(07/28/2010) — Nearly three years after the I-35W bridge collapse on August 1, 2007, questions remain about the safety and security of the nation’s infrastructure. Do we have the systems in place to prevent large-scale, systemic failures? A University of Minnesota expert, who witnessed the collapse, can comment on U.S. infrastructure needs and challenges in the wake of the 35W bridge collapse anniversary is:

Massoud Amin, director, Technological Leadership Institute (TLI) and professor of electrical and computer engineering

“The bridge collapse brought the importance of our critical infrastructure clearly into focus,” says Amin. “It is vitally important that we continue to explore infrastructure needs and innovative ways to address them.”

Amin spearheads the university’s new Masters of Science in Security Technologies (MSST) program, which was developed in response to growing demand for risk management policymakers and innovators.

Amin says that development, application and use of distributed intelligent secure sensor technologies and control methodologies in the monitoring, management and maintenance of critical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and the power grid, are necessary systems to have in place.

“We can strengthen our infrastructure and make it smarter, more resilient and secure; we can reduce grid congestion and meet societal and customers’ reliability and security expectations,” Amin says. “And it is not just a matter of ‘can.’ We must — if the United States is to continue to be an economic power. However, it will not be easy or cheap. It will require an extensive, prolonged commitment by the federal government and the industry to provide funding and to reduce red tape.”

To interview Amin, or to learn more about MSST (tli.umn.edu), contact Preston Smith, University News Service, 612-625-0552 or Rhonda Zurn, College of Science and Engineering, at rzurn@umn.edu or 612-626-7959.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today’s breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit http://www.umn.edu/news. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.