ENFOLD-ing - Explaining, Modelling, and Forecasting Global Dynamics

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

Abstract

Most of our science which is used to inform policy makers about future social and economic events has been built for systems that are local rather than global and are assumed to behave in ways that are relatively tractable and thus responsive to policy initiatives. Any examination of the degree to which such policy-making has been successful or even informative yields a very mixed picture with such interventions being only partly effective at best, and positively disruptive at worst. Human policy-making shows all the characteristics of a complex system. Many of our interventions make problems worse rather than better leading to the oft-quoted accusation that the solution is part of the problem .Complexity theory recognizes this dilemma. In this research programme, we will develop new forms of science which address the most difficult of human problems: those that involve global change where there is no organised constituency and whose agencies are largely regarded as being ineffective. We will argue that global systems tend to be treated in isolation from one another and that the unexpected dynamics that characterises their behaviour is due to their coupling and integration that is all to often ignored. To demonstrate this dynamics and to develop appropriate policy responses, we will study four related global systems: trade, migration, security (which includes crime, terrorism and military disputes) and development aid, which tends to be determined as a consequence of these three individual systems. The idea that this dynamics results from coupling suggests that to get a clear view of their dynamics and a better understanding of global change, we need to develop integrated and coupled models whose dynamics can be described in the conventional and perhaps not so conventional language of complexity theory: chaos, turbulence, bifurcations, catastrophes, and phase transitionsWe will develop three related styles of model: spatial interaction models embedded in predator-prey like frameworks which generate bifurcations in system behaviour, reaction diffusion models that link location to flow, and network models in which epidemic-like diffusion processes can be used to explain how events cascade into one another. We will apply spatial interaction models to trade and migration, reaction diffusion to military disputes and terrorism, and network models to international crime. We will extend these models to incorporate the generation of qualitative new events such as the emergence of new entities e.g. countries, coupling them together in diverse ways. We will ultimately develop a generic framework for a coupled global dynamics that spans many spatial and temporal scales and pertains to different systems whose behaviours can be simulated both quantitatively and qualitatively. Our models will be calibrated to data which we will assemble during the project and which we already know exists in usable form.We will develop various models which incorporate all these ideas into a global intelligence system to inform global policy makers about future events. This system (and we intend there to be many versions of it) will allow policy makers to think the unthinkable and to explore all kinds of what if questions with respect to our four key global systems: trade, migration, security and development, while at the same time, enabling global dynamics to be considered as a coupling of these systems. We will begin developing these models for the UK in terms of the rest of the world but then extend this to embrace all the key countries and events relevant to this global dynamics. Our partners who in the first instance are UK government departments and multinational companies with a global reach will champion this extension to the global arena. The programme will be based on ten academic faculty at UCL spanning a wide range of centres and departments.

