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In Royal Society open science

The use of machine learning has grown in popularity in various disciplines. Despite the popularity, the apparent 'black box' nature of such tools continues to be an area of concern. In this article, we attempt to unravel the complexity of this black box by exploring the use of artificial neural networks (ANNs), coupled with graph theory, to model and interpret the spatial distribution of building damage from extreme wind events at a community level. Structural wind damage is a topic that is mostly well understood for how wind pressure translates to extreme loading on a structure, how debris can affect that loading and how specific social characteristics contribute to the overall population vulnerability. While these themes are widely accepted, they have proven difficult to model in a cohesive manner, which has led primarily to physical damage models considering wind loading only as it relates to structural capacity. We take advantage of this modelling difficulty to reflect on two different ANN models for predicting the spatial distribution of structural damage due to wind loading. Through graph theory analysis, we study the internal patterns of the apparent black box of artificial intelligence of the models and show that social parameters are key to predict structural damage.

Pilkington Stephanie F, Mahmoud Hussam N


debris, machine learning, structural damage, tornado