2016-11-23

New paper: Traffic Games: Modeling Freeway Traffic with Game Theory

We apply game theory to a vehicular traffic model to study the effect of driver strategies on traffic flow. The resulting model inherits the realistic dynamics achieved by a two-lane traffic model and aims to incorporate phenomena caused by driver-driver interactions. To achieve this goal, a game-theoretic description of driver interaction was developed. This game-theoretic formalization allows one to model different lane-changing behaviors and to keep track of mobility performance. We simulate the evolution of cooperation, traffic flow, and mobility performance for different modeled behaviors. The analysis of these results indicates a mobility optimization process achieved by drivers’ interactions.

Cortés-Berrueco LE, Gershenson C, Stephens CR (2016) Traffic Games: Modeling Freeway Traffic with Game Theory. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0165381. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165381

2016-09-25

On Discrimination, Prejudice, and Ignorance

With the recent refugee wave from countries with a Muslim majority, we have been flooded by a wave of fear-fueled propaganda against them. Muslims treat their women badly. Muslims are violent. Muslims are this, Muslims are that. The Koran says this, the Koran says that. Europe is not what it used to be, it is getting full of Muslims. After living four years in Brussels and dealing with plenty of Moroccans and Turks, these clichés never matched my experience. I teach that science has flourished and been repressed in Muslim and Christian countries at different epochs, so the obstacle has been not so much the religion but how the institutions use a religion. Just like Jihadists use Islam to promote their agenda, you can interpret other texts for your own ends, and then you have Nazism and the KKK. Humanism and reason should be beyond religions. But the Koran says kill all the infidels. And the Bible says kill all the blasphemous. It is true that terrorists groups are using Islam to brainwash terrorists. But these are very similar to the Mexican youth convinced to work and kill for the cartels: no life alternatives, fake goals imposed by the media, no future. It is the conditions, not Islam which breeds assassins.

I would like to share an episode from yesterday. We arrived at Brussels South station, lots of luggage. Took a taxi, the driver suggested to take an alternative route, because of road works. My first thought: he is taking us for a ride to charge more (this not because he was Moroccan, but because that is the cliché of taxi drivers in Mexico), so I was alert on the roads and turns he was taking. Finally arrived at our friends' place, no problem. A couple of hours later, we realized we had left three bags in the taxi's back seat. Again, images of Mexican clichés made me wonder about whether we would see the bags and the precious toys of our daughters within again. So I took a public bike back to the South Station, and told my story in subpar French to other Moroccan drivers. Looking at the roster of drivers of the day and asking about the driver, they started making calls. First one didn't remember, didn't find anything. Second one, no didn't go in our direction. Who else could be? A third one. No. The fourth was the one, Hamid, and he had our bags. Relief. He was on a ride to Charleroi so would take him some time to return, but told me to write his number and call him in an hour. So I waited, called, met him, got the bags. Gave him a banknote as a token of thankfulness, he smiled, told he wasn't necessary, I insisted, and he took it. Then called me back, telling it was too much, that he could give me change. I insisted. He called back, finally offering us a free ride on our way back. I loaded a public bike and rode back to our friends' place, unaffected by the heavy traffic that the road works Hamid warned us about were causing.

Note that not only Hamid was helpful. All the other Moroccan drivers were. They could have been impatient with my French, or rude, or uninterested. But they weren't. They could help me and they did. And this is not surprising because they are Muslim or from Muslim origin. It is not surprising because they are humans. And just like that, we should not be surprised that most people, independently of their origin or religion, will be humanistic and empathic. Unfortunately, depending on the propaganda we are exposed to, we can become intolerant and hateful, and that is why we have had Inquisition, holy wars, and genocides. It is ignorance we must fight against, not any religion or people.


2016-09-08

New draft: Adaptive Cities: A Cybernetic Perspective on Urban Systems

Cities are changing constantly. All urban systems face different conditions from day to day. Even when averaged regularities can be found, urban systems will be more efficient if they can adapt to changes at the same speeds at which these occur. Technology can assist humans in achieving this adaptation. Inspired by cybernetics, we propose a description of cities as adaptive systems. We identify three main components: information, algorithms, and agents, which we illustrate with current and future examples. The implications of adaptive cities are manifold, with direct impacts on mobility, sustainability, resilience, governance, and society. Still, the potential of adaptive cities will not depend so much on technology as on how we use it.

Adaptive Cities: A Cybernetic Perspective on Urban Systems
Carlos Gershenson, Paolo Santi, Carlo Ratti
http://arxiv.org/abs/1609.02000


2016-05-18

Postdoctoral Fellowships at UNAM

//Please forward to whom may be interested.



The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has an open call for postdoctoral fellowships to start in March 1st, 2017. 

Candidates should have obtained a PhD degree within the last three years and be under 36 years, both to the date of the beginning of the fellowship.



The area of interests of candidates should fall within complex systems, artificial life, information, evolution, cognition, robotics, and/or philosophy.

 Interested candidates should send CV and a tentative project/research interests (1 paragraph) to cgg-at-unam.mx by Monday, June 13th (paperwork has to be made before the end of June). 

Postdoctoral fellowships are between one and two years (after renewal).
 Spanish is not a requisite.
 Accepted candidates would be working at the Computer Science Department (http://turing.iimas.unam.mx ) of the IIMAS (http://www.iimas.unam.mx ), and/or at the Center for Complexity Sciences (http://c3.unam.mx/ ), both at UNAM's main campus.
To know more about UNAM, visit http://turing.iimas.unam.mx/~cgg/unam.html



More information at http://dgapa.unam.mx/html/posdoc/posdoc.html [in Spanish].