Planned Impact

Direct beneficiaries will be primarily UK agencies and government departments dealing with trade, migration, security and development aid: namely BIS/Treasury, the Home Office, and Justice in so far as it relates to international activity, the Foreign Office and DFID. Our hands-on partners will be DFID and the Home Office who have active forums to discuss policy which we will influence throughout the programme. World agencies and networks which link the third sector to government potentially benefit from research of this kind. Multinationals with a world reach such as Cisco Systems, IBM, Autodesk and ESRI through our existing contacts will be drawn into a wider a circle of beneficiaries. The EU Global Systems Dynamics and Policies network will be used to mobilise many related groups in Europe. Government, agencies, and firms will benefit from this research by being empowered into anticipating global change which is unexpected, novel and surprising. This has major impacts on both the UK and world economic performance and it will increase the effectiveness of public services with respect to migration and the whole area of international crime and security. Less directly, the quality of life will be affected for many national populations. We will ensure that our beneficiaries receive opportunities to engage in this research by developing mechanisms for communication and engagement through our partnerships with the Home Office, the EU through the Global Systems Dynamics (GSD) network, world agencies dealing with trade, migration and security, and global commercial companies such as IBM and Cisco. Our ideas of 'policy clubs' or 'forums' mentioned in the workplan provide a direct way of increasing opportunities for our beneficiaries to realise the value of our research while the Steering Committee will be charged with the task of engaging world agencies during the first years of the programme in preparation for the early demonstrators that we will develop. We will in fact use some intermediary organisations in UCL such as the development Planning Unit (DPU) and the Migration Research Unit (MRU) who currently are not pencilled in for resources from the project, other than their being in the Bartlett and Geography. These units have extensive networks into policy making in developing countries, and in migration policy, with links to the relevant agencies involved. Currently we have no plans for secondment of our staff but part of the flexibility this programme makes this possible, and will allow us through the Management Board and Steering Committee to respond to such possibilities. Our conferences and seminar series are aimed at global policy makers and we will actively discuss the role of training workshops in our global intelligence systems in the second phase of the project. We will ensure effective and appropriate exploitation through explicit demonstrations that our models are being used to inform the policy-makers that we have identified. The best measure of our impact will be the positive (or otherwise) responses of the policy makers to this new science; its impact will be measured over a term considerably longer than the life of this programme. In terms of direct exploitation, much of the software we produce will be downloadable, and a measure of success is the number of users. The capabilities and resources for the activity as detailed in the main proposal means that the investigators will be solely responsible for ensuring the programme generates these impacts. The CASA administration will undertake publicity, media and web design, and have substantial prior experience in conference and meeting organisation, contact with media, and the design of publications (see www.casa.ucl.ac.uk). Resources for both administration and the management of this process for ensuring effective impacts are part of the FEC associated with the investigators and CASA administration.
 
Title London Riots 2011 Simulation 
Description This touch table game gives you a chance to act as police commissioner during one night of the London riots. Across the course of the simulation, various disturbances will occur across the city, and it is your task to strategically assign your limited police resources to minimise the severity of the riots. The game uses a mathematical model of rioter behaviour which takes into account the probability of an inactive local resident becoming involved in the riots (linked to the deprivation of the area); the deterrent effect of police; the appeal of riot sites and the relative positioning of suspect address and riot locations. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact n/a 
 
Title Riot visualisation 
Description Drawing from the data obtained by the metropolitan police on rioter arrests, a visualisation of the events unfolding across the city was created using Processing. The video displays points on a map of London for each of the incidents, and connects them to the distances rioters travelled from their home using large circles. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact n/a 
 
Description The ENFOLDing Project is a component of the EPSRC 'New tools for complexity science applied to real world problems' initiative. It is concerned with four aspects of global dynamics - migration, trade, security and development aid. These are all complex subsystems of the global system and the project focuses on providing complexity science tools through mathematical and computer modelling. The findings of the project will be published by John Wiley in two books in 2016: Global dynamics and Geo-mathematical modelling, the first focusing on the substantive areas, the second on the modelling tools. The contents of these books are shown below in an Annex.
The key findings can be summarised as follows.
• Migration. It is possible to build finer scale models of migration using biproportional fitting methods and this has been done for subregions within the European Union. Models have also been developed at the global scale. It has been possible to estimate the impact of a variety fo push and pull factors on migration flows with Europe as a case study.
• Trade. A model global trade as a complex adaptive system has been developed for container trade. This can be used to test the impact of new technologies - such as larger ships - and the impact of collaboration between shipping lines. It has also been used to test the impact of major events such as the Japanese tsunami. The model has been applied in a spin-off study for the World Bank on improving trade in sea-locked countries in the South Pacific.
• Security. Important new models have been developed by adding space to the Richardson models of arms races, battles and war. These, and more traditional models have been applied in a wide variety of circumstances ranging from the London riots at the urban scale through IUD devices in Iraq to the global disposition of military resources.
• Development aid. The global aid system can be seen as a complex adaptive system. A comprehensive data base has been assembled and basic statistical models calibrated.
• Interdependence: the global economic model. These different steams all contribute to global dynamics and particularly to the global economy. At the heart of the project, a world input-output model has been built which can then be used to explore the impacts of changes in the major subsystems. This involves having available input-output models for each of over 200 countries. This was build on the basis of an excellent data base developed by the WIOD project in Groningen for 40 countries, and a method was devised for identifying plausible input-output tables for the remainder. This in turn facilitates the building of inter-country trade flows. This global model can then be used for testing the impacts of change in any or all of the four substantive systems that have been explored. This is reported in the concluding chapter of the Global dynamics book.

