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Number 19, June 2011 | |

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Science Beyond Fiction CafĂŠ


ast month (4-6th May) saw the FET2011 conference in Budapest where many researchers from the complex systems community presented their onF! going projects. In addition the conference allowed for researchers working within FET to reflect on wider professional and organisational issues such as funding methods and career development. The Science Cafe sessions were particularly productive. Science Cafe was the meeting place for informal discussions on a number of topics. One discussion turned around how to empower Young Scientists in Europe and the 21st century science in general. Some very interesting notes addressed the concepts of "Crowdsourcing Science", "Mass Online Deliberation", "Quantum Revolution", "Biological Self-Construction", "Synthetic Life" and others, showing some promising paths that might dramatically change the scientific landscape.


The ASSYST/CSS Newsletter will be attentive and reporting the most relevant events regarding "science beyond fiction", starting this week with a detailed report on the Self-Organizing and Spatial Planning Conference held in Istanbul last April, and other news regarding our community. Welcome to the June issue of our Newsletter!

!Dive into the Internet" â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Exihibition at fet!11, 4-6 May 2011, Budapest


-- The ASSYST Team

Complexity and planning: opposition or a fruitful collaboration? Self-Organizing and Spatial Planning Conference, Istanbul April 29-30, 2011 by Ferdinando Semboloni


stanbul, the ancient capital of three worldwide empires, the city of the magnificent Hagia Sophia with its immense dome, symbol of the divine wisdom, where minarets stand up towards the sky, hosted in the Yildiz Technical University, the university campus built on a hill dominating the Bosporus, the AESOP conference on “SelfOrganizing and Spatial Planning”, on 29-30 April.

representation body which brings together the Spatial Planning Schools of Europe. AESOP was established in 1987, and aims to promote the development of the teaching curricula and research related to spatial planning and decision making. Nine research related thematic groups are currently active under the AESOP umbrella, among them the thematic group on “Planning and complexity”.

The title if the conference looks attractive: in it, two topics apparently in opposition, are placed side by side. Selforganization, self-similarity, complex adaptive evolution, and non-linearity are in fact well known and accepted concepts in complex system theory, which are widely applied in the study of social systems. Spatial planning in contrast, is rooted in practice rather than in theory, and is often meant to provide a comprehensive approach for dealing integrated socio-economic problems communities are facing. Moreover, planners say, a better organization and planning that involves the whole system, will address the problems and reduce the inefficiencies in our everyday life. On the contrary, following the conventional notion of a selforganizing feature in complex systems, the latter seem not to need planning. Nonetheless, human organizations show a self-awareness and a reflexive capability which distinguish them from other living systems, as they can plan their own future. The practice of planning, however, has been generally addressed at developing system controls, or designing system desirable future states, both of which do not pay due attention to the self-organizing mechanisms underlying the societal changes. To change this is considered to be the challenge for the scholars participating in the AESOP conference: how to reconcile the need of planning, for a better social structure, with the self-organized character of the social system.

The Blue Mosque, Istambul

AESOP (The Association of European Schools of Planning, ) is the

Gert De Roo, Nazire Diker, and Peter Allen in the entrance of the Faculty of Architecture, Yildiz Technical University.

The group, chaired by Gert De Roo (University of Groningen, the Netherlands), was established in 2005, in Vienna, and has held nine conferences. The last one on “Self-Organizing and Spatial Planning” has been organized in Istanbul by Nazire Diker, (Department of City an Regional Planning of the Yildiz Techical University, Istanbul), who deserves credit for the excellent results achieved. “There is a great desire to consider how complexity thinking might work within planning” Nazire Diker stated in the presentation of the conference. On the one hand, planning could be considered as the emergent result of the collaborative behaviour of human beings. On the other hand, it could use and take advantage from the selforganizing behaviour of social systems. In essence, the desire presented by Nazire can be approached from a dual perspective: how to include planning in complexity and how to include complexity in planning. The first is the point of view of modellers, the second that of planners. Applying complexity theory to the study of spatial systems is an already established field of study. Cellular automata and multi-agent systems are tools widely used to explain and to simulate how the global self-organization emerges from the myriads of local interactions. Less has been done to relate planning practices and theory to these systems, simply because in these simulations, an organization is reached without any external intervention or planning. Nevertheless, systems such as the urban one, are often highly influenced by planning interventions. “Planning interventions can either seriously help or hinder the



