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Engineering Self-organizing Urban Superorganisms

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Invited Talk at BIONETICS 2012 Conference, Lugano (CH), December 2012.

Invited Talk at BIONETICS 2012 Conference, Lugano (CH), December 2012.

Published in: Technology

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  • 1. Engineering Franco Zambonelli Socio-Technical Reggio Emilia Università di Modena eUrban Superorganisms franco.zambonelli@unimore.it
  • 2. E Pluribus Unum
  • 3. Superorganisms•  Colonies(of(ants,(termites,( etc.(•  Organisms(composed(of( many(individual(ones(•  That(exhibit(finalized( collec>ve(par>cipa>ve( behaviors((or(“collec>ve( intelligence”)(
  • 4. UrbanSuperorganisms•  Can(our(urban( environments(become( superorganisms?(•  What(could(this(actually( mean?(•  Why(socioEtechnical?(
  • 5. Smart Cities: From Senseable…•  Sensing what’s happening –  Via ICT devices Sense% –  And social networks•  To better understand (via data analysis) Understand % –  City and social (compute)% dynamics –  At a global level
  • 6. …To Actuable•  We can “shape” other than understand Sense% Act % (Steer) % –  Actuating ICT devices –  Steering human actions•  Closing the loop Understand % that enables (compute)% finalized urban behaviors possible
  • 7. …To Actuable•  We can “shape” other than understand Sense% Act % (Steer) % –  Actuating ICT device –  Steering human actions•  Closing the loop Understand % that enables (compute)% finalized urban behaviors possible
  • 8. Urban Superorganisms: ICT Side•  An ICT-enriched urban environment with rich sensing, actuating, and computing (SAC) capabilities –  Sensing: sensor networks, tags, smart objects,etc. –  Actuating: traffic controllers, public digital displays, critical infrastructures –  Computing: highly distributed and decentralized, with inter-connected computational engines everywhere
  • 9. Urban Superorganisms: Human Side •  People with smart phones or alike (or whatever will appear in the future as wearable devices) contribute to such SAC capabilities –  Sensing: the 5 senses + smart phones –  Actuating: the body –  Computing: human & social intelligence
  • 10. Urban Superorganisms: Putting All Together•  The ICT and Human/Social level blurred to the point of invisibility:•  Complementing each other in a process of high value co-creation•  In the resulting overall “urban organism”, we can achieve very high-levels of collective –  Perception –  Awareness –  Action•  Dramatically changing the way we move, live, work, and play, in our towns
  • 11. Living in a Superorganism•  Collective vs individual awareness –  Reflecting on ourselves as members of a community•  Be capable of understanding and acting together in real time –  Immediate feedback to/from the community
  • 12. Collective Mobility, for Instance•  Mobility per se :: steer for car, bike, ride sharing•  Childcare :: steering & monitoting children on their way to school•  Exhibitions :: steer to avoid crowd or suggest paths•  All of these requiring collective sensing awareness and action•  And can (should?) rely on bio-inspired solutions
  • 13. The SAPERE Project•  SAPERE Self-aware Pervasive Service Ecosystems –  EU FP7 FET –  Starting October 1st 2010, lasting 3 years•  Key Challenges –  To define and implement a framework for adaptive service ecosystems –  Models + Middleware –  Experience with pervasive urban services and pervasive displays
  • 14. The SAPERE Approach•  Nature-inspired (Biochemical) –  Simply metaphor for combining/aggregating services in a spontaneous way –  Whether human or ICT ones•  Spatially-situated –  To match the nature of urban scenarios– Adaptive –  Spontaneous reconfiguration of activities and interactions
  • 15. The SAPERE Architecture•  Humans & ICT Devices –  Interact by injecting/ consuming service/data components•  Service Components –  Execute in a sort virtual Spatial substrate –  Moving, acting, composing, as from eco-laws•  Eco Laws –  Rule local activities and interactions –  Apply based on state of local components –  Self-organization of collective behavior
