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Number 25, December 2011 | |

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CSS presents a new image while discussing visualization


ast month in Torino, the meeting Visualizing Information in Complex Environments discussed decision making in spatial environments, scientific data exploration, visualization and communication, together with the presentation of software tools allowing to visualize the complex environments in which we evolve, revealing patterns that will support Science and decision making. The meeting is now reported in our pages. Meanwhile, the Complex Systems Society is proud to present its new image, including a beautiful new logo and a new website that maintains the access to the CSS Wiki well known by the CSS members. Our newsletter would not be complete without the conference and job announcements, and the famous reading snippets. All this and much more in our December Newsletter. The new Complex Systems Society Logo

Enjoy! -- The ASSYST Team


New Complex Systems Society Website



he Complex Systems Society is presenting a new image, composed by a new coloured logo (see first page of this newsletter), and a new website, available at In the new website (image on the top) you will be able to find all information regarding our very exciting community, including of course the ASSYST/CSS newsletters, a link to the new CSS Online Community Explorer that maps interactively all CSS members, and more news, announces for conferences, other events and jobs, the CSS Digital Library with a collection of videos from several conferences, and links to the many CSS activities. A special attention is being given to the European Conference on Complex Systems 2012, that is being prepared in Brussels ( ). The new website gives access to all the CSS Wiki functionalities (image on the right), allowing CSS members to be present on the wiki by announcing an event, suggesting news, creating a webpage for an event or a project, and registering their own record in the CSS Who!s Who.

Web: Wiki:


Visualizing Information in Complex Environments Comments by Valerio Eletti

A key concept that was present, sometimes in a non explicit way, in all interventions during the meeting, was a cautious attitude towards the visualization of complex data: any operator should be fully aware that the display is never neutral. Images should not to be mistaken for objective truth, even if intuitive solutions might emerge from diagrams, maps and various representations of complex systems. Useful websites and tools


he international meeting Visualizing Information in Complex Environments organised by ASSYST and FuturICT, was held in Torino, at the Faculty of Architecture - Castello del Valentino, on the 17th and 18th November 2011. A report of the event was published by Valerio Eletti at the Complexity Education Project portal We publish here a synthesis of the article.

Several open source sites and online tools were presented at the international conference in Turin, which may be useful to anyone involved in the study of complex networks applied to urban or mobility problems, medicine or organization, management or economics ...

Modelling of the city. A wide range of representations are available, allowing different perspectives, frequently derived from a cross of different databases. Do not miss two reference sites full of free software, high-impact images and often unpublished examples:

The problem of visualizing massive information is a critical one. Its understanding is essential in a society like ours, producing big quantities of geo localized data. How to gather, analyze, visualize, compress and understand these data is a difficult question, so difficult as the city traffic, the human mobility, the distribution of resources over a territory, or the control of viral or digital epidemics. One thing is sure: the data that we all produce today, as an highly social species that we are, grows at an exponential rate. Consider, for instance, all the data produced in the last decade concerning geo-localized telephone contacts, or on-line shopping, or the satellite mapping of roads, or credit card transactions... We don!t need to be very imaginative to understand that the hyperproduction of data, getting more and more detailed and personalized, depicts a new social ecosystem. More food for thought: most institutions and companies collecting and organizing information work independently, whereas the connection of different databases could help bringing out pattern configurations within data, making it more easily understandable and allowing to be used as leverage to solve concrete problems, such as the city traffic during rush hours, or the management of transnational epidemics. In summary, we can say that the great mass of information we are producing might help solving the problem we have ourselves created: how not to be lost in the apparent chaos of the social cognitive and physical world surrounding us. Reference: Michael Batty of CASA (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis), University College, London. Email:



An infrastructure meeting the challenge of epidemics. The Epiwork consortium ( ), coordinated by Alessandro Vespignani, proposes a multidisciplinary research effort aimed at developing appropriate tools and knowledge needed for the design of epidemic forecast infrastructures, that might be used by epidemiologists and public health scientists.


Personal future. An interesting project presented by Luca Caneparo from Politecnico di Torino, developed at the laboratory laq-tip ( ). A simulation system of territory and its development, aiming to involve individuals and communities, in order to facilitate the discussion of guidelines for the development of the city and territory. Reference: Luke Caneparo - email:

Observing real-time complex dynamics in the Internet. "The Observatorium" tool for automatic gathering and analysis of online messages was experienced during the last presidential elections in Portugal. This work was presented in Turin by Jorge Louçã and Antonio Fonseca from ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute. The system proposes real-time monitoring of multi-level network structures for the study of knowledge generation and opinion dynamics in the Internet. For news on the software used visit the link:

Tracing the evolution of flows of articles on specific topics. Pulseweb, a French consortium including among others the CREA and the Paris Institute of Complex Systems, has developed a software allowing to visualize with great effect historical flows of arguments concerning specific issues. A case study presented by Camille Roth depicted the flows of interest related to the fight against hunger in the world. The Pulseweb site, at , presents a video and dynamic charts and maps.


