19 Dec 2012

3 joint papers in a special issue of EPJ Special Topics on "Participatory Science and Computing for Our Complex World"

In special issue of the European Physical Journal (Special Topics) I am a co-author on three papers:

Paolucci,  Mario et al. (2012) Towards a Living Earth Simulator.  European Physical Journal Special Topics, 214(1):77-108. DOI 10.1140/epjst/e2012-01689-8.

The Living Earth Simulator (LES) is one of the core components of the FuturICT architecture. It will work as a federation of methods, tools, techniques and facilities supporting all of the FuturICT simulation-related activities to allow and encourage interactive exploration and understanding of societal issues. Society-relevant problems will be targeted by leaning on approaches based on complex systems theories and data science in tight interaction with the other components of FuturICT. The LES will evaluate and provide answers to real-world questions by taking into account multiple scenarios. It will build on present approaches such as agent-based simulation and modeling, multiscale modelling, statistical inference, and data mining, moving beyond disciplinary borders to achieve a new perspective on complex social systems.

Buckingham Shum, Simon et al. (2012) Towards a Global Participatory Platform: Democratising Open Data, Complexity Science and Collective Intelligence.  European Physical Journal Special Topics, 214(1):109-152. DOI 10.1140/epjst/e2012-01690-3.

The FuturICT project seeks to use the power of big data, analytic models grounded in complexity science, and the collective intelligence they yield for societal benefit. Accordingly, this paper argues that these new tools should not remain the preserve of restricted government, scientific or corporate √©lites, but be opened up for societal engagement and critique. To democratise such assets as a public good, requires a sustainable ecosystem enabling different kinds of stakeholder in society, including but not limited to, citizens and advocacy groups, school and university students, policy analysts, scientists, software developers, journalists and politicians. Our working name for envisioning a sociotechnical infrastructure capable of engaging such a wide constituency is the Global Participatory Platform (GPP). We consider what it means to develop a GPP at the different levels of data, models and deliberation, motivating a framework for different stakeholders to find their ecological niches at different levels within the system, serving the functions of (i) sensing the environment in order to pool data, (ii) mining the resulting data for patterns in order to model the past/present/future, and (iii) sharing and contesting possible interpretations of what those models might mean, and in a policy context, possible decisions. A research objective is also to apply the concepts and tools of complexity science and social science to the project’s own work. We therefore conceive the global participatory platform as a resilient, epistemic ecosystem, whose design will make it capable of self-organization and adaptation to a dynamic environment, and whose structure and contributions are themselves networks of stakeholders, challenges, issues, ideas and arguments whose structure and dynamics can be modelled and analysed.

Deffuant, Guillaume et al. (2012)  Data and models for exploring sustainability of human well-being in global environmental change.  European Physical Journal Special Topics, 214(1):519-545. DOI 10.1140/epjst/e2012-01704-2.

This position paper proposes a vision for the research activity about sustainability in global environmental change (GEC) taking place in the FuturICT flagship project. This activity will be organised in an “Exploratory”, gathering a core network of European scientists from ICT, social simulation, complex systems, economics, demographics, Earth system science. These research teams will collaborate in building a self-organising network of data sources and models about GEC and in using new facilities fostering stakeholder participation. We develop examples of concrete directions for this research: world wide virtual population with demographic and some economic descriptors, ecosystem services production and distribution, governance systems at various scales.

 There are many other interesting papers there (see the issue), basically position papers underlying the FuturICT proposal.