Modeling and forecast of socio-technical systems in the data-science age.
Alessandro Vespignani, Northeastern University, Boston (MA, USA) and ISI Foundation, Torino (Italy)
Abstract In recent years the increasing availability of computer power and informatics tools has enabled the gathering of reliable data quantifying the complexity of socio-technical systems. Data-driven computational models have emerged as appropriate tools to tackle the study of contagion and diffusion processes as diverse as epidemic outbreaks, information spreading and Internet packet routing. These models aim at providing a rationale for understanding the emerging tipping points and nonlinear properties that often underpin the most interesting characteristics of socio-technical systems. Here I review some of the recent progress in modelling contagion and epidemic processes that integrates the complex features and heterogeneities of real-world systems.
Biography Alessandro Vespignani is Sternberg Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University in Boston, where he leads the Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical Systems. He is fellow of the American Physical Society, member of the Academy of Europe, and fellow of the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences at Harvard University. He is also serving in the board/leadership of a variety of journals and the Institute for Scientific Interchange Foundation. He is president elected of the Complex Systems Society. Vespignani is focusing his research activity in modeling diffusion phenomena in complex systems, including data-driven computational approaches to infectious diseases spread.
Gäbe es Gott nicht – man müsste ihn erfinden. Denn die Entwicklung der gesellschaftlichen Zivilisation erfordert Mechanismen, die Kooperation und soziale Ordnung fördern. Und einer dieser Mechanismen beruht auf der Idee, dass alles, was wir tun, von Gott gesehen wird und dass unsere guten Taten dereinst belohnt, die schlechten aber bestraft werden. Das Informationszeitalter befeuert nun den Traum, dass gottgleiche Allwissenheit und Allmacht von Menschenhand geschaffen werden kann. Die Diskussion der Chancen und Risiken eines solchen Zeitalters ist Gegenstand dieses Beitrags.
Historically, when a wildfire, earthquake or hurricane strikes, people seek information from authorities. Today, however, with every disaster event, we learn of new and accelerated ways in which people not only seek information beyond official sources, but also how they produce and share it with neighbors, friends, and strangers.
SFI's 2013 Community Lecture series debuts Thursday evening, March 14, with Leysia Palen describing how victims, observers, even “citizen-responders” are using social computing technology like Twitter, Open Street Maps, and other platforms to innovate new ways to participate in disaster response. Then, through examples from events over the past few years, Palen will discuss the implications for emergency response and society at large.
Palen is an associate professor of computer science and director of Project EPIC (Empowering the Public with Information during Crisis) at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The lecture takes place March 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Greer Garson Theater (1600 St. Michaels Drive) in Santa Fe. SFI Community Lectures are free and open to the public, but seating is limited.
The 2013 SFI Community Lecture series is made possible by Los Alamos National Bank.
SFI’s Community Lectures offer a window into the Institute’s research to understand the common patterns in physical, computational, biological, and social complex systems that underlie the most profound issues facing science and society today.
Thursday, May 9, 7:30 p.m., James A. Little Theater, “The Minds of Children,” Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy, UC Berkeley, and author.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society.
swissnex Boston took the lead and organized a high-level international dialogue on science and policy in partnership with the Consulate General of Japan and STS forum at swissnex. Participants included Dr. Rita Colwell (former NSF Director), Koji Omi (Chairman STS forum; former Science + Finance Minister of Japan), Dr. Barbara Haering (European Research and Innovation Area Board), Dr. Eric Mazur (Dean, Harvard), Dr. Alexander Zehnder (former President ETH Board), Dr. Dirk Helbing (FuturICT) and Dr. Adrian Ionescu (Guardian Angels) among the 60 participants.
