FuturICT Journal Publications
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Academic journal publications relating to FuturICT activity
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THE FUTURICT EDUCATION ACCELERATOR

THE FUTURICT EDUCATION ACCELERATOR

 

Education is a major force for economic and social wellbeing. Despite high aspirations, education at all levels can be expensive and ineffective.

 

Three Grand Challenges are identified: (1) enable people to learn orders of magnitude more effectively, (2) enable people to learn at orders of magnitude less cost, and (3) demonstrate success by exemplary interdisciplinary education in complex systems science.

 

A ten year ‘man-on-the-moon’ project is proposed in which FuturICT’s unique combination of Complexity, Social and Computing Sciences could provide an urgently needed transdisciplinary language for making sense of educational systems.

 

In close dialogue with educational theory and practice, and grounded in the emerging data science and learning analytics paradigms, this will translate into practical tools (both analytical and computational) for researchers, practitioners and leaders; generative principles for resilient educational ecosystems; and innovation for radically scalable, yet personalised, learner engagement and assessment.

 

The proposed Education Accelerator will serve as a ‘wind tunnel’ for testing these ideas in the context of real educational programmes, with an international virtual campus delivering complex systems education exploiting the new understanding of complex, social, computationally enhanced organisational structure developed within FuturICT.

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Theoretical And Technological Building Blocks For An Innovation Accelerator

Theoretical And Technological Building Blocks For An Innovation Accelerator

 

Frank van Harmelen, George Kampis, Katy Borner, Peter van den Besselaar, Erik Schultes, Carole Goble, Paul Groth, Barend Mons, Stuart Anderson, Stefan Decker, Conor Hayes, Thierry Buecheler, Dirk Helbing

 

(Submitted on 4 Oct 2012)

The scientific system that we use today was devised centuries ago and is inadequate for our current ICT-based society: the peer review system encourages conservatism, journal publications are monolithic and slow, data is often not available to other scientists, and the independent validation of results is limited. Building on the Innovation Accelerator paper by Helbing and Balietti (2011) this paper takes the initial global vision and reviews the theoretical and technological building blocks that can be used for implementing an innovation (in first place: science) accelerator platform driven by re-imagining the science system. The envisioned platform would rest on four pillars: (i) Redesign the incentive scheme to reduce behavior such as conservatism, herding and hyping; (ii) Advance scientific publications by breaking up the monolithic paper unit and introducing other building blocks such as data, tools, experiment workflows, resources; (iii) Use machine readable semantics for publications, debate structures, provenance etc. in order to include the computer as a partner in the scientific process, and (iv) Build an online platform for collaboration, including a network of trust and reputation among the different types of stakeholders in the scientific system: scientists, educators, funding agencies, policy makers, students and industrial innovators among others. Any such improvements to the scientific system must support the entire scientific process (unlike current tools that chop up the scientific process into disconnected pieces), must facilitate and encourage collaboration and interdisciplinarity (again unlike current tools), must facilitate the inclusion of intelligent computing in the scientific process, must facilitate not only the core scientific process, but also accommodate other stakeholders such science policy makers, industrial innovators, and the general public.

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Systemic Risks in Society & Economics

Many large-scale disasters have a strong human component. They cannot be solved by technical approaches alone, but require an understanding of the collective social dynamics. This is maybe most obvious for financial crises, famines and other shortages of resources, epidemic spreading of diseases, wars and international terrorism, revolutions, or the collapse of trust and cooperation in societies. This contribution presents a summary of how complexity contributes to the emergence of systemic risks in socio-economic systems. It is highlighted that large-scale disasters are mostly based on cascading effects, which are due to non-linear and/or network interactions. Different classes of spreading phenomena are distinguished and illustrated by examples, including the financial market instability. Sources and drivers of systemic risks in socioeconomic systems are analysed, and related governance issues are identified. Typical misunderstandings regarding the behaviour and functioning of socio-economic systems are addressed, and some current threats for the stability of social and economic systems are pointed out. It is shown that linear, experience-based, or intuitive approaches often fail to provide a suitable picture of the functioning of social and economic systems. This leads to the illusion of control and a dangerous logic of failure, which can lead to paradoxical system behaviours, unwanted side effects, and sudden regime shifts. The application of complex systems methods, however, allows one to anticipate, avoid, or mitigate systemic risks and certain disasters resulting from them. It even enables one to use the self-organising, adaptive nature of socio-economic systems to reach favourable system behaviours, which are robust to external perturbations and adaptive to changing conditions

