Benjamin A. Rachunok (Ben)


R&D Intern, Sandia National Labs: Center for Computing Research (1464)

PhD Student Laboratory for Advancing Sustainable Critial Infrastructure
School of Industrial Engineering
Purdue University

315 N. Grant Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907
(910) 398-7206

Going to SRA?

Me too! If you are a graduate student or early-career professional attending for the first time or just looking to extend your network, come join the Students and Young Professionals session on Sunday at 4pm in the hotel ballroom.

This is the result of lots of hard work from great group of students from diverse academic fields and backgrounds. We have worked hard to to create a welcoming, supportive, and fun environment to help all succeed and thrive!

Or come check out a talk!

  • Tuesday (12-10) at 1:30 in Salons DE for a talk on Twitter and Community Resilience featuring the current state of my dissertation work

  • Wedneday (12-11) at 1:30 in Salon C for a talk on Climate Change Opinions from Twitter to learn about how we are linking climate change tweets to climate change opinion!


Originally from Wilmington NC, I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University. My current research is highly interdisciplinary and focuses on developing data scientific methods for the holistic measurements of community resilience in anticipation and response to major natural hazards. In a nutshell, I am developing algorithms which use social media as a source of data to predict how communities will be impacted by major natural disasters. In the future, I am interested in expanding this research into a variety of places:

  • How do statistical and optimization tools used for supporting disaster response contribute to social inequality?

  • How can renewable energy production and storage be utilized to build electrical transmission and distribution systems robust to natural disasters?

  • How can we make predictions about how a disaster imapcts a community if we have no data? Emblamatically: what happens when a blizzard hits Miami?

Prior to my doctoral work, I received my undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at North Carolina State University. I additionally currently work in an optimization and data science group at Sandia National Labs as an R&D intern, working to large-scale probabilistic optimization methods for the integration of renewables into unit-commitment planning. More to come here as we work to get our code open sourced!

I will complete my degree in the Spring or Summer of 2020, with the intention of pursuing a postdoc or faculty position at an R1 school upon graduation. You can find me annually attending the Society of Risk Analysis Annual Meeting (Arlington, VA. Dec. 2019), the INFORMS Annual Meeting (Seattle, WA. Oct/Nov. 2019) and the IISE Annual Conference (Orlando, FL. May 2019). You can often find me out running, rock climbing, camping, or grilling (in the summer, those frequently happen all at once). I've lived all over the US, and once road-tripped to New Mexico sleeping in a bed I built in my 2008 Honda Fit.


Publications (present/upcoming)

  • 2019

    • Twitter and Disasters: a Social Resilience Fingerprint. Rachunok, Bennett, Nateghi IEEE Access 2019

    • The Sensitivity of Electric Power Infrastructure Resilience to the Spatial Distribution of Disaster Impacts. Rachunok, Nateghi. Reliability Engineering & System Safety (In Press). 2019.

    • Evaluation of Parametric Wind Power Scenarios. Rachunok, Staid, Watson, Woodruff. (Under Review, Wind Energy)

    • A Path Forward for Leveraging Social Media to Improve the Study of Community Resilience. Rachunok, Bennett, Flage, Nateghi. (Under Review, Risk Analysis).

    • Decoding Regional Climate Attitudes by Integrating Social Media and Survey Data. Bennett, Rachunok, Flage, Nateghi. (Under Review, Risk Analysis)

    • Asymmetric temperature response of electricity demand points to severe underestimation of load projections inĀ  California. Kumar, Rachunok, Silva, Nateghi. (Under Review, Nature Communications)

  • 2016

    • Rachunok BA, Mayorga ME, 2016. UAVs Provide Lifesaving Medical Care. Proceedings of the 2016 IIE Annual Conference, May 2016. Manuscript Copy

in preperation

  • Improved Assessment of Sustainability: Away from Ad Hoc Rankings. Paulvannan, Obringer, Rachunok, Nateghi. (November 2019)

  • Appraisal Theory in Community Resilience. Rachunok, Zhu, Nateghi. (February 2020).

  • The Cost of Poisson Assumptions in Hurricane Risk Models. Rachunok, Staid, Nateghi. January 2020).


  • IE590/EEE595, Risk & Decision Analytics, Dr. Roshi Nateghi, Spring 2018

  • IE 431, Industrial Engineering Design, Dr. Barrett Caldwell, Fall 2017

  • IE 431, Industrial Engineering Design, Dr. Harsha Honnappa, Spring 2017

  • IE 343, Engineering Economic Analysis, Dr. Jose Tanchoco, Fall 2016

  • E115 Spring 2015 - Spring 2016, NCSU


  • BS, Industrial & Systems Engineering, North Carolina State University, May 2016.