Dr Sondoss El Sawah

PG Systems Engineering Program Coordinator & Snr Lecturer-Engineering Management
School of Engineering and Information Technology
+61 2 6268 8098
  • ABOUT
  • PUBLICATIONS

Research Interests

My research program focuses on understanding the behaviour of large complex problems and systemic risks that arise from the interactions between social, ecological, and technological systems. This focus includes how to use this understanding to create computational tools that enable decision makers design and evaluate options to deal with such complexity. To achieve this, I use systems thinking/dynamics based methodologies to analyse complex problems as dynamic and multi-dimensional systems where human cognition is central element to help understand and manage the situation. I have applied these methodologies to address a wide range of problems in both environmental and defence sectors, such as: predicting the impacts of climate change and coal mining on socio-ecological systems, assessment of water allocation plans in the Murray Darling Basin, and lifecycle assessment of large-scale military capabilities. In addition, I have an interest in how to transfer and integrate knowledge from multiple projects and application domains to improve the practice and teaching of system dynamics methodologies.

Background

I started my academic career with a bachelor degree in Computer Science (2002) followed by a Master Science in operations research and decision support systems (2005). In 2010, I completed a PhD degree at University of New South Wales investigating the role of systems thinking and dynamic modelling in understanding and communicating about water resources management. The research has resulted in developing a decision making framework that combines cognitive, dynamic models, and gaming technologies to support public participation in water planning. The framework was used by the water industry as communication tool during the millennium drought. This work was recognized by the prestigous 2010 Best Post-graduate water Prize by the Australian Water Association.

After this, I worked as a Postdoctoral fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University. During this post, I worked on developing and applying systems methodologies to develop integrated environmental models (i.e. combining social, economic, and biophysical models) to support policy design. I worked on a large number of projects covering a wide range of issues, such as Murray-Darling Basin Plan, cumulative impacts of mining, climate change impacts, and food-energy-water nexus. I also served as a supporting junior scientist for the expert panel (including six top world environmental scientists) in CSIRO 2013 Land and Water Division Review.

In 2013, I was promoted to a chief investigator (joint position between ANU and National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training). 

I got a taste of research at the public policy side by having a six month post as a systems analyst at the Bureau of Meteorology, where I got the opportunity to use my experience in developing a systems design process to underpin the development of the Bureau’s national water information products.

Now, I am a senior lecturer at the School of Engineering and Information Technology and Deputy Director of the Capability System Centre (a multi-million dollar industry funded research centre).

I am also an adjunct fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University.

Research topics

  • Systems thinking and modelling approaches
  • Mental modelling and behavioural modelling
  • Stakeholder engagement and social learning
  • Decision Support Systems
  • Integrated and adaptive resource management

 

Professional Services

  • Editor of the Journal of Environmental Modelling and Software (A*)
  • Convener of the 23rd International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM 2019)
  • Guest editor for a Special Issue on “Good Modelling Practices”, Journal of Mathematics and Computers in Simulation
  • Board and founding member of the Journal of Socio-Environmental Systems Modelling (open-access journal)
  • Committee member of the Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand (2013-2017
  • Committee member of the Operations Research Society (ACT Chapter)
  • Organizing committee of the International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM 2015, 2017) 
  • Support member, CSIRO (Land-Water Flagship) 2013 Review Process

 

Book Chapters

El Sawah SA, 2016, 'Incorporating Human Aspects into Groundwater Research and Policy Making: A Soft and Critical Systems Thinking Approach', in Integrated Groundwater Management: Concepts, Approaches and Challenges, pp. 619 - 637, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23576-9_24

Holley C; Jakeman A; Kelly (nee Letcher) R; Ticehurst J; Blakers R; Croke B; Curtis A; Fu B; El Sawah S; Gardner A; Guillame J; Hartley M; Hutchings P; Pannell D; Ross A; Sharp E; Sinclair D; Wilson A, 2013, 'Modelling for Managing the Complex Issue of Catchment-Scale Surface and Groundwater Allocation', in Obaidat MS; Filipe J; Kacprzyk J; Pina N (ed.), Simulation and Modeling Methodologies, Technologies and Applications, Springer Science & Business Media, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-03581-9_2

Journal articles

Moallemi EA; Zare F; Reed PM; Elsawah S; Ryan MJ; Bryan BA, 2020, 'Structuring and evaluating decision support processes to enhance the robustness of complex human–natural systems', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 123, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2019.104551

Moallemi EA; Elsawah S; Ryan MJ, 2019, 'Robust decision making and Epoch–Era analysis: A comparison of two robustness frameworks for decision-making under uncertainty', Technological Forecasting and Social Change, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2019.119797

Hussein A; Elsawah S; Abbass HA, 2019, 'Trust Mediating Reliability–Reliance Relationship in Supervisory Control of Human–Swarm Interactions', Human Factors, pp. 18720819879273, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018720819879273