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Modeling Epidemic Risk Perception in Networks with Community Structure

Abstract. We study the inflence of global, local and community-level risk perception on the extinction probability of a disease in several mod- els of social networks. In particular, we study the infection progression as a susceptible-infected-susceptible (SIS) model on several modular net- works, formed by a certain number of random and scale-free communi- ties. We find that in the scale-free networks the progression is faster than in random ones with the same average connectivity degree. For what concerns the role of perception, we find that the knowledge of the infection level in one's own neighborhood is the most e ective property in stopping the spreading of a disease, but at the same time the more expensive one in terms of the quantity of required information, thus the cost/e ectiveness optimum is a trade of etween several parameters. Key words: risk perception, SIS model, complex networks

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A Wake up Call: Information Contagion and Speculative Currency Attacks

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JSTOR: A Global System for Monitoring Ecosystem Service Change

JSTOR: A Global System for Monitoring Ecosystem Service Change | FuturICT Journal Publications | Scoop.it

"A Global System for Monitoring Ecosystem Service Change

 

Dr. Heather M. Tallis, Dr. Harold A Mooney, Dr. Sandy J Andelman,, Dr. Patricia Balvenera, Prof. Wolfgang Cramer, Mr. Daniel Karp, Prof. Stephen Polasky, Dr. Belinda Reyers, Dr. Taylor Ricketts, Prof. Steven Running,, Dr. Kirsten Thonicke, Britta Tietjen and Ariane Walz

 

Earth’s life-support systems are in flux, yet no centralized system to monitor and report these changes exists. Recognizing this, 77 nations agreed to establish the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The GEO Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) integrates existing data streams into one platform in order to provide a more complete picture of Earth’s biological and social systems. We present a conceptual framework envisioned by the GEO BON Ecosystem Services Working Group, designed to integrate national statistics, numerical models, remote sensing, and in situ measurements to regularly track changes in ecosystem services across the globe. This information will serve diverse applications, including stimulating new research and providing the basis for assessments. Although many ecosystem services are not currently measured, others are ripe for reporting. We propose a framework that will continue to grow and inspire more complete observation and assessments of our planet’s life-support systems."

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Complex social contagion makes networks more vulnerable to disease outbreaks

Social network analysis is now widely used to investigate the dynamics of infectious disease spread from person to person. Vaccination dramatically disrupts the disease transmission process on a contact network, and indeed, sufficiently high vaccination rates can disrupt the process to such an extent that disease transmission on the network is effectively halted. Here, we build on mounting evidence that health behaviors - such as vaccination, and refusal thereof - can spread through social networks through a process of complex contagion that requires social reinforcement. Using network simulations that model both the health behavior and the infectious disease spread, we find that under otherwise identical conditions, the process by which the health behavior spreads has a very strong effect on disease outbreak dynamics. This variability in dynamics results from differences in the topology within susceptible communities that arise during the health behavior spreading process, which in turn depends on the topology of the overall social network. Our findings point to the importance of health behavior spread in predicting and controlling disease outbreaks.

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THE FUTURICT FET FLAGSHIP SUBMISSION to the European Commission

THE FUTURICT FET FLAGSHIP SUBMISSION SUMMARY DOCUMENT


FUTURICT is one of the 6 flagships which were funded over a duration of 12 months starting from May 2011.

 

These flagship pilots aim to create a design and description of consolidated candidate FET Flagship Initiatives, including assessment of feasibility in scientific, technical and financial terms.

 

On October 23, the FUTURICT Flagship Pilot presented its integrated research agenda, including the involvement and commitment from key stakeholders to the European Commission. 

 

By the end of 2012 to beginning of 2013, at least two of the Pilots are expected to be chosen to be launched as full FET Flagship Initiatives.

