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Christopher W. Zobel

R.B. Pamplin Professor, Business Information Technology
Christopher W. Zobel
2072 Pamplin

Christopher Zobel is a member of the Department of Business Information Technology at Virginia Tech. His academic training is in mathematics and systems engineering, and his research focuses on developing analytic techniques to improve environmental decision making and disaster/crisis operations management. He has significant experience with multi-objective and multi-stakeholder decision problems, as well as with stochastic optimization, and simulation-optimization techniques. He is particularly interested in the quantitative analysis of multi-dimensional concepts such as disaster resilience, which have not only physical and economic characteristics but also social and organizational dimensions. In this context, his primary focus is on more clearly identifying and leveraging the trade-offs inherent in decisions that affect resilient behavior.


MacKenzie, C.A. and C.W. Zobel. “Allocating resources to enhance resilience, with application to Superstorm Sandy and an electric utility,” accepted by Risk Analysis, 2015.

Zhang, Y., W. Drake, Y. Li, C.W. Zobel, and M. Cowell. “Fostering Community Resilience through Adaptive Learning in a Social Media Age: Municipal Twitter Use in New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy,” Proceedings of the 12th International ISCRAM Conference (Kristiansand, Norway: May, 2015)

Li, Y. and C.W. Zobel. “Evaluating the Value of Disruption Information for Mitigating Supply Chain Risks,” 2015 POMS Annual Conference (Washington, DC: May 2015)

Baghersad, M. and C.W. Zobel. “Economic impact of production bottlenecks caused by disasters impacting interdependent industry sectors” International Journal of Production Economics, 168, 2015, 71-80.

Zobel, C.W. and L.Z. Khansa. “Characterizing multi-event disaster resilience,” Computers & Operations Research – special issue on MCDM in Emergency Management, 42, 2014, 83-94.

Chacko, J.C., L.P. Rees, and C.W. Zobel, “Improving Resource Allocation for Disaster Operations Management in a Multi-Hazard Context,” Proceedings of the 11th International ISCRAM Conference (University Park, PA: May, 2014), pp. 83-87.

Pant, R., K. Barker, and C.W. Zobel, “Static and dynamic metrics of economic resilience for interdependent infrastructure and industry sectors,” Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 125(1), 2014, 92-102. Available on-line at:

Zobel, C.W., “Quantitatively Representing Non-linear Disaster Recovery,” Decision Sciences, 45(6), 2014, 1053–1082.

Dottore, M.L. and C.W. Zobel, “Analyzing Economic Indicators of Disaster Resilience Following Hurricane Katrina,” International Journal of Business Analytics, 1(1), 2014, 67-83.

Melnyk, S., C.W. Zobel, S. Griffis, and J. MacDonald, “Making Sense of Transient Responses in Simulation Studies: An Approach for Interpreting Transient Response Time Series Data,” International Journal of Production Research, 52(3), 2014, 617-632.

Seref, O. and C.W. Zobel, “Recursive Voids for Identifying a Nonconvex Boundary of a Set of Points in the Plane,” Pattern Recognition, 46(12), 2013, 3288-3299.

Zobel, C.W., “Analytically comparing disaster recovery following the 2012 derecho,” Proceedings of the 10th International ISCRAM Conference (Baden-Baden, Germany: May, 2013).

Falasca, M. and C.W. Zobel, “An Optimization Model for Volunteer Assignments in Humanitarian Organizations,” Socio-Economic Planning Sciences – Special Issue: Disaster Planning and Logistics: Part 2, 46(4), 2012, 250-260.

Bosch, D., J. Pease, M.L. Wolfe, C.W. Zobel, J. Osorio, T. Denckla Cobb, and G. Evanylo, “Community DECISIONS: Stakeholder Focused Watershed Planning,” Journal of Environmental Management, 112, 2012, 226-232.

Arnette, A.N. and C.W. Zobel, “An Optimization Model for Regional Renewable Energy Development,” Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16(7), 2012, 4606-4615.

