Workshop on

Collectives and the Design
of Complex Systems

Program Chairs:
Kagan Tumer
David Wolpert
Ilan Kroo

Stanford University
Stanford, California

August 25-28, 2003

Stanford University

Description Purpose of Workshop Contact Information

Important Dates Register On-line

Location Abstracts Schedule/Participants


The advent of extremely cheap computing is quickly leading to a world filled with large, artificial, distributed systems of self-motivated components. This is in addition to the many naturally occuring systems of this character. Very often we have performance criteria by which we rank the dynamic behavior of such systems, e.g., GDP growth in a human economy, stock price of a corporation, percentage of available free energy used by an ecosystem, total throughput in a data network, total scientific information gathered by a constellation of deployables, etc..

Following up on the success of CDoCS 2002, this workshop will bring together leading researchers from the physics, economics, biology, engineering and computer science communities to help cement the foundation of the field studying such systems. This field studies two broad problems:

1) The forward problem concerns understanding the process by which the structure underlying the local interactions of a collective affects the overall performance criteria.

2) The inverse problem arises when we wish to design the structure of the system to optimize its behavior according to the pre-specified performance criteria.

Purpose of the workshop and connection to other fields

This workshop will contain several short courses, in addition to invited talks, contributed talks, and poster sessions generated from submitted papers. The aim of these short courses is to establish a common language and background for workshop attendees. They will cover the relationship between the study of collectives and the following more established disciplines: i) Mechanism Design/ Game theory;

ii) Statistical Physics / Econophysics;

iii) Optimization / Engineering design;

iv) Collective Intelligence / Reinforcement Learning.

It is intended that a book of the tutorials and selected works from the workshop will be published.

Lectures and talks will be given by:

Rob Axtell
Yaneer Bar-Yam
Eric Bonabeau
Aviv Bergman
Josh Epstein
Tad Hogg
Neil Johnson
Ilan Kroo
Sanjay Lall
David Parkes
Jordan Pollack
Kagan Tumer
David Wolpert
Zoltan Toraczkai

Submissions are solicited, especially (though not exclusively) from the following fields:

* Control of chaos
* Nonlinear control
* Nonlinear time series analysis
* Computational economics
* Mechanism design
* (Evolutionary) Game theory
* Statistical physics
* Population biology
* Multiagent systems
* Distributed adaptive control
* Reinforcement learning

Organizers' contact information

Kagan Tumer
NASA Ames Research Center
Mail Stop 269-4
Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000

David Wolpert
NASA Ames Research Center
Mail Stop 269-2
Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000

Ilan Kroo
Dept. of Aero/Astro
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305


The workshop will be held on the Stanford University campus, an easy drive from either San Jose or San Fransisco Airports.

Important dates

The due date for submissions is June 6, 2003, to one of organizers listed below. Please indicate preference for either a talk or a poster, and have submission be in either postscript or PDF format. There is no set page limit per se.

We will make the drafts available to the workshop participants prior to the workshop. Final contributions, based on comments from participants and discussions at the workshop will be due approximately one month after the workshop.

If you have any questions, please contact Kagan Tumer or Ilan Kroo or David Wolpert by email.