Sunday, September 23, 2007

royal society meeting on transport/network modeling

so monday/tuesday next week, I am at the Royal Society at a meeting (and giving a
talk on tuesday- viz:
transport and net modeling

radio 4 had a nice programme about this event where a coupel of guys I work with,
Frank Kelly in cambridge and Andrew Odlyzko in the US, talk quite well (in terms
of good public explanation of tricky stuff in plain english)

if you do podcasts, here it is:
at the material world

my talk on mobility and forwarding elicted some interesting questions on location versus co-location based models (from RIchard Gibbens), and on distributed computation over DTNs (from Brad Karp) (see Rondini's work at UCL).

Most talks were from either transport viewpoint, or communications modeling viewpoint, but most speakers made more than a token effort to explain the applicability of their work to the "other" side - one of the talks on analysing MIDAS road monitoring data (richard gibbens) was very illuminating.

One idea I had was to implement "packet drop" on roads - this can be done one of two ways:- 1/ deflection routing - force people off the optimal (e.g. in shortest path sense) route if it is congested 2/ force people to park - on freeway, this could be done in lieu of a toll - time is money - so if you implement individiaul charges (tolls), or you have pay as you drive insurance, you could increase the "charge" for a given speed til enough people slowed down to get throughput back up - if this is done coupled with averaging speed cameras (e.g. M1 now), then it can be enforced too and would possibly entail a fraction of people pulling over and stopping for a while to "get their cost" down...

Tim Griffin game a nice exposition of how Inter-domain routing works, and how it could be better modelled - this is clearly directly applicable to road and other transport systems since it entails understanding that local optimisation only is necessary for systems that are competing (ratehr than global optimisation that you might get for a monopoly or state provided single monolithic transport system) _ so "joined up thinking on transport" might involve running BGP between road, rail, air, bus, taxi etc as a way to find multi-modal routes:)

More generally, one question arose about the common ethical problems (e.g. privacy) between both transport and communication networks, for example, even just doing experimental work gathering traces of users activities, you can data mine to infer a LOT even without knowing content of car/packet!

BBC reports BT still don't beleive case for fiber to the home which is amusing given Andrew Odlyzko's talk...and 11M japanese homes already have it..oh well...

meanwhile, I am mostly just reading through this year's syllabus for GCSE science, and am pleased to say that while there is a lot of material about touchy feely things like ethics, global warming, GM crops, there is still a clear indication that real science teachers had a say in the content as there is quite clearly a section on "making fireworks" that will let budding chemists blow things up (my favourite bit!). actually there's some good stuff on electricity and periodic table and on waves/light etc, so I dont think its too shoddy.

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