Deb and Nejadhashemi Receive a Six-year Environmental Protection Agency Grant to Develop an Optimization-based Management tool for Chesapeake Bay Watershed

EPATwo MSU Engineering faculty members – Kalyanmoy Deb (Koenig Endowed Chair Professor in the  Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Pouyan Nejadhashemi (MSU Foundation Professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering)  -- have received an over $1 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a multi-objective optimization tool that will help agencies make informed management decisions for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Spread across six states and Washington D.C., the Chesapeake Bay watershed feeds the country’s largest estuary, which consists of more than 180,000 miles of streams, creeks, and rivers. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the watershed helps filter and protect 75% of the drinking water for the area’s 18 million residents.

The goal of this six-year project is to develop, implement and validate an optimization framework by combining multiple algorithms, each utilizing a watershed model and decision makers from the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP). Efficient and computationally quick multi-objective optimization algorithms will be developed and linked with Chesapeake Assessment and Scenario Tool (CAST) system to find multiple alternate “Best management practices (BMPs)” to trade-off implementation cost and reduction of pollutants. The methodologies will involve customized evolutionary multi-objective optimization algorithms aided with machine learning based enhancements. Multi-scale versions of the watershed management problem from a county to state to the entire watershed level will enable CBP users and stake-holders to understand and utilize different management practices better from the point of view of environment and cost. The final tools of this project will have the potential to be applied to other watersheds around the world.

Deb is world’s leading expert in evolutionary multi-objective optimization and its applications. He is an IEEE Fellow and is the recipient of 2018 IEEE Evolutionary Computation Pioneer award. His research has made a huge impact in the computing area, as evident from his high Google Scholar Citation count of over 142,000 and a h-index of 117. 
Nejadhashemi is one of the leading researchers in water resources modeling. The author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications, Nejadhashemi, has been the PI/co-PI on grants totaling more than $33 million. He is also an elected board member of the International Environmental Modelling & Software Society.