Zare F; Elsawah S; Bagheri A; Nabavi E; Jakeman AJ, 2019, 'Improved integrated water resource modelling by combining DPSIR and system dynamics conceptual modelling techniques', Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 246, pp. 27 - 41, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.05.033

Moallemi EA; Elsawah S; Ryan MJ, 2019, 'Strengthening ‘good’ modelling practices in robust decision support: A reporting guideline for combining multiple model-based methods', Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matcom.2019.05.002

Hamilton SH; Fu B; Guillaume JHA; Badham J; Elsawah S; Gober P; Hunt RJ; Iwanaga T; Jakeman AJ; Ames DP; Curtis A; Hill MC; Pierce SA; Zare F, 2019, 'A framework for characterising and evaluating the effectiveness of environmental modelling', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 118, pp. 83 - 98, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2019.04.008

Badham J; Elsawah S; Guillaume JHA; Hamilton SH; Hunt RJ; Jakeman AJ; Pierce SA; Snow VO; Babbar-Sebens M; Fu B; Gober P; Hill MC; Iwanaga T; Loucks DP; Merritt WS; Peckham SD; Richmond AK; Zare F; Ames D; Bammer G, 2019, 'Effective modeling for Integrated Water Resource Management: A guide to contextual practices by phases and steps and future opportunities', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 116, pp. 40 - 56, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2019.02.013

Little JC; Hester ET; Elsawah S; Filz GM; Sandu A; Carey CC; Iwanaga T; Jakeman AJ, 2019, 'A tiered, system-of-systems modeling framework for resolving complex socio-environmental policy issues', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 112, pp. 82 - 94, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2018.11.011

Moallemi EA; Elsawah S; Ryan MJ, 2018, 'An agent-monitored framework for the output-oriented design of experiments in exploratory modelling', Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory, vol. 89, pp. 48 - 63, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.simpat.2018.09.008

Voinov A; Jenni K; Gray S; Kolagani N; Glynn PD; Bommel P; Prell C; Zellner M; Paolisso M; Jordan R; Sterling E; Schmitt Olabisi L; Giabbanelli PJ; Sun Z; Le Page C; Elsawah S; BenDor TK; Hubacek K; Laursen BK; Jetter A; Basco-Carrera L; Singer A; Young L; Brunacini J; Smajgl A, 2018, 'Tools and methods in participatory modeling: Selecting the right tool for the job', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 109, pp. 232 - 255, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2018.08.028

Moallemi E; Elsawah S; Ryan MJ, 2018, 'Model-based multi-objective decision making under deep uncertainty from a multi-method design lens', Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory, vol. 84, pp. 232 - 250, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.simpat.2018.02.009

Jnitova V; Elsawah S; Ryan M, 2017, 'Review of simulation models in military workforce planning and management context', Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation, vol. 14, pp. 447 - 463, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1548512917704525

Guillaume JHA; Helgeson C; Elsawah S; Jakeman AJ; Kummu M, 2017, 'Toward best practice framing of uncertainty in scientific publications: A review of Water Resources Research abstracts', Water Resources Research, vol. 53, pp. 6744 - 6762, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2017WR020609

Zare F; Elsawah S; Iwanaga T; Jakeman AJ; Pierce SA, 2017, 'Integrated water assessment and modelling: A bibliometric analysis of trends in the water resource sector', Journal of Hydrology, vol. 552, pp. 765 - 778, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.07.031

Merritt WS; Fu B; Ticehurst JL; El Sawah S; Vigiak O; Roberts AM; Dyer F; Pollino CA; Guillaume JHA; Croke BFW; Jakeman AJ, 2017, 'Realizing modelling outcomes: A synthesis of success factors and their use in a retrospective analysis of 15 Australian water resource projects', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 94, pp. 63 - 72, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2017.03.021

Elsawah S; Pierce SA; Hamilton SH; van Delden H; Haase D; Elmahdi A; Jakeman AJ, 2017, 'An overview of the system dynamics process for integrated modelling of socio-ecological systems: Lessons on good modelling practice from five case studies', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 93, pp. 127 - 145, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2017.03.001

Elsawah S; McLucas A; Mazanov J, 2017, 'An empirical investigation into the learning effects of management flight simulators: A mental models approach', European Journal of Operational Research, vol. 259, pp. 262 - 272, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2016.10.011

ElSawah S; McLucas A; Mazanov J, 2015, 'Communicating About Water Issues in Australia: A Simulation/Gaming Approach', Simulation and Gaming, vol. 46, pp. 713 - 741, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1046878115580410

Kath J; Powell S; Reardon-Smith K; El Sawah S; Jakeman AJ; Croke BFW; Dyer FJ, 2015, 'Groundwater salinization intensifies drought impacts in forests and reduces refuge capacity', Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. 52, pp. 1116 - 1125, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12495