emergence of social functionalities and run counter to or in accord with their benefits” stated, indeed, Peter Allen (Cranfield University, UK) in his keynote speech. Peter raised the crucial questions: “If the interacting agents of the urban system produce self-organization, what should planners do? Can they take self-organization into account in making their plans? Can they explore !possible futures" and use these for strategic framework?” Self organizing processes do not necessarily achieve the most desirable state. Market structures, for instance, which are typically understood as self-organizing systems, can exhibit maximum economies of scale, and minimum resilience, which however in certain situations can be socially ineffective or not sustainable. It would be convenient therefore to have the possibility to explore design alternatives and feedback to achieve a better response and resilience for the system. Models based on complexity theory, play a crucial role in the design of alternatives, as instruments of reflection more than as predictive tools. In this stimulating view, it is the continuous interaction with the real world that is the key for connecting knowledge with actions, and models with planning. Continuous learning and experimentation are thus the way to relate planning and complexity. “In a complex world” Peter concludes, “everything is an experiment, and we shall need to continue experimenting”. A handmade ceramic tile in the pronaos of the Mausoleum of Sultan Murad III, Istanbul. A nice decoration with the feature of self-similarity.

But how to include the complexity approach in the urban planning? An answer could be to consider time (and nonlinearity) as an important addition to the planner"s perspective, according to Gert de Roo. “The current perspective to planning is the result of a shift of focus within planning theory and practice from technical rationality to communicative rationality, and is by and large a-temporal”, Gert de Roo stated. As such planners consider very much the here and now, the being, instead of the becoming. This all relates to making decisions we are willing to make as planners about interventions within the physical space. Unfortunately the attention has always gone to the rationality behind these decisions, at the here and now, and not to the flow, emergence and evolution of the situations at hand. If planners would include these phenomena to planning and decision making, planning would become far more adaptive than it has been so far, concludes Gert de Roo. And Adaptive Planning would be the result. To discuss the theoretic premises, several case studies concerning various aspects of urban planning have been presented in the conference. Examples were taken from various region in Europe: Lisbon, the rehabilitation of the illegal settlements; Thessaloniki, Greece, the planning of urban sprawl; Poland, the regional policy; Antwerp, Belgium, the interactions between public and private planners; Maastricht, the Netherlands, the private

partnership process; and Florence, Italy, the emergent strategies and planning of metropolitan area. However the case study of Istanbul has been a key experimental aspect of the conference. Istanbul is in fact a great example of a self-organized, spontaneous development.


The Istanbul map, as in the Hüseyin Kaptan's presentation. Authorized settlements along the coast (yellow), unauthorized settlements (brown) around industrial zones (violet) and the two motorways (black lines)

The city has undergone an enormous effort, to develop from one and a half million inhabitants in 1955 to about 13 millions inhabitants in 2007. These facets were highlighted by Hüseyin Kaptan (Yıldız Technical University), who focused on the possibility of using planning to steer this spontaneous development, while Ay#e Nur Ökten (Yıldız Technical University) presented a more particular but interesting example: that of the self-adaptation of a public organization, the central hospital in Istanbul, to the need of interacting with external actors.

Group photo of the participants in the conference

In conclusion, an exciting event in which scholars, and young researchers hotly debated the various aspects involved in spatial planning and complexity. A lot of work remains to be done, even though the conference has taken an important step towards the integration of spatial planning and complexity. To plan a complex, selforganizing system is in essence a paradox. Though one of the differences between humans and machines, or axiomatic systems, relies on the following: the latter collapse when paradoxes are present, while the former are able to live with, and to draw energy from them for generating new ideas and innovation, as, in spite its contradictions, Istanbul, as an example of a continuously evolving system, teaches us. Website:


