Thomas C. Sharkey

Associate Professor
Thomas C. Sharkey

Professor Sharkey has research interests focusing on creating novel optimization models and algorithms for problems in network resilience with applications in supply chain management, national defense, and homeland security. The resilience of a network is its ability to withstand and rapidly recovery from a disruptive event. Professor Sharkey has created new optimization algorithms to better understand the recovery part of resilience for interdependent infrastructure networks and multi-echelon assembly supply chain networks (the latter in collaboration with a leading defense aircraft manufacturer). He is interested in applying game-theoretic techniques in order to understand how decentralized decision-making in these recovery efforts (for example, decentralized across infrastructures or decentralized across suppliers) impacts the overall recovery efforts and how incentives could improve the cost of decentralization.

Professor Sharkey is further interested in examining network interdiction problems, i.e., problems in which an attacker (say law enforcement) will remove (or disrupt) components within a network (say arresting criminals in an illegal drug trafficking operation) so that the best possible actions within the network (say the flow of drugs into an area) are as bad as possible. He examined novel dynamic interdiction models for law enforcement efforts against illegal drug trafficking. In addition, network interdiction problems can provide insights into the vulnerabilities of “good” networks by examining the worst-case disruptions that an enemy can cause within the network. In this area, Professor Sharkey has examined how cyber-attackers can disrupt the information system of supply chains or the control systems of an infrastructure and cause physical disruptions within the supply chain or infrastructure network.

Sample Research Projects

  • CAREER: New Scheduling Models for Supply Chain Restoration, Construction, and Redesign, National Science Foundation, 7/2013-6/2018.
  • Cyber-Security and Interdependent Infrastructures: A Data Analytic Approach, Department of Homeland Security, 7/2014-6/2017.
  • Collaborative Research: Dynamic Resource Allocation Models for Law Enforcement Operations against Illegal Drug Trafficking, National Science Foundation, 6/2013-5/2017.
  • RAPID: Identifying and Modeling the Interdependencies of Restoration Efforts across Infrastructures, National Science Foundation, 2/2013-1/2015.
Contact Information: 

Phone: (518)276-2958
Email: sharkt@rpi.edu
Web: http://homepages.rpi.edu/~sharkt/

Focus Area: 
mathematical programming, network algorithms, combinatorial and computational optimization, supply chain logistics, demand allocation based supply chain optimization models, nonlinear network design problems.