Invited Speaker: Dr Carolyn Huston

August 17, 2022

Emulation of the Spark bushfire solver, and building trust in uncertainty


Carolyn Huston is currently a Senior Research Consultant at CSIRO’s Data61, where she has been involved in numerous commercial and strategic research projects related to bushfire risk and resilience, including estimation of fire consequence and loss. She completed a BSc. in Ecology at the University of Alberta, Canada; an MSc. in Biostatistics at the University of Alberta, Canada; and a PhD in Statistics and Simon Fraser University, where she researched West Coast of British Columbia Sockeye fisheries estimation, openings, and related problems using Bayesian hierarchical methods.

Talk Overview:

Emulations is a potentially useful tool in the context of estimating and predicting potential fire perimeters and associated areas burnt. A key advantage of interest is a speedup in estimation of fire progression, allowing faster exploration of scenarios and more efficient incorporation of uncertainty in reported results. Equally important to the development of the emulator is building trust in the technology such that decision makers feel empowered to make decisions using this tool. This work considers both the construction of an emulator, as well as develops a vocabulary and framework to facilitate discussions to build trust better allowing users to understand, accept, and utilize features enabled by the emulator.