Emergent Collective Behaviors: Integrating Simulation and Experiment (22w5140)


(Ontario Tech University)

Nicole Abaid (Virginia Tech University)

Oleg Igoshin (Rice University)

(University of Dundee)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Emergent Collective Behaviors: Integrating Simulation and Experiment" workshop in Banff from May 15 - 20, 2022.

Collective behavior of organisms, large and small, is readily observed in nature. Birds travelling in flocks, ants forming supply lines and, on a much smaller scale, bacteria forming biofilms are just a few common examples. It is a long-standing question how such organization emerges from the rules that individual organisms follow and the way they interact. This question is not only of profound philosophical importance, as it impacts on may facets of the natural world around us, it is also of great practical value. For instance, accurate predictions of the herding behavior of caribou would help conservation efforts and disrupting biofilm formation is an important goal of the design and maintenance of medical equipment.

It is a tantalizing observation that patterns observed in groups of organisms often show similarities across scales and species. This observation hints at the possibility that collective behavior has a certain universality, just like boiling water is described by the same quantities as boiling nitrogen despite the great difference in temperature. At this point, there is no overarching theoretical description of emergent behaviour and it universal aspects. Instead, most research is either based on experimental observations or on computer simulations. These simulations, in turn, come in different kinds and produce different types of descriptions of emergent behavior. In this workshop, we aim to bring together experts both in experimental and computational techniques to formulate the state of affairs, explore the strengths and weaknesses of current approaches and draw up a road map for future interdisciplinary research efforts, ultimately aiming at a unified theory of emergent behavior, its origin, mechanisms and control.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).