3rd Summer School on Statstics Physics of Complex and Small Systems
Statistical Physics, which was born as an attempt to explain thermodynamic properties of systems from its atomic and molecular components, has evolved into a solid body of knowledge that allows for the understanding of macroscopic collective phenomena. One of the largest successes of Statistical Physics has been the development of paradigms, stylized simplified models that capture the essential ingredients, for a wide variety of phenomena. These paradigms have allowed not only the understanding of the systems by themselves but also that many apparently different behaviors are just different manifestations of the same collective phenomena. The tools developed by the Statistical Physics together with the Theory of Dynamical Systems are of key importance in the understanding of Complex Systems which are characterized by the emergent and collective phenomena of many interacting units. In particular the understanding of small systems, in which fluctuations are typically large, benefits from Statistical Physics body of knowledge. In addition, small systems fuel the development of new techniques and provide the ground to test predictions at a very deep level.
While the traditional basic body of knowledge of Statistical Physics is well described in textbooks and typically at an undergraduate or master level, the applications to Complex and Small Systems are well beyond the scope of those textbooks. The Summer School on these topics aims at bridging the gap between the master level and the necessities of PhD students working on these fields.
This will be the 3rd edition of the Summer School on Statistical Physics of Complex and Small Systems and will follow the same spirit and concept that the precedent succesful editions (Palma de Mallorca 2011 and Benasque 2012)
The school will take place from September 2 to 13, 2013. During these two weeks there will be a total of six courses (three courses per week). All courses will have both a blackboard and a practical part with opportunities for the interaction with lecturers. Some short seminars will also be given by invited guests and students will be welcome to present their research.
In this 3rd edition the following courses will be taught:
First week:Stochastic Thermodynamics, Horacio Wio, Instituto de Física de Cantabria (CSIC-UC), Spain.Computational Statistical Mechanics; Christoph Dellago, University of Vienna, Austria.Statistical Physics of soft and hard interfaces; Rodolfo Cuerno, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain.Second weekEvolution and Statistical Mechanics; Susanna Manrubia, Centro de Astrobiología (INTA-CSIC), Spain.Complexity and Chaos, Antonio Politi, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom.Complex Networks and Network Inference; Roger Guimerà, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain.
There is no registration fee to attend the school. The number of participants is limited to 25-30 students from any country. Students are required to attend the full two weeks of duration of the school. Lectures will be taught in English.
Due to the limited number of participants we ask the applicants to provide a brief statement of motivation, current status, and a short list of academic and scientific merits in the online registration form so that the Scientific Commitee can select ideal candidates.
We have a limited number of grants available to cover accommodation (partial or total), breakfast, and lunch in Castro Urdiales. If you want to apply for a grant, please indicate explicitly that you wish to be supported in the online registration form. Grants will be awarded on the basis of the information provided with the registration. Accepted candidates who cannot be supported with school budget will be required to cover their accommodation and living expenses.
The deadline for application/registration is June 14, 2013.
This Ph.D. School is intended for postgraduate students primarily from European countries (but students from other countries are also invited to apply) and offers four coherent lecture courses, taught by experts in each field, on:
I. Foundations of Complexity Science
Steven Bishop (London) Tassos Bountis (Patras) David K. Campbell (Boston) Gregoire Nicolis (Brussels)
II. Complex Networks: Theory and Applications
Panos Argyrakis (Thessaloniki) Barouch Barzel (Boston) Jeff Johnson (London)
Rosaria Conte (Rome) Dirk Helbing (Zurich) Klaus Mainzer (Munich)
The School is dedicated to the memory of Professor John S. Nicolis A special poster competition will take place and a "John S. Nicolis prize" will be awarded to the student with the best poster presentation.
WHERE: MIT Media Lab, E14-6th Floor, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 WHEN: Thursday, February 14, 2013 Main Topics for discussion will be: We will highlight `state of the art' work within the US and EU for building a `Nervous System for Humanity' combining world-wide sensing, human behavior modeling, and responsive large scale infrastructure systems. Discussions will be around alignment of EU projects in this area with those in the USA, perhaps setting a common agenda under the EU Horizon 2020 umbrella.