 

FUTURICT is a FET Flagship project using collective, participatory research, integrated across the fields of ICT, the social sciences and complexity science, to design socio-inspired technology and develop a science of global, socially interactive systems.

 

The FUTURICT project will bring together, on a global level, Big Data, new modelling techniques and new forms of interaction, leading to a new understanding of society and its co-evolution with technology.

 

This will place Europe at the forefront of a major scientific drive to understand, explore and manage our complex, connected world in a more sustainable and resilient manner.

The unifying goal of the FUTURICT FET flagship is to integrate the fields of information and communication technologies (ICT), social sciences and complexity science, to develop a new kind of participatory science and technology that will help us to understand, explore and manage the complex, global, socially interactive systems that make up our world today, while at the same time paving the way for a new paradigm of ICT systems that will leverage socio-inspired self-organisation, self-regulation, and collective awareness.

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Nate Silver and the Rise of Political Data Science - Forbes

Nate Silver and the Rise of Political Data Science - Forbes | FuturICT Journal Publications | Scoop.it
For the last few months, the political pundit class has been at war with NYT/FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver.  Joe Scarborough of MSNBC called him a “joke,” while an op-ed in the LA Times accused him of running a “numbers racket.”  The Examiner...
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Panic was not the cause of the Love Parade disaster in Germany: study

Panic was not the cause of the Love Parade disaster in Germany: study | FuturICT Journal Publications | Scoop.it
The ETH socio-physicist Dirk Helbing has examined why the Love Parade in Duisburg, two years ago, ended in disaster.
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The Scaling of Human Interactions with City Size

The pace of life accelerates with city size, manifested in a per capita increase of almost all socioeconomic rates such as GDP, wages, violent crime or the transmission of certain contagious diseases. Here, we show that the structure and dynamics of the underlying network of human interactions provides a possible unifying mechanism for the origin of these pervasive regularities. By analyzing billions of anonymized call records from two European countries we find that human social interactions follow a superlinear scale-invariant relationship with city population size. This systematic acceleration of the interaction intensity takes place within specific constraints of social grouping. Together, these results provide a general microscopic basis for a deeper understanding of cities as co-located social networks in space and time, and of the emergent urban socioeconomic processes that characterize complex human societies.

 

The Scaling of Human Interactions with City Size

Markus Schläpfer, Luis M. A. Bettencourt, Mathias Raschke, Rob Claxton, Zbigniew Smoreda, Geoffrey B. West, Carlo Ratti

http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.5215


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Dragon-kings: Mechanisms, statistical methods and empirical evidence

"Dragon-kings: Mechanisms, statistical
methods and empirical evidence
D. Sornette and G. Ouillon

 

This introductory article presents the special Discussion and
Debate volume “From black swans to dragon-kings, is there life beyond
power laws?”

 

We summarize and put in perspective the contributions
into three main themes: (i) mechanisms for dragon-kings, (ii) detection
of dragon-kings and statistical tests and (iii) empirical evidence in a
large variety of natural and social systems.

 

Overall, we are pleased to
witness significant advances both in the introduction and clarification
of underlying mechanisms and in the development of novel efficient
tests that demonstrate clear evidence for the presence of dragon-kings
in many systems.

 

However, this positive view should be balanced by the
fact that this remains a very delicate and difficult field, if only due to
the scarcity of data as well as the extraordinary important implications
with respect to hazard assessment, risk control and predictability."

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FuturICT - The Road towards Ethical ICT

"FuturICT - The Road towards Ethical ICT

 

Jeroen van den Hoven, Dirk Helbing, Dino Pedreschi, Josep Domingo-Ferrer, Fosca Gianotti, Markus Christen

 

The pervasive use of information and communication technology (ICT) in modern societies enables countless opportunities for individuals, institutions, businesses and scientists, but also raises difficult ethical and social problems. In particular, ICT helped to make societies more complex and thus harder to understand, which impedes social and political interventions to avoid harm and to increase the common good. To overcome this obstacle, the large-scale EU flagship proposal FuturICT intends to create a platform for accessing global human knowledge as a public good and instruments to increase our understanding of the information society by making use of ICT-based research. In this contribution, we outline the ethical justification for such an endeavor. We argue that the ethical issues raised by FuturICT research projects overlap substantially with many of the known ethical problems emerging from ICT use in general. By referring to the notion of Value Sensitive Design, we show for the example of privacy how this core value of responsible ICT can be protected in pursuing research in the framework of FuturICT. In addition, we discuss further ethical issues and outline the institutional design of FuturICT allowing to address them.

