska.edu/irad2021.
About the National Strategic Research Institute
Through the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska leading scientists deliver innovative national security research, technology, product and strategy development, training and exercises, and subject matter expertise to the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. One of only 14 DOD-designated University Affiliated Research Centers in the country, NSRI is sponsored by U.S. Strategic Command and works to ensure the United States’ safety and preparedness against increasingly sophisticated threats. Read about our mission.