Khansa, L.Z., Zobel, C.W., and G. Goicochea, “Creating a Taxonomy for Mobile Commerce Innovations using Social Network and Cluster Analyses,” International Journal of Electronic Commerce – special issue on M-commerce, Summer 2012, 16(4), 19-52.

Zobel, C.W., Melnyk, S., Griffis, S., and J. MacDonald, “Characterizing Disaster Resistance and Recovery using Outlier Detection,” Proceedings of the 9th International ISCRAM Conference (Vancouver, BC: April, 2012).

Zobel, C.W. and L.Z. Khansa, “Quantifying Cyberinfrastructure Resilience against Multi-event Attacks,” Decision Sciences, 43 (4), 2012, 687-710.

Arnette, A.N. and C.W. Zobel, “The Role of Public Policy in Optimizing Renewable Energy Development in the Greater Southern Appalachian Mountains,” Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15(8), 2011, 3690-3702.

Falasca, M. and C.W. Zobel, “A Two-Stage Procurement Model for Humanitarian Relief Supply Chains,” Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 1(2), 2011, 151-169.

Zobel, C.W., “Representing the Multi-Dimensional Nature of Disaster Resilience,” ISCRAM 2011 – From Early-Warning Systems to Preparedness and Training (Lisbon, Portugal: May 2011).

Arnette, A.N. and C.W. Zobel, “Spatial Analysis of Renewable Energy Potential in the Greater Southern Appalachian Mountains,” Renewable Energy, 36(11), 2011, 2785-2798.

Zobel, C.W. and D.F. Cook, “Evaluation of neural network variable influence measures for process control,” Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, 24(5), 2011, 803-812.

Zobel, C.W., “Representing perceived tradeoffs in defining disaster resilience,” Decision Support Systems, 50(2), 2011, 394-403.

Falasca, M., C.W. Zobel, and C.T. Ragsdale, “Helping a Small Development Aid Organization Manage Volunteers More Efficiently,” Interfaces, 41(3), 2011.

Zobel, C.W., “Supporting disaster resilience: Information technology and emergence in multi-organizational networks,” Journal of Emergency Management, 9 (special issue 1), 2011, 47-52.

Zobel, C.W., “Comparative visualization of predicted disaster resilience,” ISCRAM 2010 – Defining Crisis Management 3.0 (Seattle, WA: May 2010).

Fetter, G., M. Falasca, C.W. Zobel, T.R. Rakes, “A Multi-stage Decision Model for Debris Disposal Operations,” ISCRAM 2010 – Defining Crisis Management 3.0 (Seattle, WA: May 2010).

Arnette, A., C.W. Zobel, D. Bosch, J. Pease, and T. Metcalfe, “Stakeholder Ranking of Watershed Goals with the Vector Analytic Hierarchy Process: Effects of Participant Grouping Scenarios,” Environmental Modelling and Software – Special Issue: Modeling with Stakeholders, 25(11), 2010, 1459-1469.

Ragsdale, C.T. and C.W. Zobel, “A Simple Approach to Implementing and Training Neural Networks in Excel,” Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 8 (1), 2010, 143-149.

Falasca, M., C.W. Zobel, and G.M. Fetter, “An optimization model for humanitarian relief volunteer management,” ISCRAM 2009 – Boundary spanning initiatives and new perspectives (Göteborg, Sweden: May 2009).

Zobel, C.W., J.R. Martin, II, and C.G. Olgun, “Disaster risk management for critical infrastructure: a services-based viewpoint,” International Journal of Services Sciences, 2 (2), 2009, 189-205.

Zobel, C.W., “The use of information and communication technologies in support of dynamic partnerships for disaster resilience,” in Exploring Innovative and Sustainable Approaches to Improve Community Resilience in Disaster Prevention and Response, Invited Symposium – International Disaster and Risk Conference (IDRC) 2008, Davos, Switzerland, Aug. 29-30, 2008.

Zobel, C.W. and G.A. Wang, “Topic Maps for Improving Services in Disaster Operations Management,” Journal of Service Science, 1 (1), 2008, 83-92.

