Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Self-organizing systems can solve real-world problems

On January 12, 2010, a horrible earthquake struck Haiti, devastating many houses, streets and bridges. This changed infrastructure makes it very difficult for the rescue and support teams to plan the transport of supplies and medical goods, since the standard street maps became inaccurate. To quickly adapt to these problems, the OpenStreetMap community distributedly updated their map information and integrated various data sources, thus providing an accurate mapping almost in real time (see This example shows that self-organizing approaches are especially of interest in catastrophic scenarios, where traditional hierarchically structured systems are missing the necessary level of robustness and adadptivity.

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