  • 16. The SAPERE Eco-laws•  Identification of 4 primitive eco-laws –  Forming a necessary and complete set bond –  Upon which to build more complex self-organization patterns•  The Eco-laws –  Bonding: sort of chemical bond, local connection of LSAs – subsuming discovery and invocation spread –  Spreading: diffusion of LSAs to neighbors, to enable non-local interactions –  Aggregation: sort of fusion, primitive aggr data reduction based on ODI functions –  Decay: evaporation and deletion of information, to perform decentralized garbage collection in a decentralized decay way
  • 17. The SAPERE Self-org Patterns•  Built upon the set of basic eco-laws –  Which can be considered sorts of “primitive patterns”•  To define complex bio- inspired self-organization and self-composition behaviours –  Counterproof of the completeness and efficacy of the basic set
  • 18. Steering Mobility in SAPERE
  • 19. Programming SAPERE Apps•  Have SAPERE middleware launched in the nodes to be involved•  Write agents that inject LSAs –  To express services/ functionalities they made available –  To request (formal fields) the services/data/funtionalities they requires•  Exploit self-org patterns to realize specific distributed functionaities –  Gradients, Chemiotaxis, Context completion, etc.•  Let the SAPERE space react by triggering eco-laws and react to events (bond, spread, etc.)
  • 20. Steering Behaviors in SAPEREwith an Ecosystem of Displays
  • 21. Open Challenges!  There are many challenges to solve !  Engineering and programming tools !  Patterns of self-organization !  Top-down vs bottom-up approaches !  Incenvitives for participation!  Just to mention a few…
  • 22. Challenge: Engineering Tools!  Designing !  How to represent collective urban situations? !  How to turn it into collective awareness? !  How to represent urban goals and plan of actions? !  Role of existing social networks in future ecosystems?!  Programming !  What programming languages and abstractions? !  How to trigger/deploy specific urban behaviors? !  How to measure the goodness/badness of behaviors?
  • 23. Challenge: Patterns!  Given the basic sense-understand-act loop schemes !  At urban scale, multidutes of local/nested loops co-exists !  What are the architectural patterns by which such loops can be organized? !  What is the impact of different patterns on urban behaviors?!  Towhat extent we can “design” the shape of such loops? Breakpoint Token Next element to execute
  • 24. Challenge:Top-down/Bottom-up!  Bottom-upself-organization and adaptation !  Driven by emergence (often implicit, e.g., stigmergic) feedback loop in interactions !  Very robust and efficient !  Cannot by designed by definition!  Top-down self-adaptation !  Explicit engineering of feedback loops !  Needed to enforce specific behaviors?!  Howwe can make the two co-exists?
  • 25. Traffic Steering:Top-down Control
  • 26. Traffic Steering:Bottom-up Control By Prof. Peter Stone @UTA.edu
  • 27. Traffic Steering:Mixing Top Down and Bottom up
  • 28. The Roundabout Lesson:Engineering the environment•  The(shape(of(the(environment( can(affect(the(behavior(of(selfE organizing(components( –  Without(undermining(their( autonomy( –  Without(losing(the(advantages(of( selfEorganiza>on( –  Yet(promo>ng(more(predictability(•  And(enabling(topEdown( engineering( –  The(shape(you(give(is(the( behavior(you(get(
  • 29. Engineering the Environmentin SAPERE•  What does it means to “shape” the environment –  Shaping its perception by components –  Equivalent to the distort the way LSAs are perceived and propagate•  Very easy to implement but… –  Still to be verified its effectiveness and the ease of engineering top- down behaviors in this way
  • 30. Engineering the Environmentin SAPERE•  What does it means to “shape” the environment –  Shaping its perception by components –  Equivalent to the distort the way LSAs are perceived and propagate•  Very easy to implement but… –  Still to be verified its effectiveness and the ease of engineering top- down behaviors in this way
  • 31. Conclusions•  Our future cities will become sorts of superorganisms •  Human & ICT tightly coupled •  Collective participation and action •  Bio-inspired solutions at work in future cities•  How can we engineer these? •  SAPERE is doing some steps in the right direction •  Yet there are a lot of challenges to solve