1. MIT (Connection Center and Engineering & Mit Media Lab)
his seminar series is held in collaboration with the Institute for Science and Ethics, an Oxford Martin School Institute
The challenges of the 21st century are vast - wide in range, global in scale, and complex in nature - and many of them are being addressed directly by researchers in the Oxford Martin School. This seminar series will interrogate the science, ethics and social implications arising from some of the most exciting academic research going on at the School. The series will feature academics who are working to address critical global challenges, from healthcare to resource scarcity and climate change to financial risk, and ethicists who are trying to identify, understand and inform the ethical and societal implications of such research. Together, they will explore the ethical dimensions of cutting-edge and ground-breaking work, and reflect on what kinds of practical safeguards, policy frameworks or public opinions should be considered in these contexts.
Join in on Twitter - #omsethics
All the seminars are free and open to all; however booking is recommended. Sandwich lunch provided.
Read the news story about the seminar series here
Where do you draw the ethical line between innovation and regulation? Add your comment to our latest blog
Events in this series:DateDetails
01 Feb 201312:00"Resource stewardship – can we develop a new common sense morality?" by Prof Myles Allen
08 Feb 201312:00"Killing with computers – the ethics of autonomous and remote controlled weapons" by Dr Alex Leveringhaus and Dapo Akande
15 Feb 201312:00"Ethics and infectious disease – navigating the moral maze of pandemic control" by Prof Paul Klenerman
22 Feb 201312:00"Ethics and plant science – improving food yields in a changing environment" by Prof Jane Langdale & Prof Liam Dolan
01 Mar 201312:00"Geoengineering – the problem of competing values in environmental and technological governance" by Prof Steve Rayner
08 Mar 201312:00"Nanomedicine – time to bridge the gap from experimental science to product regulation" by Dr Sonia Trigueros
FuturICT Meeting @MIT Connection Science and Engineering
A FuturICT (www.futurICT.eu) workshop will be held at the Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from February 13th-14th 2013. The meeting is organized along with the AAAS meeting (http://www.aaas.org/meetings/2013/) and co-sponsored by the MIT Connection Science and Engineering, a virtual center including MIT Media Lab, CSAIL, and LIDS.
Netexplo is an independent global observatory for information and analysis on the issues in the ongoing digital revolution.
FuturICT is in The Netexplo 100 for 2013
Every year the Netexplo global observatory of digital innovations identifies the latest and most promising projects and experiments on every continent through its international network of more than 200 spotters. This initial material, comprised of several hundred projects, companies and technologies, is then analyzed in greater depth. A college of international experts next selects the 100 most interesting cases, forming the annual Netexplo 100. Finally, a jury comprised of independent personalities from the academic world, research and international organisations elect the Grand Prix from those 10 award winners. The Grand Prix trophy is announced and given out at the Netexplo Forum. From new uses of the Web to groundbreaking technologies from research labs, as well as associations, NGOs or businesses that are transforming markets, every aspect of the ongoing digital revolution is covered. That’s why research that is still at the lab stage but has positive potential impact on lifestyles or an application that is already available can generate the same interest. Similarly, the Netexplo 100 lists futuristic applications on the verge of science-fiction alongside original, low-tech innovations using widely available technologies that deliver a socially useful function to a given audience.
The Millennium Project was established in 1996 as the first globalized think tank. It conducts independent futures research via its 46 Nodes around the world. Nodes are groups of individuals and institutions that select thought leaders and scholars in their country or region to participate in globally significant research and feed back the results. They connect global and local perspectives. The Millennium Project is supported by UN organizations, multinational corporations, universities, foundations, and governments. It is a global information utility for decision-makers and educators facing some of the biggest challenges in human history, such as climate change, water and energy, globalization, science & technology, rich-poor gaps, security, ICT, management, and ethics. It updates and improves insights on the progress and regress of critical issues. It is the only global futures resource produced by a really global system. The Millennium Project was a 2012 ComputerWorld Honors Laureate for its innovated work in collaborative information systems to benefit humanity.