 

 

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Complexity Aided Design: The Futurict Technological Innovation Paradigm.pdf

A. Carbone, M. Ajmone-Marsan, K. Axhausen, M. Batty, M. Masera
and E. Rome

 

Abstract. “In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin. It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations. This skin is already being stitched together. It consists of millions of embedded electronic measuring devices: thermostats, pressure gauges, pollution detectors, cameras, microphones, glucose sensors, EKGs, electroencephalographs. These will probe and monitor cities and endangered species, the atmosphere, our ships, highways and fleets of trucks, our conversations, our bodies–even our dreams ....What will the earth’s new skin permit us to feel? How will we use its surges of sensation? For several years–maybe for a decade–there will be no central nervous system to manage this vast signaling network. Certainly there will be no central intelligence...some qualities of self-awareness will emerge once the Net is sensually enhanced. Sensuality is only one force pushing the Net toward intelligence”. These statements are quoted by an interview by Cherry Murray, Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Physics. It is interesting to outline the timeliness and highly predicting power of these statements. In particular, we would like to point to the relevance of the question “What will the earth’s new skin permit us to feel?” to the work we are going to discuss in this paper. There are many additional compelling questions, as for example: “How can the electronic earth’s skin be made more resilient?”; “How can the earth’s electronic skin be improved to better satisfy the need of our society?”;“What can the science of complex systems contribute to this endeavour?”

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Complex social contagion makes networks more vulnerable to disease outbreaks

Social network analysis is now widely used to investigate the dynamics of infectious disease spread from person to person. Vaccination dramatically disrupts the disease transmission process on a contact network, and indeed, sufficiently high vaccination rates can disrupt the process to such an extent that disease transmission on the network is effectively halted. Here, we build on mounting evidence that health behaviors - such as vaccination, and refusal thereof - can spread through social networks through a process of complex contagion that requires social reinforcement. Using network simulations that model both the health behavior and the infectious disease spread, we find that under otherwise identical conditions, the process by which the health behavior spreads has a very strong effect on disease outbreak dynamics. This variability in dynamics results from differences in the topology within susceptible communities that arise during the health behavior spreading process, which in turn depends on the topology of the overall social network. Our findings point to the importance of health behavior spread in predicting and controlling disease outbreaks.

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Forecasting seasonal outbreaks of influenza : PNAS

""Influenza recurs seasonally in temperate regions of the world; however, our ability to predict the timing, duration, and magnitude of local seasonal outbreaks of influenza remains limited. Here we develop a framework for initializing real-time forecasts of seasonal influenza outbreaks, using a data assimilation technique commonly applied in numerical weather prediction. The availability of realtime, web-based estimates of local influenza infection rates makes this type of quantitative forecasting possible. Retrospective ensemble forecasts are generated on a weekly basis following assimilation of these web-based estimates for the 2003–2008 influenza seasons in New York City. The findings indicate that real-time skillful predictions of peak timing can be made more than 7 wk in advance of the actual peak. In addition, confidence in those predictions can be inferred from the spread of the forecast ensemble. This work represents an initial step in the development of a statistically rigorous system for real-time forecast of seasonal influenza." ."

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Global mobility: Science mapped out

Global mobility: Science mapped out | FuturICT Journal Publications | Scoop.it
In a special issue, Nature examines the changing global landscape of research.
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EPJ Driven by Friendship E. Ferrara

EPJ Driven by Friendship E. Ferrara | FuturICT Journal Publications | Scoop.it

Dynamics of Facebook: the structure of the network drives friends to congregate into many small, highly interconnected communities

For the first time, the dynamics of how Facebook user communities are formed have been identified, revealing surprisingly few large communities and innumerable highly connected small-size communities. These findings are about to be published in EPJ Data Science by Italian scientist Emilio Ferrara, affiliated with both Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, USA and his home University of Messina. This work could ultimately help identify the most efficient way to spread information, such as advertising, or ideas over large networks.

