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Veranstaltung: Leuphana in der Denkerei: Blankensee-Colloquium

30.08. – 1.09.2012, Berlin, Denkerei

Blankensee‑Colloquium 2012
Funded by the Kooperationsfonds of the
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin,
Institute for Advanced Study

Denkerei Oranienplatz 2 10999 Berlin

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Conference poster and schedule 3.08MB pdf

Keynote Speeches by
Dirk Helbing (ETH Zürich) and
Sándor Fekete (TU Braunschweig)
Concept and Organisation by
Tobias Harks (Maastricht) and
Sebastian Vehlken (Lüneburg)

Commentary by Claus Pias (Lüneburg)
and Wolfgang Hagen (Lüneburg)

When sociologist Thomas Schelling published his research on housing segregation in major US-American cities in 1971, he accomplished more than just contributing to a novel type of ›social mathematics‹. With Schellings interest in the mechanisms of social segregation and his respective models, the analysis of actual neighborhood dynamics converged with a ›neighborly‹ research method. Starting from some basic local – aka neighborly – microrelations of a defined number of agents behaving according to a restricted rule set, Schelling dynamically generated macroscopic segregation patterns.

Henceforward, neighborhoods in a two-fold way (as objects and as applications) constituted a new research paradigm in which the complex macro-behaviors of a system and the non-linear dynamics of social collectives are generatively and procedurally put forth by rigidly defined microscopic neighborhood relations.

Neighborhoods depict an intermediate or meso-range for the linkage of single local agents with the overall global dynamics of social networks. Today, theories and practices of such Neighborhood Technologies have captured a variety of scientific disciplines: from Sociology to Biology, to Mathematics and Logistics, and to Robotics or Media Studies. Neighborhood technologies can thus serve as a principal element not only of a further understanding of social network dynamics. It can also be of use for developing an adequate (media) history and theory of social networks. The 2012 Blankensee Colloquium engages with these guiding lines from a transdisciplinary perspective.

The ambiguity of neighborhoods as scientific object and as application plays an important role in mathematical optimization and algorithmic game theory. These disciplines search for actual objects and systems where neighborhood relations play an important role – in order to subject them to mathematical analysis. Their major focus lies on predicting, evaluating and qualitatively assessing the state of an uncontrolled system that is determined by distributed actions of (rationally behaved) individuals based on their available information.

Likewise, for some years a growing interest in neighborhood-induced effects can be discovered in Culture and Media studies. Be it the ongoing discourse of swarm intelligence and the role of distributed (online) communication networks for political action, be it a media historical approach to local based media (e.g., GPS-navigation) and their influence on a transformation of concepts of space and time: Neighborhoods come to be part of not only a topographical and topological, but also conceptual transformation. They become an influential driving force of (global) mass movements, and they transform collectives into eminently technological arrangements.

We attempt to short-cut the above described ›two cultures‹ of a preoccupation with dynamic networks in Culture and Media Studies and Mathematics via a re-wiring of their discourses, theories and applications. We seek to comprehensively address this research field by establishing a platform for the thorough discussion of neighborhood concepts and notions across scientific cultures.

Thus, we invite researchers who concretely apply multi-agent systems in their respective research contexts: from Biology, Sociology, Computer science, Architecture, Robotics and Complexity studies. And we also include developers from businesses engaging in the neighborly organization of dynamic networks. With this layout, the Neighborhood Technologies conference alludes to a broader theory of social networks while at the same time originating new neighborhoods between scientific disciplines.