Annex. The contents of the two books which summarise the project findings.
Global dynamics
Alan Wilson (Editor)
Contents
Acknowledgements
List of contributors
Part 1. Global dynamics and the tools of complexity science
Chapter 1. Global dynamics and the tools of complexity science (Alan Wilson)
Part 2. Trade and economic development
Chapter 2. The global trade system and its evolution (Simone Caschili, Francesca Medda and Luca Coconcelli)
Chapter 3. A multi-layer model of international trade (Simone Caschili, Francesca Medda and Alan Wilson)
Chapter 4. An inter-national global input-output model (Rob Levy, Thomas Oléron Evans, Alan Wilson)
Part 3. Migration
Chapter 5. Modelling and policy challenges (Adam Dennett and Pablo Mateos)
Chapter 6. Inter-regional migration in Europe (Adam Dennett and Alan Wilson)
Chapter 7. Global migration flows: estimating an annual time series of global migration flows - an alternative methodology for using migrant stock data (Adam Dennett)
Part 4. Security
Chapter 8. Conflict modelling (Peter Baudains and Alan Wilson)
Chapter 9. Riots (Peter Baudains)
Chapter 10. Rebellions (Peter Baudains, Jyoti Belur, Alex Braithwaite, Elio Marchione and Shane Johnson)
Chapter 11. Piracy (Elio Marchione and Alan Wilson)
Chapter 12. Insurgency (Shane Johnson, Alex Braithwaite)
Chapter 13. International information flows, government response, and the contagion of ethnic conflict (Janina Beiser)
Part 5. Aid and development
Chapter 14. International development aid: a complex system (Belinda Wu)
Chapter 15. Model-building for the system international development aid (Belinda Wu and Alan Wilson)
Chapter 16. Aid allocation (Robert Downes and Steven Bishop)
Part 6. Global dynamics: an integrated model and policy challenges
Chapter 17. Modelling and exploring global policy challenges (Peter Baudains, Thomas Oléron-Evans, Rob Levy and Alan Wilson)

