Many countries, including Japan and Germany, face the problem that reducing greenhouse gas emissions while phasing out nuclear energy requires a transformation of the energy system that includes large amounts of renewable energy production, and the latter is highly influenced by extreme weather events which are likely to get more frequent and more severe due to climate change. Extreme events influence not only the availability of energy (much research has been done on this), but also and of more fundamental importance, the stability of the whole power grid, which is not yet understood sufficiently.
A quick search on Google about what “made the world faster” returns as first results: the cloud, internet, globalization, technology, wireless communication (and the end of the Cold War). We have begun to design technologies that can take advantage of this increase in the speed of information transmission to develop better short-term insights. Some claim we can now forecast the spreading of flu pandemics or the volatility of stocks using search query data, the results of elections using prediction markets, the demand of new products by tracking their adoption by influential characters in social networks, and better manage prevention of and recovery from extreme events.
The study of problems as diverse as global climate change and global financial crises is currently converging towards a new kind of research – Global Systems Science. GSS is emerging hand in hand with the substantial advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The use of computer models, digitized data, and global virtual networks are vital for GSS, in the same fashion that GSS can become a trigger for truly disruptive developments in policy-oriented and socially useful ICT. The purpose of this conference is to discuss a possible research program for Global Systems Science and to further build up the community of practitioners from science, policy and civic society working on the pressing global challenges of our times.
The workshop was organized against a backdrop of rapidly growing renewed interest in the theme of urbanization, which was characterized by Simon in the 1980's as "the major challenge for [organization] sciences in the 20th century". To be clear, that does not in any way reduce the importance of the huge amount of work that has already been done on this theme, both in Europe and in North America, in part by participants in this workshop (Batty, Pumain, etc.).
Energy systems are increasingly characterized as "multi-layered flow networks" spanning over different geographical areas. These spatial networks are global for their geographical extension. The different interacting layers of energy systems span from physical/technical (the hardware of the network), cyber (measurement, communication and control), market and business (wholesale and retail, services and operations), social (customers, users, stakeholders, …), normative (administrative issues, standards, etc.), and political (local, national and regional decision making, and geopolitical implications).
The EU funded project Global Systems Dynamics & Policy (GSDP) is working on an Orientation Paper on Global System Science (GSS). A series of workshops have been organised to gather the expertise to be fed into the paper. One of the topics identified as essential for the development of GSS agenda is ‘narratives’.
Humankind is currently faced with unprecedented global challenges – climate policy, financial regulation, nuclear disarmament, avoiding pandemics, and more. There are good reasons to see these challenges as different facets of an underlying problem, namely the difficulty to achieve a transition towards a sustainable world society.
Global System Science (GSS) intends to address the increasingly global and interconnected nature of challenges facing humanity and the pervasiveness of ICT, with the aim to provide scientific evidence in support of policy options.
Public policy making, when addressing challenges such as climate change, financial crises, or containment of pandemics, suffers from an intrinsic difficulty: These global challenges generate strong interdependencies between different social, technological, and natural systems. In dealing with them, societies tend to address individual systems, rather than multiple interrelated systems, and thereby fail to achieve systemic change.
What transformations of the global financial system are required to ensure a sustainable development of humankind in the 21st century? The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies – IASS – in Potsdam has started an investigation of this question. To support this inquiry, it will organize a series of workshops together with the European research network Global Systems Dynamics and Policy, coordinated by the Global Climate Forum.
The aim of the Conference is to contribute to the development of Global Systems Science (GSS). The study of problems as diverse as global climate change and global financial crises is currently converging towards a new kind of research – Global Systems Science.
While countries around the world are establishing and linking carbon markets to fight climate change, academics have yet to provide a thorough understanding of many aspects of carbon markets. Although there is a well-established basic theory of emissions trading (e.g. Tietenberg 2006), econometric studies of existing real-world carbon markets such as the EU ETS report surprising stylized facts that cannot be observed in other kinds of markets (e.g. Chevallier 2009).
Analyzing the influence of networks on the behavior of agents and organizations has vastly improved, over the past decade, our understanding of the social dynamics at the source of a variety of phenomena such as the the build-up of systemic risk in financial markets, the innovativeness of regions, the development of international trade, the formation of eco-industrial clusters or the spreading of information/influence/influenza. Accordingly networks have become paradigmatic examples of transdisciplinary concepts, lying at the core of research programs in economics, finance or environmental science.
The global financial crisis has posed an additional challenge to the governance of global systems. While the economic progress in many emerging economies is continuing, debt-laden countries, especially in Southern Europe, feel stuck in a global financial system outside their control. Populations are facing mass unemployment and public unrest is rising. There is also a notable reaction within the western economies against a perceived unfair distribution of wealth and the fact that global environmental risks are left unattended.
There is an urgent need for new thinking about global systems, in particular about the main driving force of globalization: the world economy.
Social energy: a useful notion for analysing complex socio-ecological systems? The metaphor social energy, based on an analogy to energy in physics, is supposed to facilitate the study of complex socio-ecological systems. It has been, to some extent, discussed in the GSDP network.
A number of ongoing projects in agent-based computational economics start delivering promising results: from networks of interacting agents emerge dynamics reproducing a growing number of stylized facts of economic systems. The usage of computer simulations has indeed allowed to explore economic dynamics beyond the frontier of analytical tractability where general equilibrium theory had been left without proper dynamical foundations.
A workshop organised by the European Climate Forum (ECF) in collaboration with the European Commission on behalf of the Global Systems Dynamics & Policy (GSDP) network.
The workshop is organised by the DSL work package of the Global Systems Dynamics and Policy (GSDP) project in collaboration with the HIPERFIT project.
This workshop, held at UCL on the 15th December 2010, considered different methods for providing guidance and training of complex systems approaches and techniques for decision-makers. The aim is to enable decision-makers from a wide variety of backgrounds to make use of complex systems, helping to solve real everyday problems in the context of long-term strategic policy.
Workshop in co-operation with the 7th EU Framework Program and the Enterprise Europe Network. Berlin, 6 December 2010
This meeting was organized in order to develop the research programme for the first year of GSDP.
On Oct. 1st, 2010, a workshop took place in Brussels in order to foster improvements of existing models of the global economy with the help of multi-agent modeling tools.