Conference Scedule

Thursday, 30/8

Welcome Reception 
14.30 – 15.00
Thorsten Wilhelmy (Insitute of Advanced Studies, Berlin): Welcome Address 
Tobias Harks (University of Maastricht)/Sebastian Vehlken (Leuphana University Lüneburg): Neighborhood Technologies – An Introduction

Panel 1: Neighborhood Connections

15.00 – 16.30
Shintaro Miyazaki (Berlin): Neighborhood Listening. A Media Archaeology of Packet Switching in the 1970s
Carolin Wiedemann (Studienstiftung Berlin): ›Anonymous‹ and the Desire to Keep Swarming

16.45– 18.15
Katharine Willis (University of Plymouth): Augmented Neighborhoods– Locative Media and Changing Mental Models of Urban Places
Babak Ghanadian (niriu, Hamburg): From Virtual Strangers to Real Neighbors: ›niriu‹, the Local Network

Keynote 1

18.30 – 20.00
Dirk Helbing (ETH Zürich): FuturICT– Global Participatory Computing for Our Complex World

Friday, 31/8

Keynote 2

9.30– 10.45
Sándor Fekete (TU Braunschweig): Improving Traffic Flow by Local Methods

Panel 2: Neighborhood Complexities

11.00– 13.00
Martin Hoefer (RWTH Aachen): Contribution and Matching Games in Networks
Paul Harrenstein (TU MÜnchen): It Takes All Kinds to Make a World
Manfred Füllsack (Universität Graz): Emergence and Downward Causation – Assessing the Impact of Neighborhood-Networks

Panel 3: Neighborhood Realities

14.00– 16.00
Jens Krause (IGB Berlin): Collective Behavior and Swarm Intelligence
Verena V. Hafner (HU Berlin): Interactive Robotics
Gabriele Brandstetter (FU Berlin): Choreographing the Swarm– Relational Bodies in Contemporary Performance

Panel 4: Neighborhood Architectures

16.30– 18.00
Christina Vagt (TU Berlin): Buckminster Fuller: Neighborhood Design
Henriette Bier (TU Delft): Neighbourhood Technologies in Digitally– Driven Architecture

Saturday, 1/9

Panel 5: Neighborhood Coordinations

10.00– 11.30 
Felix Salfner (HU Berlin): Global Knowledge from Local Measurements– Detecting Spreading Anomalies in Complex Software Systems
Alex Hall (Google Zürich): Processing a Trillion Cells per Mouse Click

11.45– 13.00
Felix König (TomTom, Amsterdam): Crowdsourcing in Navigation – How Selfish Drivers Help to Reduce Congestion for All

Panel 6: Neighborhood Images and Politics

14.00– 15.30
Matthias Trapp (HPI Potsdam): Neighborhood Visualization– Challenges and Strategies from a Geovisualization Perspective
Andrej Holm (HU Berlin)/Lorenz Matzat (Medienkombinat Berlin): GentriMap– Geovisualisierung als Instrument der Stadtentwicklungsanalyse

15.45– 17.00
Claus Pias and Wolfgang Hagen (Leuphana University Lüneburg): Commentary and Concluding Plenary Session

Conference languages: English and German

About the Blankensee-Colloquia

The aim of the program is to promote and delineate the importance of the humanities and social sciences for scholarly research in Berlin and Brandenburg. To this purpose, every year in general an ›idea contest‹ is held with the title Cultural and Social Change. The contest is for scholars of the region who possess doctorates, are university lecturers, or have been newly appointed to university chairs. They are provided with monies from a Cooperation Fund so as to organize an international conference – a so-called Blankensee-Colloquium – at which they introduce participants to their particular field of research and engage in discussions with leading scholars from not only Berlin and the surrounding region but with those from other parts of Germany and the world. Along with supporting the work of scholars, the program also promotes the development of innovative research fields and new approaches.

See also:


Project Management
c/o Mayka Kmoth
Scharnhorststr. 1, 21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49.4131.677-1646

Maastricht University

Maastricht University

Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin

Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin

Leuphana Universität Lüneburg

Leuphana Universität Lüneburg

Blankensee-Colloquium 2012: Neighborhood Technologies

Blankensee-Colloquium 2012: Neighborhood Technologies | Photo: Sebastian Vehlken