851-0585-15L  From Crowds to Crises

SemesterAutumn Semester 2013
LecturersD. Helbing
Periodicityyearly course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentPrerequisites: solid mathematical skills.


AbstractThis course presents a problem analysis and mathematical models of subjects like
- pedestrian, evacuation, and crowd dynamics (including "panic");
- disaster spreading and response management;
- bubbles and crashes in financial markets;
- bankruptcy cascades;
- the outbreak and breakdown of cooperation;
- the formation of social norms;
- the occurence of conflict and societal instabilities.
ObjectiveParticipants should learn to get an overview of the state of the art in the field, to present it in a well understandable way to an interdisciplinary scientific audience, to develop novel mathematical models for open problems, to analyze them with computers, and to defend their results in response to critical questions. In essence, participants should improve their scientific skills and learn to work scientifically.
ContentThe course presents a problem analysis and mathematical models of subjects like
- pedestrian, evacuation, and crowd dynamics (including "panic");
- disaster spreading and response management;
- bubbles and crashes in financial markets;
- bankruptcy cascades;
- the outbreak and breakdown of cooperation;
- the formation of social norms;
- the occurence of conflict and societal instabilities;
- integrated risk management.
It builds on a broad scope of mathematical techniques such as (social) force models, network models, complexity theory, and evolutionary game theory, and elaborates the importance of self-organization phenomena, cascading effects, phase transitions, spatial and network interactions. Moreover, the course gives an idea of how systems as complex as society can be approached by mathematical models to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the spreading of information, cooperation, norms, conflicts, and disasters. The course also gives an idea of how important the character of interactions is for the resulting system behavior, with implications for mechanism design.
Lecture notesA script is currently not available.
LiteratureLiterature will be provided in the webpage associated to this course and during the lectures.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe number of participants is limited due to the small size of the lecture hall.
Solid mathematical skills are required.