Falasca, M., C.W. Zobel, and D.F. Cook, “A Decision Support Framework to Assess Supply Chain Resilience,” ISCRAM (Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management) 2008 – Creating Advanced Systems for Inter-organizational Information Sharing and Collaboration (Washington, D.C.: May 2008), pp. 596-605.

King, M.A. and C.W. Zobel, “Applying the R4 Framework of Resilience: Information Technology Disaster Risk Management at Northrop Grumman,” Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Decision Sciences Institute (Orlando, FL: February 2008).

Russell, R. S. and C.W. Zobel, “Bringing Service Sciences into the Curriculum.” In B. Hefley, & W. Murphy (Eds.), Service Science, Management and Engineering: Education for the 21st Century: Springer, 2008, 137-140.

Zobel, C.W. and K.B. Keeling, “Neural network-based simulation metamodels for predicting probability distributions,” Computers & Industrial Engineering, 54 (4), 2008, 879-888.

Zobel, C.W., Cook, D.F., and C.T. Ragsdale, “Data-driven classification using boundary observations,” Decision Sciences, 37 (2), 2006, 247-262.

Scheibe, K.P., Mennecke, B.E., and C.W. Zobel, “Creating Offshore-ready IT Professionals: A Global Perspective and Strong Collaborative Skills Are Needed,” Journal of Labor Research, 27 (3), 2006, 275-290.

Cook, D.F., Zobel, C.W., and M.L. Wolfe, “Environmental statistical process control using an augmented neural network classification approach,” European Journal of Operational Research, 174 (3), 2006, 1631-1642.

Goel, A.M., Zobel, C.W., and E.C. Jones, “A multi-agent system for supporting the electronic contracting of food grains,” Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 48(2), 2005, 123-137.

Zobel, C.W., Rakes, T.R., and L.P. Rees, “Automated merging of conflicting knowledge bases, using a consistent, majority-rule approach with knowledge-form maintenance,” Computers & Operations Research, 32(7), 2005, 1809-1829.

Zobel, C.W. and W.T. Scherer, “An empirical study of policy convergence in Markov decision process value iteration,” Computers & Operations Research, 32(1), 2005, 127-142.

Ragsdale, C.T. and C.W. Zobel, “The Ordered Cutting Stock Problem,” Decision Sciences, 35(1), 2004, 81-98.

Zobel, C.W., Cook, D.F., and Q.J. Nottingham, “An augmented neural network classification approach to detecting mean shifts in correlated manufacturing process parameters,” International Journal of Production Research, 42(4), 2004, 741-758.

Cook, D.F., Zobel, C.W., and Q.J. Nottingham, “Excel-based application of data visualization techniques for process monitoring in the forest products industry,” Forest Products Journal, 54(5), 2004, 57-65.

Zobel, C.W. and W.T. Scherer, “Simulation-based Policy Generation with Large-scale Markov Decision Processes,” IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man & Cybernetics – Part A: Systems and Humans, 31(6), 2001, 609-622.

Nottingham, Q.J., Cook, D.F., and C.W. Zobel, “Visualization of multivariate data with radial plots using SAS,” Computers & Industrial Engineering, 41(1), 2001, 17-35.

Cook, D.F., Zobel, C.W., and Q.J. Nottingham, “Utilization of Neural Networks for the Recognition of Variance Shifts in Manufacturing Process Parameters,” International Journal of Production Research, 39(17), 2001, 3881-3887.

Zobel, C.W., Ragsdale, C.T., and L.P. Rees, “Hands-On Learning Experience: Teaching Decision Support Systems Using VBA,” OR/MS Today, December 2000, 28-31.

