2009-12-29

Mexico 2010

2010 seems to be a promising year. Here in Mexico, we will celebrate 200 years of the beginning of the Independence (September 16th, 1810) and 100 years of the beginning of the Revolution (November 20th, 1910). By linear extrapolation, we all expect a great event to occur in 2010. But there are different opinions on what precisely will occur.

The hope of the people: winning the World Cup.
The fear of the people: collapse of the country.
The most possible outcome: financial difficulties of historic proportions.
The Guajiran dream: the refoundation of the Republic (it has been going down the drain for too long).
My personal bet/conspiracy theory: druglords taking over the country followed by a foreign invasion rescue operation.

2009-12-10

New Book Chapter draft: Self-organizing urban transportation systems

Self-organizing urban transportation systems

Carlos Gershenson. To be published in "Complexity theories of cities have come of age", edited by Juval Portugali and Han Meyer (Springer, 2010).

Abstract: Urban transportation is a complex phenomenon. Since many agents are constantly interacting in parallel, it is difficult to predict the future state of a transportation system. Because of this, optimization techniques tend to give obsolete solutions, as the problem changes before it can be optimized. An alternative lies in seeking adaptive solutions. This adaptation can be achieved with self-organization. In a self-organizing transportation system, the elements of the system follow local rules to achieve a global solution. Like this, when the problem changes the system can adapt by itself to the new configuration.
In this chapter, I will review recent, current, and future work on self-organizing transportation systems. Self-organizing traffic lights have proven to improve traffic flow considerably over traditional methods. In public transportation systems, simple rules are being explored to prevent the "equal headway instability" phenomenon. The methods we have used can be also applied to other urban transportation systems and their generality is discussed.