Complex Systems and Complex Networks B,C&G%%9.3&+8$%"C&-)123$4&!(7,$17&!911$8&!"C))3&& Paris, July 4th to 16th, 2011



he school will provide in-depth reference courses to a multi-disciplinary audience of researchers and students. The level of lectures will range from introductory to advanced, as attendees are not expected to be familiar with all the fields covered. Lecture topics will address specific complex systems methods and tools and their relevance to various disciplines (physics, biology, computer science, geography, sociology, linguistic, etc.). An emphasis will be given to complex networks both as objects of study and as a framework for modeling social and natural phenomena. Group projects During the school participants will have to conduct a group project to which about 50% of their time will be dedicated. Small size groups will be constituted on the basis of personal motivations. Groups will have to present their project collectively at the end of school. According to group preferences, projects will be oriented towards some particular aspects of complex networks and particular objects: dynamics reconstruction from data, network analysis and visualization (GEPHI), modeling (NetLogo). Distributed computing facilities will be made available for projects (OpenMole), so that projects requiring intensive simulations and processing can be led. Tutorials Specific tutorials (GEPHI, NetLogo and OpenMole) will be given, so that attendees could quickly converge towards the required knowledge on these shared platforms. Each work group will be followed daily by a dedicated teacher, to make sure methodological and technical gaps are filled in. Therefore, no specific knowledge, either in GEPHI, NetLogo or OpenMole is required to attend this school.

This new series of international Complex Systems Summer School (CSSS2011) is organized by the Complex Systems Institute Paris Île-de-France (ISC-PIF), in coordination with the overarching National Network of Complex Systems (RNSC) and & the Complex Systems Institute Rhône-Alpes (IXXI). Our Summer School is also one of the "Thematic School" supported by the CNRS. The summer school will take place in Paris at the ISCPIF: 57-59 rue Lhomond,75005, Paris, France Lectures • Marc barthelemy, CAMS/CEA, France • Nathalie Corson, Laboratoire de Mathématiques Appliquées du Havre, France • René Doursat, ISC-PIF, France • Sebastian Grauwin, ENS Lyon/IXXI, France • Hidde de Jong, INRIA, France (To be confirmed) • Luciano Pietronero, Physics Department, Rome University "La Sapienza", italy • Camille Roth, CAMS/ISC-PIF, France Tutorials and/or group projects following Netlogo Arnaud Banos | Nathalie Corson | Jeremy Fiegel | Sebastian Grauwin |Nicolas Marilleau | Sebastien Rey | Clara Schmitt GEPHI Julian Bilcke | David Chavalarias Open Mole Mathieu Leclaire | Romain Reuillon website:

Young Scientist Award for Socio- and Econophysics to Dr. Santo Fortunato


r. Santo Fortunato, physicist of the Institute for Scientific Interchange (ISI) in Turin (Italy), is this year"s recipient of the “Young Scientist Award for Socioand Econophysics” of the German Physical Society (DPG). The Prize, endowed with 5000 euros, is sponsored by the consulting firm d-fine. Dr. Fortunato was awarded for his far-reaching contributions to the understanding of the structure of complex networks, of the dynamics of social systems and of the statistical properties of citation distributions in science. Dr. Fortunato was born in 1971 in Augusta, Italy, and studied Physics at the University of Catania (Italy). In 2000 he got his PhD in theoretical particle physics at the University of Bielefeld (Germany).


Reading snippets

An interview with Melanie Mitchel “Similarly, today, we have many different pieces of theory related to complex systems, but no one has yet determined how to put them all together to create something more general and unifying.” In Ubiquity

Fleeting antimatter trapped for a quarter of an houri The team working on the Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA) at the CERN particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, have stored atoms of antihydrogen for 1000 seconds – roughly 10,000 times longer than before. In NewScientist

Albert Einstein was right, say scientists, 100 years on After working for half a century and spending £500m, scientists last week revealed that they have detected strange fluctuations in Earth's orbit. Space-time is bent and then twisted round our planet as it rotates, announced researchers with Nasa's Gravity Probe B project. In The Guardian

Secrecy from Resolvability We investigate an approach to physical-layer security based on the premise that the coding mechanism for secrecy over noisy channels is fundamentally tied to the notion of resolvability. Instead of considering capacitybased constructions, which associate to each message a sub-code whose rate approaches the capacity of the eavesdropper's channel, we consider resolvability-based constructions, which associate to each message a subcode whose rate is beyond the resolvability of the eavesdropper's channel.

shifts like the mainstreaming of the Internet or rapid innovations in medicine and genomics, for example, might come to mind. To what degree could anyone have predicted the full impact of such innovations if they were only ever theories on paper—fleshed out but ultimately lifeless? In the HPC In The Cloud