Zobel, C.W., E.C. Jones and P.R. Gupta, “Developing a Decision Support System for Value-Added Production in the Soft Red Winter Wheat Industry,” Proceedings of the 31st Annual Decision Sciences Institute Meeting (Orlando, FL: 2000)

Zobel, C.W. and W.T. Scherer, “SMG: A new simulation/optimization approach for large-scale problems,” Proceedings of the 1999 Winter Simulation Conference (Phoenix, AZ: 1999)

Zobel, C.W. and K.P. White, Jr., “Determining a warm-up period for a telephone network routing simulation,” Proceedings of the 1999 Winter Simulation Conference (Phoenix, AZ: 1999)

Zobel, C.W. and W.T. Scherer, “An Application of Simulation for Large-Scale Markov Decision Processes to a Problem in Telephone Network Routing,” Proceedings of the 1998 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (San Diego, CA: 1998)

Zobel, C.W. and W.T. Scherer, “Simulation for large-scale Markov decision processes,” Proceedings of the 1998 IMACS International Multiconference, CESA ’98 (Hammamet, Tunisia: 1998) (Invited paper)



“Performance-based decision support system for resilient and sustainable multi-hazard building design,” NSF-RSB. Feb 2015 – Jan 2019. Funding amount: $1.26 Million. PI: M.Flint; Co-PIs: J. de la Garza, M. Eatherton, J. Irish, G. Olgun; Senior Personnel: G. Reichard, R. Leon, A. Rodriguez-Marek, C. Zobel.

“Fostering Community Resilience through Adaptive Learning in a Social Media Age,” 2014 RFFC-ISCE Grant Competition. Mar 2014 – Sep 2015. Funding amount: $20,000. PI: Y. Zhang; Co-PIs: M. Cowell, C. Zobel; Students: W. Drake, Y. Li.

“Geotechnical Survey Strategies for Cost-efficient Ocean Renewable Energy Early Site Characterization,” ICTAS Junior Faculty Collaborative (JFC) Proposal. Jan 2015 – Dec 2016. Funding amount: $119,077. PI: N. Stark; Co-PI: C. Zobel.

“Building a common language around the dynamic resilience of coastal communities,” Virginia Tech Institute for Society, Culture, and the Environment – Global Issues Initiative. Jan 2014 – Dec 2014. Funding amount: $20,000. Co-PIs: C. Zobel, M. Cowell, C.G. Olgun, R. Weiss, Y. Zhang, and M. Ghafory-Ashtiany.

“Sustainable Food Systems: Impacts of Disasters & Relief Efforts on Resilience,” Natural Hazards Center Quick Response Grant Program, Fall 2013. PI: R. Budowle; Co-PIS: J. Mittlestaedt, S. Baker, and A. Arnette (University of Wyoming), C. Zobel (Virginia Tech).

“An Empirical Investigation of the Material Convergence Problem,” Natural Hazards Center Quick Response Grant Program, Fall 2013. PI: A. Arnette (University of Wyoming); Co-PI: C. Zobel (Virginia Tech)

“Sustainable Community Resilience: Establishing a Link between Inherent and Dynamic Disaster Resilience,” Virginia Tech Institute for Society, Culture and Environment. Funding amount: $19,754. Duration: May 8, 2011-June 15, 2011. Co-PIs: C. Zobel, L. Rees, P. Sforza; Student: J. Chacko.

“Collaborative Research: CPATH CB: Living in the KnowlEdge Society (LIKES),” National Science Foundation. Funding amount: $289,999. Duration: 2007-2009. PI: E. Fox; Co-PIs: C. Evia, W. Fan, S. Sheetz, C. Zobel.

“Decision Support to Achieve Watershed Nutrient Balance and Meet Water Quality Goals,” USDA-CSREES. Funding amount: $596,397. Duration: 2007-2010. PI: J. Pease; Co-PIs: D. Bosch, M. Wolfe, J. Ogejo, G. Evanylo, K. Knowlton, N. Franz, C. Zobel.

Co-Director, Virginia Tech’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program in Disaster Resilience

Southeast Decision Sciences Institute Council Member (2015-2017)

Board of Directors, ISCRAM (2013-2017)

Treasurer, ISCRAM (2014-2016)

President – Southeast Decision Sciences Institute (2013-2014)

Secretary of the Board, ISCRAM (2013-2014)


  • Large-scale Stochastic Decision Problems
  • Intelligent Decision Support Systems
  • Knowledge Engineering