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Ein Feuermelder für die Finanzwelt

"Ein Feuermelder für die Finanzwelt Von Gesine Braun

Auf Konjunkturprognosen ist in diesen Tagen wenig Verlass. Ein Team um den Schweizer Risikoforscher Dirk Helbing will das ändern. Die Wissenschaftler sind überzeugt, dass sich ökonomische und gesellschaftliche Krisen mit einem neu entwickelten Simulator präziser vorhersagen lassen."

 

 

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Life as Thermodynamic Evidence of Algorithmic Structure in Natural Environments

In evolutionary biology, attention to the relationship between stochastic organisms and their stochastic environments has leaned towards the adaptability and learning capabilities of the organisms rather than toward the properties of the environment. This article is devoted to the algorithmic aspects of the environment and its interaction with living organisms. We ask whether one may use the fact of the existence of life to establish how far nature is removed from algorithmic randomness. The paper uses a novel approach to behavioral evolutionary questions, using tools drawn from information theory, algorithmic complexity and the thermodynamics of computation to support an intuitive assumption about the near optimal structure of a physical environment that would prove conducive to the evolution and survival of organisms, and sketches the potential of these tools, at present alien to biology, that could be used in the future to address different and deeper questions. We contribute to the discussion of the algorithmic structure of natural environments and provide statistical and computational arguments for the intuitive claim that living systems would not be able to survive in completely unpredictable environments, even if adaptable and equipped with storage and learning capabilities by natural selection (brain memory or DNA).

 

Zenil, Hector; Gershenson, Carlos; Marshall, James A.R.; Rosenblueth, David A. 2012. "Life as Thermodynamic Evidence of Algorithmic Structure in Natural Environments." Entropy 14, no. 11: 2173-2191.

http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/14/11/2173


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Hector Zenil's curator insight, February 15, 2015 3:24 AM

Published in the journal Entropy

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Global Civil Unrest: Contagion, Self-Organization, and Prediction

Global Civil Unrest: Contagion, Self-Organization, and Prediction | FuturICT Journal Publications | Scoop.it

Civil unrest is a powerful form of collective human dynamics, which has led to major transitions of societies in modern history. The study of collective human dynamics, including collective aggression, has been the focus of much discussion in the context of modeling and identification of universal patterns of behavior. In contrast, the possibility that civil unrest activities, across countries and over long time periods, are governed by universal mechanisms has not been explored. Here, records of civil unrest of 170 countries during the period 1919–2008 are analyzed. It is demonstrated that the distributions of the number of unrest events per year are robustly reproduced by a nonlinear, spatially extended dynamical model, which reflects the spread of civil disorder between geographic regions connected through social and communication networks. The results also expose the similarity between global social instability and the dynamics of natural hazards and epidemics.

 

Braha D (2012) Global Civil Unrest: Contagion, Self-Organization, and Prediction. PLoS ONE 7(10): e48596. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048596


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Stability analysis of financial contagion due to overlapping portfolios

Common asset holdings are widely believed to have been the primary vector of contagion in the recent financial crisis. We develop a network approach to the amplification of financial contagion due to the combination of overlapping portfolios and leverage, and we show how it can be understood in terms of a generalized branching process. By studying a stylized model we estimate the circumstances under which systemic instabilities are likely to occur as a function of parameters such as leverage, market crowding, diversification, and market impact. Although diversification may be good for individual institutions, it can create dangerous systemic effects, and as a result financial contagion gets worse with too much diversification. Under our model there is a critical threshold for leverage; below it financial networks are always stable, and above it the unstable region grows as leverage increases. The financial system exhibits "robust yet fragile" behavior, with regions of the parameter space where contagion is rare but catastrophic whenever it occurs. Our model and methods of analysis can be calibrated to real data and provide simple yet powerful tools for macroprudential stress testing.

 

Stability analysis of financial contagion due to overlapping portfolios

Fabio Caccioli, Munik Shrestha, Cristopher Moore, J. Doyne Farmer

http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.5987


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