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Meso-scale phenomena: crowds, herds and traffic jams

Abstract

In the present initiative we aim at (1) the characterisation of a research area, (2) development of appropriate conceptual and methodological tools as well as of experimental protocols in order to clarify relevant aspects of this research area, and (3) identification of potential practical uses of the obtained results. The specific research area - heretofore coined Meso-scale Phenomena - is positioned between two well established research areas, resp. Multiagent Systems ad Crowd Management. In many studies in the field of Multiagent Systems, sophisticated models of agent reasoning and interactions are developed. Once these models are implemented, studies can be developed - theoretically as well as empirically and based on simulations - about emerging social phenomena stemming from agent interactions. On the other hand, in many studies in the field of Crowd Management, simplified and constrained models of rationality are adopted, based on which hypotheses are built and used to justify the global consideration of large groups of agents, this way avoiding the need for individualised processing of reasoning procedures. In many relevant scenarios, one can identify phenomena which lie inbetween these two extreme views, thus demanding the construction of novel modelling mechanisms and methods. In the present project we shall build tools that enable the construction of models about observed phenomena in these scenarios. (AU)