Portola Valley resident develops model to simulate town evacuations | October 22, 2021 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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News - October 22, 2021

Portola Valley resident develops model to simulate town evacuations

by By Angela Swartz

A naturally curious person with an engineering background, Portola Valley resident Dave Cardinal decided to start tinkering with solving a question of concern to some residents: What would it look like should the town have to evacuate during an emergency?

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Email Staff Writer Angela Swartz at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by Bob Turcott
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 23, 2021 at 11:25 am

Bob Turcott is a registered user.

Having developed and used computational modeling in a professional setting, I have an appreciation for the challenging task Mr Cardinal has undertaken.

Computational modeling necessarily involves many - seemingly countless - layers of assumptions, both explicit and implicit. It is the implicit assumptions, ones the developers might not even be aware of, that are most problematic. There are also limitations that are inherent to the implementation of the model. For these reasons, and others, it is critical that a model be validated against real data. Validation and peer reviewed publication in a scientific journal would move the results from the domain of sophisticated intuition to something that could be viewed as reliably predictive.

I applaud Mr Cardinal for his work. I hope he continues it and takes it to a level that allows it to serve our community and countless others like ours. A validated, reliable model is a resource that’s very much needed.


Posted by UlrichAldag
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 26, 2021 at 9:20 am

UlrichAldag is a registered user.


The evacuation situation of Portola Valley is precarious and may be a question of life and death.

I am concerned a false feeling of security might be created by a well-meant article about a model that allows its developer, Mr. David Cardinal, to jump to the conclusion that, even with 200 additional housing units and the Stanford Wedge project realized, the residents of our town “should be able to leave fairly easily in a normal evacuation scenario”. Such statement, before the model is tested and validated by the Fire Dept., the Sheriff and by independent third evaluators, is premature and misleading because it nurtures the conclusion these projects are ok, and the overall situation of the evacuation is ok too. Unfortunately, however, these projects raise other serious concerns with the evacuation situation being only one of them.

I also object to the tendency of the article to portray Mr. Cardinal as a teacher of engineering at Stanford even if he is not registered as member of the faculty of Stanford’s School of Engineering and his professional focus seems to be on travel and animal photography. He doesn’t need that Stanford hype. It is enough that he has tried to support the authorities by developing his modeling tool. We hope it will work and help them to make the right decisions.



Posted by UlrichAldag
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 26, 2021 at 9:20 am

UlrichAldag is a registered user.

The evacuation situation of Portola Valley is precarious and may be a question of life and death.

I am concerned a false feeling of security might be created by a well-meant article about a model that allows its developer, Mr. David Cardinal, to jump to the conclusion that, even with 200 additional housing units and the Stanford Wedge project realized, the residents of our town “should be able to leave fairly easily in a normal evacuation scenario”. Such statement, before the model is tested and validated by the Fire Dept., the Sheriff and by independent third evaluators, is premature and misleading because it nurtures the conclusion these projects are ok, and the overall situation of the evacuation is ok too. Unfortunately, however, these projects raise other serious concerns with the evacuation situation being only one of them.

I also object to the tendency of the article to portray Mr. Cardinal as a teacher of engineering at Stanford even if he is not registered as member of the faculty of Stanford’s School of Engineering and his professional focus seems to be on travel and animal photography. He doesn’t need that Stanford hype. It is enough that he has tried to support the authorities by developing his modeling tool. We hope it will work and help them to make the right decisions.



Posted by David B
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 26, 2021 at 12:59 pm

David B is a registered user.

Oh come on, Ulrich... a good guy with a VERY deep technical background who's done a lot for our town dives in to a fun project that might add some value to us all, and you find these things to criticize?

Try him on LinkedIn: Web Link

PS: Lemme guess, are you one of the ones who is going to keep finding "other serious concerns" about ANY new housing in PV until you can drive everyone to make the "right decision" as you see it?


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