Gleam - Global Epidemic and Mobility Model A freely downloadable simulator with extraordinary suggestive power for the general public or to policy makers. Main features: Configure the disease highly flexible compartmental model and simulation scenario by setting compartment-specific variables, transitions, environmental effects, initial conditions. Explore the results of the simulation in terms of dynamic maps and charts describe quantitatively That geotemporal the evolution of the disease. Share the user-friendly interface with a broad audience of users, or as non-specific computational modeling expertise is required. Access to the Simulator ASSESS epidemic scenarios, predict infectious disease evolution, manage health emergencies. Link:

Funding independent research proposals. In a networking, multidisciplinary, intergovernmental, noncompetitive, and in particular for young researchers perspective, EUROPE 2020 Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and inclusive growth, focus on projects with a systemic approach to problems related to transport, infrastructures, and urban developments. Reference: Cristina Pronello from Politecnico di Torino - email: We provided some of the most interesting references that emerged at the international conference in Turin, in order to allow our readers contacting the researchers involved. The role of these tools is to permit visualizing the complex environments in which we evolve, revealing patterns that will allow engineers and decision makers to be successful on their actions.

Statistics eXplorer (University of Linköping). Statistics eXplorer Can be downloaded from the Internet at: Allows easily building dynamic maps from databases, loading data from the integrated dynamic diagrams and obtain or write a text linked to dynamic diagrams. Statistics eXplorer was reported at the conference by Stefano De Francisci from Istat - email:

This text is a synthesis of the article with the same title published by Valerio Eletti at the the Complexity Education Project portal. The complete version, in Italian, can be found at

Conferences BASNA 2011 Business Application of Social Network Analysis 2011 Bangalore, India 12 Dec 2011 to 12 Dec 2011

IWSOS 2012 Sixth International Workshop on SelfOrganizing Systems Delft, The Netherlands 15 Mar 2012 to 16 Mar 2012

HICSSS 2012 Heron Island Complex Systems Summer School 2012 Heron Island, Australia 16 Jan 2012 to 27 Jan 2012

INSC 2012 5th International Nonlinear Science Conference 2012 Barcelona, Spain 15 Mar 2012 to 17 Mar 2012

ICAART 2012 4th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal 6 Feb 2012 to 8 Feb 2012

SESOC2012 4th International Workshop on Security and Online Social Networks Lugano, Switzerland 19 Mar 2012 to 19 Mar 2012

ComplexNet 2012 3rd Workshop on Complex Networks Melbourne, Florida, USA 7 Mar 2012 to 9 Mar 2012

EvoStar University of Málaga, Spain 11 Apr 2012 to 13 Apr 2012 CI2012 Collective Intelligence 2012 MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA 18 Apr 2012 to 20 Apr 2012

ISCRAM2012 The 9th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Vancouver, Canada 22 Apr 2012 to 25 Apr 2012 SDM 12 The Twelfth SIAM International Conference on Data Mining Anaheim, California, USA 26 Apr 2012 to 28 Apr 2012 ICECCS2012 17th IEEE International Conference on Engineering of Complex Computer Systems Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris - France 18 Jul 2012 to 20 Jul 2012 ECCS12 European Conference on Complex Systems 2012 Université Libre de Bruxelles 3 Sep 2012 to 7 Sep 2012




Contributors to this edition:

PhD Complex systems tools for computer aided innovative management and design in food engineering and biological systems INRA and ISCPIF France - Thu 01 of Dec., 2011 Postdoc/Lecturer Postdoctoral Research Assistant Mathematics Institute & Centre for Complexity Science, University of Warwick United Kingdom - Thu 01 of Dec., 2011

Jane Bromley, Valerio Eletti, Jeff Johnson, Jorge Louçã, and David MS Rodrigues.

