Sunday, October 16, 2011

Evolution as a tool for understanding and designing collaborative systems

Saudações de São Paulo (Greetings from Sao Paulo)!
I was invited to the IFIP Working Conference on Virtual Enterprises (PRO-VE 2011) to give the keynote talk on evolution as a tool for understanding and designing collaborative systems.

Here is a short summary of the talk:

Research on collaboration addresses the common tension between
  • what is good for the individual actor in the short run, and
  • what is good for the group in the long run
This research is based on game theory and, therefore, employs such models as the Prisoner’s Dilemma or public goods games as the basis for analysis. Using game theory, you can approach the question What is the most rational strategy? for a given model. However, in real systems often converge towards equilibria with behavior different from the calculated rational one. In order to explain these results, evolutionary approaches are a useful tool. To solve the contradiction, it is necessary to realize that typically interaction properties have not been designed by a central ruler but evolved over time. However, finding the appropriate interaction rules that induce a particular overall behavior is difficult due to the unpredictable or counterintuitive nature of such emergent and complex systems. Therefore, we propose evolutionary models to examine and extrapolate the effect and development of particular collaboration rules. An example of such an approach is our work on evolving cooperative behavior with neural controllers. Evolution, in this context, does not replace the work of analyzing complex social systems, but complements existing techniques of simulation, modeling, and game theory in order to lead for a new understanding of interrelations in collaborative systems. If you want to learn more, quickly come to the conference in Sao Paulo and/or check the slides below :-)