International Conference on Policy Making 2.0- 17 - 18 June 2013 Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Join us in Dublin to explore the emerging technologies and trends that are changing the way policy is made. The FP7 Crossover Conference will be held directly before the Digital Agenda Assembly on 17th & 18th June at Trinity College
What will be discussed?
Open and big dataVisual analyticsModelling and simulationCollaborative Governance and CrowdsourcingSerious GamingOpinion Mining
Invited speakers include:
Miguel Gonzalez Sancho, Member of Cabinet of VP Kroes (keynote speaker)
Emer Coleman, former Deputy Director of UK Government Digital Service
Alberto Cottica, Policy-Making powered by Networks
Igor Mayer, Serious games for policyEliot Rich, Systems Thinking, System Dynamics, and Group Decision Support
Anna Carbone, FuturICT
Jed Shilling, Millennium Institute
Enter Your Application for the Policy 2.0 Prize!
Best technological approach to policy making wins an iPad! Details coming soon …
Open to everyone with an interest in 21st century policy making.
Talk at UCSB Department of Geography Thu, 05/16/2013 - 12:00pm
Touted as ‘the machine that will predict the future’ or ‘the superconducting supercollider of the social sciences’, the FuturICT research proposal was considered the undisputed front-runner for the EU’s 10-year, € 10 billion euro research prize. The project would have combined ICT, computer science, complexity science and social science with data from a network of sensors circling the globe, to anticipate critical events in the social science domain and provide policy recommendations. A few months ago, amid stunned gasps and condolences from prominent researchers, another project ran away with the prize. This talk will critically review the most ambitious social science project ever conceived and will present some thoughts on the broader scientific and societal dimensions of the FuturICT concept.
Helen Couclelis is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara. With a background in architecture, civil engineering, and urban and regional modeling and planning, she began her career as a professional in Greece. At UCSB she has served as Associate Director of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) and as member of the executive committee of the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS). Her publications range from spatial cognition to urban process modeling and the geography of the information society. Her recent research is increasingly on geographic information science, including the question of prediction and uncertainty in the Big-Data age.
In recent years, analysis of data from social media has provided a wealth of information about phenomena at societal scale, at least to the extent to which interactions, intentions and beliefs measured on-line reflect their real-world counterparts. Data from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Weblogs in general have been used to predict elections, opinions and attitudes, movie revenues, andoscillations in the stock market, to cite few examples. Similar data provided insights into the mechanisms driving the formation of groups of interests, topical communities, and the evolution of social networks. They also have been used to study polarization phenomena in politics, diffusion of information and the dynamics of collective attention.
In parallel, and even preceding the surge in interest towards social media, the area ofAgent-based Modeling (ABM) has grown in scope, focus and capability to produce testable hypotheses, going beyond the original goal of explaining macroscopic behaviors from simple interaction rules among stylized agents.
Although the Complex Networks community, that studies social media, and the ABM community, that simulates society as groups of interacting agents, have similar focus and a large overlap in interests, they are still separated from a profound chasm in their methodological approach. Network scientists have strongly leveraged empirical evidence, trying first of all to reach a consistent, concise description of the network of interactions underlying the system of interest. ABM community, instead, has been characterized by a more generative approach that postulates microscopic/local interactions to explore how they reflect in the macroscopic behavior of the social system.
Both communities could potentially greatly benefit from coming together and trying to reconcile their approaches in order to synthesize agent-based models that are strongly informed by empirical facts and able to produce predictions at multiple scales and resolutions, for which empirical data are presently available.
The Santa Fe Institute and the Universidad del Desarrollo are now accepting applications for a novel education program for graduate students and postdocs – the 2013 Chile Complex Systems Summer School, to be held November 11-21, 2013, in Chile. The program is co-sponsored by the Santa Fe Institute and the Universidad del Desarrollo.
The program offers an intensive twelve-day introduction to complex behavior in mathematical, physical, living, and social systems.
The Chile Complex Systems Summer School is intended for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the sciences and social sciences who seek background and hands-on experience in conducting interdisciplinary research in complex systems.