# ")6%:#'3<-,'',6(#.3,1&0,(&'F## 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.

Professor Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Complex Systems University of Alaska Anchorage United States - Sun 01 of Jan., 2012 Postdoc Post-doc Bio-economic modelling for scenarios of biodiversity and forestry facing climate change CNRS France - Sun 01 of Jan., 2012 PhD Two Marie Curie PhD positions in computational systems biology BioProcess Engineering Group Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (C.S.I.C.) Spanish Council for Scientific Research C/Eduardo Cabello 6 36208 Vigo Spain - Thu 01 of Mar., 2012

Contacts I""J"K#L#I2),6(#@6%#)/&#"2,&(2&#6@#26-$0&9# "J')&-'#*(1#"62,*00:#,()&00,.&()#,2K# Web: RSS: Twitter: FriendFeed: Email: Feedback:

Teaching/Research Assistant Maitre de Conférences en Physique Statistique des Systèmes Complexes CPT, Université d'Aix-Marseille France - Sun 01 of Apr., 2012


Postdoc/Lecturer Theoretical understanding of multi-scale dynamics of brain networks Italian National Institute for Nuclear Research Italy - Sat 01 of Dec., 2012

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.

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Reading Snippets Discovering Network Structure Beyond Communities To understand the formation, evolution, and function of complex systems, it is crucial to understand the internal organization of their interaction networks. Partly due to the impossibility of visualizing large complex networks, resolving network structure remains a challenging problem. Here we overcome this difficulty by combining the visual pattern recognition ability of humans with the high processing speed of computers to develop an exploratory method for discovering groups of nodes characterized by common network properties, including but not limited to communities of densely connected nodes. Without any prior information about the nature of the groups, the method simultaneously identifies the number of groups, the group assignment, and the properties that define these groups. The results of applying our method to real networks suggest the possibility that most group structures lurk undiscovered in the fast-growing inventory of social, biological, and technological networks of scientific interest. In arXiv

Control and Synchronization of Neuron Ensembles Synchronization of oscillations is a phenomenon prevalent in natural, social, and engineering systems. Controlling synchronization of oscillating systems is motivated by a wide range of applications from neurological treatment of Parkinson's disease to the design of neurocomputers. In this article, we study the control of an ensemble of uncoupled neuron oscillators described by phase models. We examine controllability of such a neuron ensemble for various phase models and, furthermore, study the related optimal control problems. In particular, by employing Pontryagin's maximum principle, we analytically derive optimal controls for spiking single- and two-neuron systems, and analyze the applicability of the latter to an ensemble system. Finally, we present a robust computational method for optimal control of spiking neurons based on pseudospectral approximations. In arXiv

Optimization of brain and life performance: Striving for playing at the top for the long run In this essay written with my students and collaborators in mind, I share simple recipes that are easy and often fun to put in practice and that make a big difference in one's life. The seven guiding principles are: (1) sleep, (2) love and sex, (3) deep breathing and daily exercises, (4) water and chewing, (5) fruits, unrefined products, food combination, vitamin D and no meat, (6) power foods, (7) play, intrinsic motivation, positive psychology and will. These simple laws are based on an integration of evolutionary thinking,

personal experimentation, and evidence from experiments reported in the scientific literature. I develop their rationality, expected consequences and describe briefly how to put them in practice. I hope that professionals and the broader public may also find some use for it, as I have seen already the positive impacts on some of my students. In arXiv

The Personal Computer Is Dead The PC is dead. Rising numbers of mobile, lightweight, cloud-centric devices don't merely represent a change in form factor. Rather, we're seeing an unprecedented shift of power from end users and software developers on the one hand, to operating system vendors on the other—and even those who keep their PCs are being swept along. This is a little for the better, and much for the worse. In

"What Is A Data Scientist?" Monica Rogati : “By definition all scientists are data scientists. In my opinion, they are half hacker, half analyst, they use data to build products and find insights. It!s Columbus meet Columbo – starry eyed explorers and skeptical detectives.” In Forbes

Agent Development Toolkits Development of agents as well as their wide usage requires good underlying infrastructure. Literature indicates scarcity of agent development tools in initial years of research which limited the exploitation of this beneficial technology. However, today a wide variety of tools are available, for developing robust infrastructure. This technical note provides a deep overview of such tools and contrasts features provided by them. In arXiv

Warren Weaver!s “Science and complexity” Revisited The mathematician Warren Weaver was an important science administrator during and after World War II. As the director of natural science of the Rockefeller Foundation he was significantly involved in changing the leading sciences from physics to life sciences. In his 1949 article “Science and Complexity” Weaver associates this change with the location of a “great middle region” of scientific problems of organized complexity” between the “problems of simplicity” that physical sciences are concerned with and the “problems of disorganized complexity” that can be solved by probability theory and statistics. In Springerlink



ASSYST / Complex Systems Society Newsletter  

ASSYST / Complex Systems Society Newsletter for the month of December

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