Geo-mathematical modelling
Alan Wilson (Editor)
Contents
Acknowledgements
List of contributors
Part 1. Approaches
Chapter 1. The tool kit (Alan Wilson)
Part 2. Estimating missing data: biproportional fitting and principal components' analysis
Chapter 2. Inter-regional migration in Europe in relation to economic and labour market inequalities (Adam Dennett)
Chapter 3. International trade flows (Simone Caschili and Alan Wilson)
Chapter 4. Service flows in inter-regional input-output models (Rob Levy and Alan Wilson)
Chapter 5. A method for estimating unknown national input-output tables using limited data (Thomas Oléron Evans and Rob Levy)
Part 3. Dynamics in account-based models
Chapter 6. A dynamic global trade model (Hannah M. Fry, Alan Wilson and Frank T. Smith)
Chapter 7. Global dynamical modelling (Anthony Korte and Alan Wilson)
Part 4. Space-time statistical analysis
Chapter 8. Space-time analysis of point patterns in crime and security events (Toby Davies, Shane Johnson, Alex Braithwaite and Elio Marchione)
Part 5. Real time response models
Chapter 9. The London riots-1: epidemiology, spatial interaction and probability of arrest (Toby Davies, Hannah M. Fry, Alan Wilson and Steven Bishop)
Chapter 10. The London riots-2: a discrete choice model (Peter Baudains, Alex Braithwaite and Shane Johnson)
Part 6. The mathematics of war
Chapter 11. Richardson models with space (Peter Baudains, Alex Braithwaite, Hannah M. Fry, Toby Davies, Alan Wilson and Steven R. Bishop)
Part 7. Agent-based models
Chapter 12. Agent-based models of piracy (Elio Marchione, Shane Johnson and Alan Wilson)
Chapter 13. A simple approach for the prediction of extinction events in multi-agent models (Thomas Oléron Evans, Steven R. Bishop and Frank T. Smith)
Part 8. Diffusion models
Chapter 14. Urban agglomeration through the diffusion of investment impacts (Minette D'Lima, Francescs R. Medda and Alan Wilson)
Part 9. Game theory
Chapter 15. From Colonel Blotto to Field Marshall Blotto (Peter Baudains, Toby Davies, Hannah M. Fry, and Alan Wilson)
Chapter 16. Modelling strategic interactions in a global context (Janina Beiser)
Chapter 17. A general framework for static, spatially explicit games of search and concealment (Thomas Oléron Evans, Steven R. Bishop and Frank T. Smith)
Part 10. Networks
Chapter 18. Network evolution: a transport example (Valerio de Martinis, Francesca Pagliara and Alan Wilson)
Chapter 19. The structure of global transportation networks (Sean Hanna, Joan Serras and Tasos Varoudis)
Chapter 20. Trade networks and optimal consumption (Rob Downes and Rob Levy)
Part 11. Integration
Chapter 21. Research priorities (Alan Wilson)
Appendices
Appendix A. Using support vector analysis to predict extinction events in multi-agent models (Thomas Oléron Evans, Steven R. Bishop and Frank T. Smith)
Appendix B. A spatial diffusion model with pulsed releases to compare strategies for the sterile insect technique applied to the mosquito Aedes aegypti (Thomas Oléron Evans, Steven R. Bishop and Frank T. Smith)
Appendix C. Results on the optimal mixed strategies of spatial games (Thomas Oléron Evans, Steven R. Bishop and Frank T. Smith)
Appendix D. Optimal random patrol over spaces of non-uniform value (Thomas Oléron Evans, Steven R. Bishop and Frank T. Smith)
Exploitation Route The trade models are of interest to a wide range of companies involved with shipping, trade and ports' management; the migration work to various Government departments; the security work to the police and the Home Office; and the development aid research to a range of users form DFiD to charities concerned with overseas aid. The trade models can be used to explore the impacts of major shifts - and this has been tested in relation to the Japanese tsunami. The European migration model is being used to explore the impact of in-migrants in the UK in subregions in relation to employment opportunities. The 'London riots' model can be used to estimate the policing strategies for any future events of this kind.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy,Other

URL http://enfolding.blogs.casa.ucl.ac.uk/
 
Description Shipping companies, and insurance companies associated with shipping, have used the trade models. The Home Office has used the migration and security outputs. The Metropolitan Police have used the London Riots model.
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Security and Diplomacy,Other
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Title Automated conversion of British National Grid coordinate system to Latitude and Longitude and vice versa 
Description Implementation of mathematical conversion between coordinate systems 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact n/a 
 
Title Computer simulation of conflict 
Description Implementation of mathematical model of conflict 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact n/a 
 
Title Computer simulation of riots 
Description Implementation of mathematical rioter model 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact n/a 
 
Title Multi-level Spatial Interaction Model (MLSIM) 
Description This model is a hybrid doubly constrained / higher level interaction constrained spatial interaction model. It is designed to produce estimates of inter-regional migration flows where partial inter-regional data are available and complete inter-country data are available to calibrate distance decay parameters and constrain flow estimates respectively. Collaborators: The model borrows some code from a VBA model built by Naoto YABE- Department of Geography, Tokyo Metropolitan University, J, This model is a hybrid doubly constrained / higher level interaction constrained spatial interaction model. It is designed to produce estimates of inter-regional migration flows where partial inter-regional data are available and complete inter-country data are available to calibrate distance decay parameters and constrain flow estimates respectively. Collaborators: The model borrows some code from a VBA model built by Naoto YABE- Department of Geography, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact n/a 
 
Title Space-time Dynamics of Maritime Piracy 
Description To examine patterns in the timing and location of incidents of maritime piracy to see if, like many urban crimes, attacks cluster in space, time and space and time 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact n/a 
 
Description World Bank Global Trade 
Organisation World Bank Group
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We used our global trade model in the context of improving trade in the South Pacific Island countries, and in Uganda, and that produced the book by Medda et al (see publications) as well as a report to the World Bank.
Collaborator Contribution Financial support and project specification
Impact Medda et al, see publications list
Start Year 2016
 
Title Bezier Curves 
Description This is a Python tool to automatically create Bezier curves on a map. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact n/a 
URL http://hannahfry.co.uk/2011/11/16/bezier-curves/
 