The twelve-day program consists of lectures, laboratories, and discussion sessions focusing on foundational ideas, tools, open questions, and current topics in complex systems research. These include nonlinear dynamics and pattern formation, scaling theory, information theory and computation theory, adaptation and evolution, network structure and dynamics, ecology and sustainability, adaptive computation techniques, computer modeling tools and specific applications of these core topics to various disciplines. Enrollment is limited to 20 selected students.
No tuition is charged for selected participants. Accommodations and meals are provided. Support for travel may also be available.
Satellite Meeting: GLOBAL COMPUTING FOR OUR COMPLEX HYPER-CONNECTED WORLD
19th September 2013
New science and technology are needed to explore, understand and manage our hyper-connected world. Revealing the hidden laws and processes underlying our complex, global, socially interactive systems constitutes one of the most pressing scientific challenges of the 21st Century.
Integrating complexity science with ICT and the social sciences will allow us to design novel robust, trustworthy and adaptive technologies based on socially inspired paradigms. Data from a variety of sources will help us to develop models of techno-socioeconomic systems. In turn, insights from these models will inspire a new generation of socially adaptive, self-organised ICT systems.
The ultimate aim is to drive a paradigm shift to facilitate a symbiotic co-evolution of ICT and society. Therefore we urge to use the power of information to globally explore social and economic life and discover options for a sustainable future. As the recent financial crisis demonstrates, the systems that we have built to organise our affairs now possess an unprecedented degree of complexity and interdependence among their technological, social and economic components. This complexity often results in counter-intuitive effects driven by positive feedbacks that lead to domino-like cascades of failures. Neither the precepts of traditional science, nor our collective experience from a simpler past, adequately prepare us for the future. It is simply impossible to understand and manage complex networks using conventional tools.
We need to put systems in place that highlight, or prevent, conceivable failures and allow us to quickly recover from those that we cannot predict. We need this insight to help manage our financial markets but also to tackle other risks, such as flu pandemics, social instabilities, or criminal networks. At the same time, policymakers are currently faced with major decisions of how to plan the general infrastructure of services to cope with the demands of the future, and what is more, to do so in a sustainable manner. The same decisions are also posed to individuals who wish to improve their own lives.
Thus it is now the time to switch focus from the system components and their properties towards evaluating their interactions. These interactions are often hard to measure but create collective, emergent dynamics which are characteristic of strongly coupled systems.
Examples of questions to be addressed: What role the hyper-connectivity plays in the emergence of new phenomena and behaviours in economics and society at large? Is the complexity science the necessary path for the comprehension of a radically novel social science? Will social science in its turn pave the way to a sustainable innovation process driven by information and communication technologies? The possible connections though are still unclear. Deep insights and new concepts need to be proposed for the comprehensive understanding and description of this new emerging complex social environment.
SUBJECTS COVERED BY THE SATELLITE and FORMAT
The satellite is a one-day event to be held on Thursday 19th September. At least 5 keynote + invited lectures, plus 10 contributed oral presentations and 10 posters are expected to be included in the final program of the Workshop.
This satellite meeting aims to foster interdisciplinary synergy between the different communities involved in the understanding of techno-socio-economic systems.
The satellite addresses the following Main Conference tracks:
--Foundations of Complex Systems (Complex networks, self-organization, nonlinear dynamics, statistical physics, mathematical modeling, simulation)
--Information and communication technologies (Internet, WWW, search, semantic web)
--Infrastructures, Planning and Environment (Critical infrastructures, urban planning, mobility, transport, climate change, energy and sustainability)
--Social Systems, Economics and Finance (Social networks, game theory, stock market, crises)
PROSPECTIVE LECTURERS (more to be added)
Albert-Laszlo BARABASI (Northeastern University, USA and CEU, Hungary) (*)
Carlos GERSHENSON (Mexico University)
Shlomo HAVLIN (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) (*)
Dirk HELBING (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) (*)
Rosario MANTEGNA (University of Palermo, Italy) (*)
Yamir MORENO (BIFI, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain)
Sandy PENTLAND (MIT, USA) (*)
Stefan THURNER (Medical University Vienna, Austria) (*)
Alex VESPIGNANI (Northeastern University, USA)
(*) To be confirmed
Anna CARBONE (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
Maxi SAN MIGUEL (Univ Ile Baleares, Spain)
Anxo SANCHEZ (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
PUBLICATIONS AND PAPER SELECTION STANDARD
Selected papers will be published in a peer-reviewed Journal addressing mostly a readership in the area of Complexity. Only full-length papers will be considered for publication after a peer-review evaluation by independent experts. (Details regarding paper format and submission procedure to be provided upon notification of abstract acceptance)
18th Annual Workshop on Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents
The WEHIA-COST PhD School on "Agent-based modeling and policy design for financial crises" will be held before the WEHIA 2013 workshop, from June 17th to June 19th.