Scientific Communication As Sequential Art This page presents a scientific paper that has been redesigned as a sequence of illustrations with captions. This comic-like format, with tightly-coupled pictures and prose, allows the author to depict and describe simultaneously — show and tell. In WorryDream

Controllability of complex networks The ultimate proof of our understanding of natural or technological systems is reflected in our ability to control them. Although control theory offers mathematical tools for steering engineered and natural systems towards a desired state, a framework to control complex selforganized systems is lacking. Here we develop analytical tools to study the controllability of an arbitrary complex directed network, identifying the set of driver nodes with time-dependent control that can guide the system"s entire dynamics. In Nature

Growth and Optimality in Network Evolution

In arXiv

In this paper we investigate networks whose evolution is governed by the interaction of a random assembly process and an optimization process. In the first process, new nodes are added one at a time and form connections to randomly selected old nodes. In between node additions, the network is rewired to minimize its pathlength.

Simulating Society at the Global Scale

In arXiv

When we think about periods of massively disruptive technological innovations with a worldwide reach, dramatic



Conferences and workshops

ECMS2011 25th EUROPEAN Conference on Modelling and Simulation Krakow, Poland 7 Jun 2011 to 10 Jun 2011 ISIE2011 6th International Conference on Industrial Ecology Berkeley, California, USA 7 Jun 2011 to 10 Jun 2011 CASOS 2011 CASOS 2011 Summer Institute Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA USA 13 Jun 2011 to 19 Jun 2011 ICANN2011 International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks Espoo, Finland 14 Jun 2011 to 17 Jun 2011 PNCW11 4th Annual Political Networks Conference and Workshops Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA 14 Jun 2011 to 18 Jun 2011 ACM WebSci 11 3rd International Conference on Web Science Koblenz, Germanay 14 Jun 2011 to 17 Jun 2011 COLLA2011 The First International Conference on Advanced Collaborative Networks, Systems and Applications Luxemburg 19 Jun 2011 to 24 Jun 2011 CCSS2011 International Workshop on Coping with Crises in Complex Socio-Economic Systems - 2011 ETH Zurich, Switzerland 20 Jun 2011 to 25 Jun 2011 ESHIA-WEHIA2011 The 16th Annual Workshop on Economic Heterogeneous Interacting Agents Ancona, Italy 23 Jun 2011 to 25 Jun 2011 SiCoSSys 2011 Simulation of Complex Social Systems (SiCoSSys 2011)

Colocated with SCSC11 The Hague, Netherlands 27 Jun 2011 to 30 Jun 2011 UK-SNA 2011 7th UK Social Networks Conference University of Greenwich, London 7 Jul 2011 to 9 Jul 2011 ECoMASS-2011 5th Workshop on Evolutionary Computation and MultiAgent Systems and Simulation Workshop (ECoMASS2011) Dublin, Ireland 12 Jul 2011 to 13 Jul 2011 Computational Social Science: Text and Decisions Computational Social Science: Text and Decisions Catania University, Italy 16 Jul 2011 to 23 Jul 2011 CLIMA XII 12th International Workshop on Computational Logic in Multi-Agent Systems Barcelona, Spain 17 Jul 2011 to 18 Jul 2011 ASONAM2011 The International Conference on Advances in Social Network Analysis and Mining Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 25 Jul 2011 to 27 Jul 2011 WISHWell 2011 3rd International Workshop on Intelligent Environments Supporting Healthcare and Well-being (WISHWell"11) Nottingham, UK 25 Jul 2011 to 26 Jul 2011 Game Theory and Society 2011 Game Theory and Society - Models of Social Interaction in Sociological Research ETH Zurich, Switzerland 27 Jul 2011 to 30 Jul 2011 ATOP2011 Agent Technologies for Business Applications and Enterprise Interoperability Liverpool, UK 2 Aug 2011 to 2 Aug 2011



ICEC 2011 Workshop on Robustness and Reliability of Electronic Marketplaces Liverpool, UK 2 Aug 2011 to 2 Aug 2011

ANT2011 2nd International Conference on Ambient Systems, Networks and Technologies Ontario, Canada 19 Sep 2011 to 21 Sep 2011

