Collective Behaviours and Social Dynamics

a workshop within the 12th European Conference on Artificial Life

Taormina, Italy, September the 2nd, 2013

Photo by Basilio Noris


About the Workshop

This workshop is at the intersection of several disciplines, from ethology to swarm intelligence, from collective robotics to evolutionary linguistics. Despite very heterogeneous, these disciplines share a common ground when they refer to the mechanisms and the dynamics of social interaction, both at the behavioural and evolutionary level.

Despite the similar scientific questions, the study of collective behaviour and social dynamics is characterised by very different approaches, and few places for discussion and comparison are available. Therefore, the workshop represents a unique occasion in which such a juxtaposition of diverse disciplines can take place. The goal of the workshop is to confront the current trends and advancements in the study of collective behaviour and social dynamics, and to promote cross-fertilisation and contamination between disciplines and approaches that rarely meet together.

The workshop is ideally divided in two parts, the first dedicated to collective behaviours in biological and artificial systems, and the second dedicated to social dynamics ranging from opinion sharing to language evolution, and to the evolutionary. Each part will feature a keynote speech and presentations selected among the submitted proposals. Selected presentations of unpublished work will be invited to submit a full-length paper to the Swarm Intelligence journal, and will benefit of a fast-track reviewing process.

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Programme and Proceedings

The detailed workshop program and the workshop proceedings can be downloaded as PDF.

8:55 welcome notes by the workshop organisers
9:00 keynote speech by Dr. Simon Garnier
09:45 session #1 on collective behaviours in natural and artificial systems
10:45 coffee break
11:15 session #2 on collective behaviours in natural and artificial systems
12:45 lunch break
14:30 keynote speech by Dr. Andrea Baronchelli
15:15 session on social dynamics: from opinion sharing to language evolution
16:15 coffee break
16:45 session on the evolution of collective behaviours and social dynamics
18:15 closing remarks

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Invited Speakers

Keynotes will be given by Dr. Simon Garnier from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, NJ) and by Dr. Andrea Baronchelli from the Northeastern University (Boston, MA). Find below title and abstract of their talk:

Dr. Simon Garnier, Ant wuz here! Following the trail of recent ant network research
Everyday and all over the world, kitchens are the targets of formidable heists perpetrated by armies of tiny thieves, the ants. By the hundreds, they take sugar boxes and marmalade jars by storm, and carry their loot back to their nest following a complex network of routes visible only to them. Fifty years ago, the discovery of the chemical nature of these routes by E. O. Wilson opened a new way of understanding the incredibly efficient organization of ant colonies, based on simple behaviors and powerful scents. In this talk, I will show recent discoveries on how ants use their chemical trails as a form of externalized memory that can help them navigate, organize their traffic and make complex collective decisions. I will present results of field and experimental studies and give a broad overview of mathematical and computer models of trail formation and trail use by various species of ants. I will also discuss recent application of the ants' "chemical logic" in operation research and collective robotics. Finally, I will introduce future directions of research, with a particular focus on the flexibility of these trail systems and their ability to integrate and process multiple sources of information.

Dr. Andrea Baronchelli, The role of social complexity in convention spreading
Where does the agreement on the use of a given word, like "spam", come from? How does it get to be shared in a population? Which is the role of the topology, describing the individual interaction patterns, on the global dynamics? Here we address these questions, which are crucial for the general problem of social consensus, by means of a simple and tractable model able to account for the emergence of a shared convention, or the coexistence of multiple conventions, in a population of individuals. We describe the different behaviors of the model on diverse topologies, from the fully connected graph to low dimensional lattices and complex networks. Then, we discuss a local broadcasting scheme in which an agent speaks at the same time to all of her contacts in the social network. We show that the broadcasting protocol has profound consequences on the social influence of the different individuals, and we argue that this finding might be useful to better understand the propagation of information in web-based social networks. We also address the agreement process taking place on the time-varying evolving networks generated by the contacts of a population of mobile agents, identifying different regimes determined by the individuals' emission ranges and mobility rates. Finally, we show that human face-to-face interaction networks are characterized by a nontrivial bursty behavior, and introduce a simple model that captures the observed dynamics.

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Workshop Venue

The Workshop will take place at the Villa Diodoro Hotel, Via Bagnoli Croci 75 98039 Taormina, Messina, Italy. The workshop is co-located with the 12th European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL 2013), September 2-6 2013, Taormina, Italy.

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The registration can be done via the ECAL 2013 web site. Early registration deadline is June 30, 2013. Late registration: July 1 - September 2, 2013

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The workshop is supported by the European Science Foundation (ESF) under the EUROCORES program EuroBioSAS.

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