Title Converting Latitude and Longitude to British National Grid 
Description This is a Python tool to automatically convert a bulk of British National Grid coordinates to Latitude and Longitude and back. Currently this software has over 100 downloads per month. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact N/a 
URL http://hannahfry.co.uk/2012/02/01/converting-latitude-and-longitude-to-british-national-grid/
 
Description Offender Spatial-decision making for everyday and extreme events. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description ENFOLDing blog - Global Dynamics and Complex Systems 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact ENFOLDing is a project bringing together researchers from the fields of Political Science, Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Urban Planning, Security Science, Geography and Transport Research to model and understand global-level dynamics.



The blog gives background on the project's Co-Investigators, Researchers and PhD students as well as working papers, presentations and feeds from researchers' personal blogs.

n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Hannah Fry - TEDxUCL 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Mathematicians and scientists have been modeling the behaviour of physical systems for centuries, but it is only in the past few years that they have begun to realise that these models can also be applied to the behaviour of humans in society.



Techniques to understand the flow of a fluid can be applied to the movement of a crowd; the spread of a disease has identical mechanisms to the uptake of a new technology or the spread of a rumour; and the way that humans form social connections has links to the network of international flight routes.



In the last decade or so, people have begun to exploit these analogies and we are seeing a new field emerging at the interface between social sciences and mathematics. These new applications of mathematical modelling techniques allow us to answer 'what if' questions in a way that data and statistical analysis cannot, and offer insights into the mechanisms of emergent properties in a way that computer simulations cannot.



I will illustrate the potential of this new field using an example from my own work: a mathematical model of the London Riots. The model can demonstrate why certain areas of the city were at a higher risk than others, give quantitative insights into the importance of police numbers and help to determine what policing strategies may have resulted in a swifter resolution to the unrest. all adding to an overall picture which will help prevent similar events in the future.



Finally, we will discuss how this new era of social modeling can provide a greater understanding of our society, and help us design better systems for all: from healthcare services to policing and policy.

n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnQYJa9-aR0
 
Description Investigating spatial patterns in the London riots using statistical and mathematical models. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact This paper was presented at the Geospatial Intelligence Special Interest Group, Shrivenham, UK, November 2012.

n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Modelling Approaches to the Future of International Trade 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The patterns of international trade have changed dramatically in recent years, partly through the increasing dominance of China in manufacturing, the power of emerging markets, and changes in shipping and ports' technologies. Data sources that describe these changes are rich but incomplete and, in the case of shipping and trade data, not connected. Here we present models of the evolution of the shipping system, and biproportional fitting models that provide the basis for linking shipping and trade data.

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation at The Bartlett Innovative Research of Cities Symposium 2013, University College London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Toby Davies presented his work on 'Analysing the London riots via a mathematical model' at the The Bartlett Innovative Research of Cities Symposium 2013, University College London, 25th March 2013.

This presentation was based on the paper 'A mathematical model of the London riots and their policing' - http://www.nature.com/srep/2013/130221/srep01303/full/srep01303.html

n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://enfolding.blogs.casa.ucl.ac.uk/files/2012/01/Bartlett_v1.pdf
 
Description The Global Lab Episode 5 - Interview with Hannah Fry about Global Modelling 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This week we talk about a recent citizen science project involving school children and get to grips with 'Necrogeography'. Our featured guest is Hannah Fry talking about her research in global modelling and modelling people's actions during riots.

n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Trampling out the spark? Governments' strategic reaction to the threat of ethnic conflict contagion. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Trampling out the spark? Governments' strategic reaction to the threat of ethnic conflict contagion. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description WIRED magazine article - Model suggests earlier response could have shortened London riots 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Artcle written by Duncan Geere in WIRED magazine on 20th April 2012.

A team of spatial interaction researchers at the Centre for Applied Spatial Analysis at UCL has come up with a model of the 2011 London Riots that attempts to answer the question of how they could have been stopped quicker.

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-04/20/earlier-response-shorten-london-riots
 
Description Why do conflicts occur simultaneously? Exploring the domestic contagiousness of armed conflict. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015