WICSOC 2011 The First International Workshop on Issues and Challenges in Social Computing (WICSOC 2011) Las Vegas USA 2 Aug 2011 to 2 Aug 2011

ICORE2011 2nd International Conference on Reputation Montpellier, France 19 Sep 2011 to 19 Sep 2011

ECAL11 European Conference on Artificial Life - 20th Anniversary Edition - Back to the Origins of Alife Paris, France 8 Aug 2011 to 12 Aug 2011

MAS&S 2011 5th International Workshop on Multi-Agent Systems and Simulation (MAS&S 2011) Szczecin, Poland 19 Sep 2011 to 21 Sep 2011

WIIAT2011 The 2011 IEEE / WIC / ACM International Conferences on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology Campus Scientifique de la Doua, Lyon, France 22 Aug 2011 to 27 Aug 2011

EPIA.2011 15th Portuguese Conference on Artificial Intelligence Lisbon, Portugal 10 Oct 2011 to 13 Oct 2011

IEEE ICDL-EPIROB 2011 IEEE CONFERENCE ON DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING, AND EPIGENETIC ROBOTICS Frankfurt, Germany 24 Aug 2011 to 27 Aug 2011 SPSD2011 International Community on Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development Kanazawa, Japan 29 Aug 2011 to 31 Aug 2011 ECCS11 European Conference on Complex Systems 2011 Vienna, Austria 12 Sep 2011 to 16 Sep 2011 ICMC2011 2nd International Conference on Morphological Computation ECLT, Venice, Italy 12 Sep 2011 to 14 Sep 2011 OSINT-WM International Symposium on Open Source Intelligence & Web Mining 2011 Athens, Greece 12 Sep 2011 to 14 Sep 2011 PHDVienna2011 PhD Research in Progress Workshop III Vienna, Austria 14 Sep 2011 to 14 Sep 2011

CASON 2011 Third International Conference on Computational Aspects of Social Networks Salamanca, Spain 19 Oct 2011 to 20 Oct 2011 NICSO 2011 Nature Inspired Cooperative Strategies for Optimization Cluj Napoca, Romania 20 Oct 2011 to 22 Oct 2011 CAS AAAI 2011 AAAI Fall Symposium - Complex Adaptive Systems: Energy Information and Intelligence Arlington, VA, USA 4 Nov 2011 to 6 Nov 2011 EUMAS 2011 European Workshop on Multi-agent Systems Mastricht, Netherlands 14 Nov 2011 to 15 Nov 2011 ICAART 2012 4th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal 6 Feb 2012 to 8 Feb 2012 CI2012 Collective Intelligence 2012 MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA 18 Apr 2012 to 20 Apr 2012






PhD PhD position in Physics of Collective Animal Behavior Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse France – June 1, 2011 Teaching/Research Assistant Maitre de conférences / Chaire mixte CNRS, Modélisation des risques en société UMR 6266 IDEES (équipe MTG), Université de Rouen, Dept. de Géographie France – June 22, 2011 Postdoc/Lecturer Postdoctoral position at ENS Lyon, Physics Laboratory: "Dynamics of contact networks" Physics Laboratory, ENS Lyon France – July 1, 2011 Postdoc/Lecturer Postdoc opening in the field of dynamical networks ISI Foundation Italy – July 1, 2011

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-!!&K&-)123$4&!(7,$17&!)"#$,(& Web: RSS: Suggestions: The ASSYST project acknowledges the financial support of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme within the ICT theme of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research of the European Commission.

PhD Estimation of information flows in a sensor network : application to biomedical imaging. GIPSA-lab, UMR 5216 CNRS, Grenoble and Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, Laboratoire de Physique, Equipe "Signaux, Systemes et Physique", CNRS UMR 5672. France – August 31, 2011

-)%,8#:9,)87&,)&,C#7&$*#,#)%6& Jane Bromley, Jeff Johnson, Jorge Louçã, David MS Rodrigues, and Ferdinando Semboloni

!,)8(&79:1#77#)%&59#*$3#%$76&& If you are a Complex System researcher/practitioner and want to share a success story about your work / research please submit it to The story should approximately 500 words (if you want to submit an extended story please contact us) and should be sent in TXT, ODT, RTF or DOC file formats.



ASSYST CSS Newsletter - June 2011 - Number 19