The School is particularly suited for PhD students, Post-docs and young researchers.
1. "An Introduction to ABM Validation", Lecturer: Pasquale Cirillo,
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
2. (Topic to be defined) ,Lecturer: Domenico Delli Gatti*, Catholic
University in Milan, Italy
3. "Economic models in which crises are endogenous and not acts of
God", Lecturer: Alan Kirman, Université d'Aix-Marseille III, France
4. "Simulation Models on Systemic Risks", Lecturer: Akira Namatame,
National Defence Academy, Japan
5. A fifth Tutorial will be announced soon.
*to be confirmed
A demo and main results of the Iceace model and simulator of the Icelandic economy will be also presented. The Iceace model and simulator has been developed within the research project "Financial instability, credit rationing and business cycles in an agent- based model: The case of Iceland" funded by the Icelandic Research Center (Rannis).
The PhD School will be free of charge for the registered participants of the WEHIA 2013 workshop. The number of seats available is however limited.
Furthermore, a maximum of 10 grants of 320 Euro each will be awarded to selected PhD students and Post-docs to contribute to their accommodation expenses.
HOW TO APPLY:
Grants will be awarded and participants will be admitted on the basis of a CV and research statement (max 2 pages) to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 25th 2013.
Notification of admission and of grants will be sent by April 15th, 2013.
The School is funded by COST Action IS0902 on:"Systemic Risks, Financial Crises and Credit - the roots, dynamics and consequences of the Subprime Crisis".
INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS:
Participants of the PhD School will have a chance to celebrate the independence of Iceland, along with thousands of Icelanders who flock to the center of Reykjavik to celebrate Independence day on June 17th. The highlight of the celebrations is an outdoor concert in the heart of Reykjavik, featuring some of Iceland´s biggest stars in music.
Modern society and larger organizations cannot be efficiently organized without IT-systems. However, not all interactions between humans and IT-systems are successful - for multiple reasons. How do groups of humans in an organization or the whole society interact with IT-systems? Where does the human as a group or individual influence the system and where does it influence us? And how can the increasingly available information about social interactions be used to improve IT-systems, to make them more socially aware?
In this workshop we invite you to reflect about organizations and society and their interactions with IT-systems, from a legal perspective or a political viewpoint, whether you are a computer scientist, a social scientist, an artist, from academia or industry. The workshop is open for all original contributions of maximum 12 pages (LNCS style), which will be peer-reviewed. A publication by Springer in their complex system series is currently under negotiation. As the field is still very dispersed, without a common conference or journal, we explicitly welcome review-like articles which summarize the state of the art on the interaction of society or organizations and IT-systems in your respective field.
The workshop will be held in conjuction with Informatik 2013, the 43rd annual meeting of the Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI) in Koblenz, Germany on September 14, 2013.
WHERE: MIT Media Lab, E14-6th Floor, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 WHEN: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 Main Topics for discussion will be: We will highlight `state of the art' work within the US and EU for building a `Nervous System for Humanity' combining world-wide sensing, human behavior modeling, and responsive large scale infrastructure systems. Discussions will be around alignment of EU projects in this area with those in the USA, perhaps setting a common agenda under the EU Horizon 2020 umbrella.