Hamilton SH; ElSawah S; Guillaume JHA; Jakeman AJ; Pierce SA, 2015, 'Integrated assessment and modelling: Overview and synthesis ofsalient dimensions', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 64, pp. 215 - 229, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2014.12.005

Lucena-Moya P; Brawata R; Kath J; Harrison E; ElSawah S; Dyer F, 2015, 'Discretization of continuous predictor variables in Bayesian networks: An ecological threshold approach', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 66, pp. 36 - 45, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2014.12.019

Elsawah S; Guillaume JHA; Filatova T; Rook J; Jakeman AJ, 2015, 'A methodology for eliciting, representing, and analysing stakeholder knowledge for decision making on complex socio-ecological systems: From cognitive maps to agent-based models', Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 151, pp. 500 - 516, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.11.028

Dyer F; ElSawah S; Croke B; Griffiths R; Harrison E; Lucena-Moya P; Jakeman A, 2014, 'The effects of climate change on ecologically-relevant flow regime and water quality attributes', Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, vol. 28, pp. 67 - 82, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00477-013-0744-8

Guillaume JHA; El Sawah S, 2014, 'Fostering assumption-based stress-test thinking in managing groundwater systems: learning to avoid failures due to basic dynamics', Hydrogeology Journal, vol. 22, pp. 1507 - 1523, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10040-014-1153-x

Kelly RA; Jakeman AJ; Barreteau O; Borsuk ME; ElSawah S; Hamilton SH; Henriksen HJ; Kuikka S; Maier HR; Rizzoli AE; van Delden H; Voinov AA, 2013, 'Selecting among five common modelling approaches for integrated environmental assessment and management', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 47, pp. 159 - 181, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.05.005

Iwanaga T; El Sawah S; Jakeman A, 2013, 'Design and implementation of a web-based groundwater data management system', Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matcom.2012.11.009

Iwanaga T; El Sawah S; Jakeman A, 2013, 'Design and implementation of a web-based groundwater data management system', Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, vol. 93, pp. 164 - 174, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matcom.2012.11.009

McLucas A; Mazanov J, 2013, 'Using a Cognitive Mapping Approach to Frame the Perceptions of Water Users About Managing Water Resources: A Case Study in the Australian Capital Territory', Water Resources Management, vol. 27, pp. 3441 - 3456, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11269-013-0357-5

Wang X-J; Zhang J-Y; He R-M; Amgad E; Sondoss E; Shang M-T, 2011, 'A strategy to deal with water crisis under climate change for mainstream in the middle reaches of Yellow River', Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, vol. 16, pp. 555 - 566, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11027-010-9279-1

Wang XJ; Zhang JY; Liu JF; Wang GQ; He RM; Elmahdi A; Elsawah S, 2011, 'Water resources planning and management based on system dynamics: A case study of Yulin city', Environment, Development and Sustainability, vol. 13, pp. 331 - 351, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10668-010-9264-6

McIntosh BS; Ascough JC; Twery M; Chew J; Elmahdi A; Haase D; Harou JJ; Hepting D; Cuddy S; Jakeman AJ; Chen S; Kassahun A; Lautenbach S; Matthews K; Merritt W; Quinn NWT; Rodriguez-Roda I; Sieber S; Stavenga M; Sulis A; Ticehurst J; Volk M; Wrobel M; van Delden H; El-Sawah S; Rizzoli A; Voinov A, 2011, 'Environmental decision support systems (EDSS) development - Challenges and best practices', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 26, pp. 1389 - 1402, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2011.09.009

El Sawah S; El Fattah Tharwat AA; Rasmy MH, 2008, 'A quantitative model to predict the Egyptian ERP implementation success index', Business Process Management Journal, vol. 14, pp. 288 - 306, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14637150810876643

El Sawah SA; Mclucas A; Mazanov J, 2008, 'Water Management in the Australian Capital Territory: Problem Structuring using SODA', ASOR Bulletin, vol. 27, pp. 2 - 12

Conference Papers

Turan H; El Sawah S; Ryan M, 2019, 'Repair priorities in repairable spare part supply systems: a simulation-optimization approach', Canberra, ACT, Australia, presented at 23rd International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 01 December 2019 - 06 December 2019

Turan HH; Elsawah S; Ryan MJ, 2019, 'Simulation-based analysis of military workforce planning strategies', in ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, ACM Press, pp. 68 - 75, presented at the 2019 International Conference, 24 May 2019 - 26 May 2019, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3335550.3335568

El Sawah S; Danesh D; Ryan M, 2019, 'Strategic Asset Planning Decision Analysis: An Integrated System Dynamics and Multi-criteria Decision-making Method', in 29th Annual International INCOSE Symposium, Orlando, presented at 29th Annual International INCOSE Symposium, Orlando, 20 July 2019 - 25 July 2019

