Physics and Psychology of Human Crowd Dynamics

5 - 9 November 2018

Venue: Lorentz Center@Oort

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In this multidisciplinary meeting we aim at establishing a consensus on sensing, analyzing and understanding human crowd dynamics involving a large number of major experts in the field. Natural scientists, engineers, crowd psychologists and safety experts will be part of an unprecedented week-long dialog on physical and psychological aspects of crowd dynamics.

The workshop program is structured to both foster exchange among scientists with different backgrounds (plenary meetings, time for individual discussions among participants) and open technical discussions on the four main topical areas: sensing, analytics, understanding, and applications. Before the workshop, a preparatory reference document framing the four main topics and the key issues to address will be distributed. During the workshop, the document will then serve as a guide for the debates. 


Pedestrian dynamics; Pedestrian tracking in real-life and in laboratory conditions; Crowd management; safety management of crowds; Pedestrian modelling; Pedestrian sensing via WiFi and non-optical technologies; Machine and Deep learning based data acquisition; Statistical mechanics of crowds; Crowd behavior; Crowd psychology; Crowd evacuation; Crowd simulation methods.


Understanding and being able to manage the behavior of human crowds, from sparse aggregates of individuals to dense groups, is a longstanding challenge of increasing societal urgency. Aside from compelling applications including, e.g., individual safety and infrastructure serviceability, understanding the universal behavior of individuals in crowds from a quantitative statistical point of view is an exciting scientific topic at the crossroad between physics, scientific computing, mathematics, engineering and psychology.

For the recent developments in crowd tracking technologies, the study of crowd dynamics is becoming a quantitative science which can be addressed in mathematical physics terms. Nevertheless, the understanding of crowd motion is an extremely complex problem deeply entangled with psychological variables. Therefore, the interaction between human scientists and physical scientists is fundamental to identify these variables and the way of modeling and/or measuring them. 


The aim of this workshop, unique for multidisciplinary, is to bring together -for one week- world leading experts in matter of pedestrian dynamics. For its strong multidisciplinary nature, experts in pedestrian dynamics from the physical sciences perspective and from the human science perspective will be called to a joint, unprecedented, discussion. The workshop will be a success when, at the end of the week, we will have established a consensus on the key future issues regarding crowd dynamics, technology, and psychology, and have outlined an agreed road forward for a unified approach to addressing these issues, in terms of crowd analytics, managements, and modeling.

The invited scholars cover the following topical area of expertise:

1.      crowd sensing, i.e. pedestrian (big-)data acquisition techniques,

2.      crowd analytics i.e. (statistical) data processing and modeling,

3.      crowd understanding i.e. theory connecting physical and psychological variables,

4.      crowd applications, i.e. knowledge transfer to/from technology and safety.

These four topical areas are deeply intertwined, and any progress in each one of these areas will immediately impacts the others. The workshop will aim at presenting the state-of-the-art in each one of these areas, as well as an ambitious outlook.


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