1. MIT (Connection Center and Engineering & Mit Media Lab)
Dan Braha, PhD Lecturer, MIT Engineering Systems Division
Date: February 11, 2013
Time: Noon - 1 p.m. EDT
Free and open to all
About the Presentation
How can we manage the financial crisis? How do civil unrest, religion, and rumors spread, and how is that related to epidemics and earthquakes? Can human behavior and societal systems be studied in the same way as biological systems and complex man-made systems?
In this webinar, Dr. Dan Braha will demonstrate how the field of complexity research provides clues to these intriguing questions. He will focus on why and how complex socio-economic systems evolve and why these large scale engineering systems fail and offer guidelines that can be applied across industries and organizations around the world.
About the Speaker
Dan Braha, PhD, has contributed to a wide spectrum of research areas. In particular, he has advanced the area of complex systems by introducing novel methodologies for understanding the functionality, dynamics, robustness, and fragility of large-scale socio-engineered, economic, political, and managerial systems. These systems—like power grids, large-scale projects, financial systems, or societal systems—are so ubiquitous in our daily lives that we usually take them for granted, only noticing them when they break down. He is interested in questions such as: How do such amazing technologies, infrastructures, and organizations come to be what they are? How are these systems designed? How do distributed networks work, and why does information in social networks diffuse in a very fast and effective way? How are they made to be robust and respond rapidly to errors? To address these questions, he explores the interplay between biological, physical, and large-scale human-made systems by creating data-driven theoretical and computational models using the tools of statistical physics, sociology, operations research, and computer science.
Dr. Braha is currently a visiting professor at the MIT Engineering Systems Division (ESD). He is a co-faculty of the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), where he conducts research and teaches courses in complex systems, and he is also a full professor at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Prior to that, he was a visiting professor at MIT, a research scientist at Boston University, and a tenured professor in Israel. Dr. Braha has published in various prestigious journals, and edited or authored seven books, including Complex Engineered Systems (with Springer). His work was covered by various national and international news media including The Economist, WIRED, Le Monde, The Huffington Post, and New Scientist. He serves as editor of the Complexity Series at Springer, the area editor of Systems for Research in Engineering Design, and as editorial board member of various other leading journals. He has served on executive committees and as chair at a number of international conferences including the International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS). Dr. Braha is regularly invited to consult with and present his work in international organizations and conferences.
About the Series
The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.
Predictability: From Physical to Data SciencesSaturday, February 16, 2013: 8:30 AM-11:30 AMRoom 204 (Hynes Convention Center)There is a newfound converge between physical and data sciences. The large amount of raw data that society and technology is generating and collecting, combined with the predictive tools of physical sciences, offers unparalleled predictive understanding of social phenomena, affecting domains of inquiry that could not be quantified in the past. The availability of data has lead to the emergence of several new research fields as the boundary of physical and other sciences, resulting in revolutionary advances in understanding complex networks, human mobility, and human dynamics. The tools generated by these are fueling the emergence of network science, computational social science, and digital humanities. This symposium will present how the tools of physical sciences aid our understanding of complex socioeconomic and technical systems. In the spirit of Wigner, we will explore the unreasonable effectiveness of the quantitative tools of natural sciences in social and engineering domains, bringing experts that apply these in various fields outside of physics. In contrast to data mining approaches, which are prevalent in the big data domain, here we focus on uncovering the mechanism and explaining collective phenomena using the predictive tools of natural sciences.
Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Northeastern University
Dirk Helbing, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Towards Simulating the Foundations of Society
Chaoming Song, Northeastern University Limits of Predictability in Human Mobility
Marta Gonzalez, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Understanding Road Usage Patterns in Urban Areas
Alessandro Vespignani, Northeastern University From Human Mobility to Real Time Numerical Forecasts of Global Epidemic Spreading
Dirk Brockmann, Northwestern University Are Pandemics Predictable?
Boleslaw Szymanski, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute On the Influence of Committed Minorities on Social Consensus