2016-03-15

Improving Urban Mobility by Understanding its Complexity

Urban mobility systems are composed multiple elements with strong interactions, i.e. their future is co-determined by the state of other elements. Thus, studying components in isolation, i.e. using a reductionist approach, is inappropriate. I propose five recommendations to improve urban mobility based on insights from the scientific study of complex systems: use adaptation over prediction, regulate interactions to avoid friction, use sensors to recover real time information, develop adaptive algorithms to exploit that information, and deploy agents to act on the urban environment.

Improving Urban Mobility by Understanding its Complexity
Carlos Gershenson
http://arxiv.org/abs/1603.04267

2016-02-22

Final CfP: ALife XV

ALife XV: The Fifteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems will take place in Cancun, Mexico, on July 4-8, 2016. 



The deadline for paper and abstract submissions was extended to February 29th. This extension is final. All accepted contributions will be published by MIT Press as open online proceedings. There are two submission options: Full papers (8 pages) should report on new, unpublished work. Extended abstracts (2 pages) can report on previously published work, but offer a new perspective on that work. Submitted or novel work is also acceptable for abstracts.
Accepted works will be selected as oral or poster presentations.
Submissions can be made also for a Special Session on ALife and Society. The Call for Artworks is out. Accepted Workshops and Tutorials will be announced soon.
We are happy to announce that our keynote speakers cover a wide variety of topics and include Randall BeerEzequiel Di PaoloStuart KauffmanFrancisco C. SantosLinda Smith and Antonio Lazcano. We are also honored to have an artistic premier by Ken Rinaldo, whose artworks have extensively explored the intersection of life and technology.

Important dates:

Submission of papers or abstracts: February 14th 29th, 2016
Notifications: March 25th, 2016
Camera-ready versions April 24th, 2016

Details of submissions at: http://xva.life/?page_id=349
Early-bird membership registration is already available (until April 10th). You can find registration costs and more information about the event at http://xva.life 
 
Website: http://xva.life  
Social media: Twitter | Facebook

2015-12-04

Postdoctoral Fellowships at UNAM

//Please forward to whom may be interested.



The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has an open call for postdoctoral fellowships to start in September, 2016. 

Candidates should have obtained a PhD degree within the last three years and be under 36 years, both to the date of the beginning of the fellowship.



The area of interests of candidates should fall within complex systems, artificial life, information, evolution, cognition, robotics, and/or philosophy.

 Interested candidates should send CV and a tentative project/research interests (1 paragraph) to cgg-at-unam.mx by Monday, February 8th (if starting in September 2016, otherwise in the coming months, there will be a later call for March, 2017 with a summer deadline). 

Postdoctoral fellowships are between one and two years (after renewal).
 Spanish is not a requisite.
 Accepted candidates would be working at the Computer Science Department (http://turing.iimas.unam.mx ) of the IIMAS (http://www.iimas.unam.mx ), and/or at the Center for Complexity Sciences (http://c3.unam.mx/ ), both at UNAM's main campus.
To know more about UNAM, visit http://turing.iimas.unam.mx/~cgg/unam.html



More information at http://dgapa.unam.mx/html/posdoc/posdoc.html [in Spanish].

2015-11-02

CfP: ALife XV, Cancun 2016

Paper/ abstract submission deadline: February 14th, 2016
Notification to authors: March 25th, 2016
Camera ready due: April 24th, 2016

The Fifteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems (ALife XV) will be held in Cancun, Mexico on July 4th-8th, 2016.
http://xva.life


We cordially invite you to submit your work in either full paper (8 pages) or extended abstract (2 pages) format. Accepted papers and abstracts will be published by MIT Press as open-access electronic proceedings

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following aspects of Artificial Life:
– Computational humanities/anthropology/archeology
– Evolution of language, computational linguistics
– Bio-inspired, cognitive and evolutionary robotics
– Self-replication, self-repair and morphogenesis
– Artificial chemistry, origins of life
– Cellular automata and discrete dynamical systems
– Perception, cognition and behavior
– Embodied, interactive systems
– Collective dynamics of swarms
– Complex dynamical networks
– Evolutionary dynamics
– Ecological and social dynamics
– Economy/society/social media as living systems
– Methodologies and tools for artificial life
– Living technology
– Applications to nanotechnology, biology or medicine
– Applications to business and finance
– Applications to games and entertainment
– Artificial life-based art
– Philosophical and ethical issues
– Artificial life and education
Calls for Workshops, Tutorials, and Artwork will be announced soon.

2015-09-21

Bioinformatics Research Professor Position at UNAM

The Instituto de Investigaciones en Matemáticas Aplicadas y en Sistemas (IIMAS) of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) has an open call for a research professor position in bioinformatics. This position, aimed consists of renewable one-year contracts with the possibility of tenure after three years.

The aim of these positions is to create a research group in the new campus of UNAM in Mérida, Yucatán, part of the Science and Technology Park of Yucatán.

Application deadline: October 12, 2015.

More details (in Spanish) at this link.

2015-07-27

Paper published: Urban Transfer Entropy across Scales

The morphology of urban agglomeration is studied here in the context of information exchange between different spatio-temporal scales. Urban migration to and from cities is characterised as non-random and following non-random pathways. Cities are multidimensional non-linear phenomena, so understanding the relationships and connectivity between scales is important in determining how the interplay of local/regional urban policies may affect the distribution of urban settlements. In order to quantify these relationships, we follow an information theoretic approach using the concept of Transfer Entropy. Our analysis is based on a stochastic urban fractal model, which mimics urban growing settlements and migration waves. The results indicate how different policies could affect urban morphology in terms of the information generated across geographical scales.

Murcio R, Morphet R, Gershenson C, Batty M (2015) Urban Transfer Entropy across Scales. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0133780. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133780 http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0133780