Moallemi E; Turan H; El Sawah S; Ryan M, 2019, 'Comparing Implications of ‘Robustness’ and ‘Optimality’ for Decision Support under Uncertainty', in 29th Annual International INCOSE Symposium, Orlando, presented at 29th Annual International INCOSE Symposium, Orlando, 20 July 2019 - 25 July 2019

Elsawah S; Ryan MJ, 2019, 'Systems Thinking Course for Postgradudate Systems Engineering', in Proceedings of 2018 IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering, TALE 2018, pp. 1183 - 1184, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TALE.2018.8615449

Moallemi EA; Ryan MJ; El Sawah S, 2019, 'Towards An Analytical Framework for Experimental Design in Exploratory Modeling', in 2018 Winter Simulation Conference (WSC), IEEE, Gothenburg, Sweden, pp. 455 - 466, presented at Winter Simulation Conference 2018 (WSC 2018), Gothenburg, Sweden, 09 December 2018 - 12 December 2018, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/WSC.2018.8632229

Moallemi EA; El Sawah S; Turan H; Ryan M, 2018, 'Multi-Objective Decision Making in Multi-Period Acquisition Planning Under Deep Uncertainty', in Proceedings of the 2018 Winter Simulation Conference, Winter Simulation Conference (WSC 2018), Gothenburg, Sweden, pp. 1334 - 1345, presented at Winter Simulation Conference (WSC 2018), Gothenburg, Sweden, 09 December 2018 - 12 December 2018, http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/WSC.2018.8632316

Turan H; Moallemi E; El Sawah S; Ryan M, 2018, 'A simulation-based optimisation for a military fleet-transition problem', in CIE48 Proceedings, 2-5 December 2018, The University of Auckland, INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COMPUTERS & INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING, Auckland, New Zealand, presented at INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COMPUTERS & INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING, Auckland, New Zealand, 02 December 2018 - 05 December 2018

Moallemi E; Elsawah S; Ryan MJ, 2018, 'Towards an Integrated Approach for Multi-objective Decision Making Under Uncertainty', in Towards an Integrated Approach for Multi-objective Decision Making Under Uncertainty, Engineers Australia, Sydney, pp. 119 - 133, presented at Systems Engineering / Test and Evaluation Conference SETE2018, Sydney, 30 April 2018 - 02 May 2018

Turan H; El sawah S; Moallemi E; Ryan M, 2018, 'Optimizing acquisition strategies for high-value assets via simulation-based genetic algorithm', in Systems Engineering / Test and Evaluation Conference, Engineers Australia, Sydney, pp. 301 - 310, presented at Systems Engineering / Test and Evaluation Conference (SETE2018), Sydney, 30 April 2018 - 02 May 2018

Lai S; El Sawah S; Ryan M, 2018, 'A Prototype Model for Evaluating Decision Options for Recruitment and Employment of Women in Defence', in Systems Engineering / Test and Evaluation Conference, Engineers Australia, Sydney, pp. 311 - 324, presented at Systems Evaluation Test and Evaluation Conference 2018: Unlocking the Future Through Systems Engineering: SETE 2018, Sydney, 30 April 2018 - 01 May 2018

El Sawah S; Gordon L; Ryan M; Harris R, 2018, 'Model-based Assessment of the Submarine Support System', in 28th Annual International INCOSE Symposium, 28th Annual International INCOSE Symposium, Washington DC, presented at 28th Annual International INCOSE Symposium, Washington DC, 07 July 2018 - 12 July 2018, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.2334-5837.2018.00489.x

Moallemi E; El Sawah S; Ryan M, 2018, 'Informing the Delineation of Input Uncertainty Space in Exploratory Modelling using a Heuristic Approach', in 28th Annual International INCOSE Symposium, 28th Annual International INCOSE Symposium, Washington DC, presented at 28th Annual International INCOSE Symposium, Washington DC, 07 July 2018 - 12 July 2018

Mouthaan RA; El Sawah S; Ryan M, 2017, 'A Conceptual Model for the Identification of Suitable Personnel to Operate in High-risk, Physically Demanding Environments', in 22nd International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM2017), 22nd International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM2017), Hobart, presented at 22nd International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM2017), Hobart, 04 December 2017 - 08 December 2017

Moallemi E; El Sawah S; Ryan MJ, 2017, 'Dynamic modelling of complex systems under deep uncertainty using an exploratory multi-method approach', in Syme G; Hatton MacDonald D; Fulton B; Piantadosi J (eds.), MODSIM 2017: Managing cumulative risks through model-based processes, The Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc, Hobart, Australia, presented at 22nd International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM2017), Hobart, Australia, 03 December 2017 - 08 December 2017, https://www.mssanz.org.au/modsim2017/documents/MODSIM2017_book_abstracts.pdf

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