Addressing the Emergency Ukraine Food Security Crisis Using Mathematical Modeling Through Optimal Distribution of Food Resources


  • Renee Hong Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program Intern
  • Dr. Padmanabhan Seshaiyer Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program Mentor
  • Dr. Byong Kwon Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program Mentor



The ongoing invasion of Ukraine has caused large-scale disruption to global grain markets, which already were unsteadied by the pandemic. Now, close to 900 million people worldwide are food insecure, and many countries rely extensively on Ukrainian grain imports, as a major source of calories. Although Ukraine still produces sufficient grain quantities, many of the country’s railroads have been destroyed and traditional export routes via the Black Sea have been closed. Accordingly, quantifying the resources and costs to export Ukrainian grains via alternate routes is critical. In this project, we use the multi-objective optimization technique for allocating optimal rail-road resources, by optimizing the routes, costs, and times to transport grains across Ukraine. Specifically, we develop a class of mathematical models that increase in complexity and solve them using the software application, AMPL. In future works, we hope to expand our resource allocation and optimization model for food distribution from and to various countries, and potentially apply our model to different resource allocation and distribution problems, such as the distribution of critical medical supplies and vaccines among countries.





College of Science: Department of Physics and Astronomy