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Creativity

The “Creativity, Innovation and Artificial Intelligence” topic, “Creativity” in short, is the newest research line of CSL Paris. It started its activities at the end of 2017 and it focuses on the investigation of the processes underlying innovation and human creativity and their interplay with the most recent advances in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Inference methods. The research, by blending in a unitary interdisciplinary effort three main activities – theoretical modelling, data-science and machine learning, gaming and participation – aims at developing a science of the “new”, focusing on how the “new” emerges in social and technological systems and how humans and machines explore the space of possibilities and find new solutions.

The main Topic includes several specific research lines that can be summarized as follows:

(i) The mathematics of the new: One of the key problems when studying innovation processes is represented by a lack of a suitable mathematical framework to describe the occurrence of events whose existence one did not even previously suspect; this is the so-called problem of ‘unanticipated knowledge’. In this framework, a beautiful notion is that of the “adjacent possible”. Originally introduced in the framework of biology, the adjacent possible metaphor already expanded its scope to include all those things (ideas, linguistic structures, concepts, molecules, genomes, technological artifacts, etc.) that are one step away from what actually exists, and hence can arise from incremental modifications and recombination of existing material. Mathematically, the notion of Adjacent Possible has been formulated by some of the core members of the Creativity topic (see tria_2014). Based on this general formulation extremely challenging problems can be faced, to investigate the topology of the space of possibilities and its dynamical evolution at the individual and collective level. The final goal is that of defining a coherent and self-consistent mathematical formulation that, beyond explaining stylized facts (statistical laws, correlation and triggering effects, etc.), is able to cast concrete predictions to be grounded on actual data.

(ii) Unfolding creativity processes: This research line is focusing on unveiling the strategies of exploration of the adjacent possible in many different systems (social, biological, technological). The goal is pursued through a data-science and machine-learning approach to datasets mirroring the emergence of novelties in very different kind of systems. This approach is paralleled by the realization of actual experiments involving people, both through online gaming and open events (see for instance: www.kreyon.net/kreyonDays) to engage people in activities that challenge them to explore their adjacent possible and come up with new ideas, recombining existing ideas, effectively triggering some evolutionary dynamics of novelties (videos of several activities are available here: https://goo.gl/Ejdy14). A special attention is devoted to the way in which machines and artificial agents are able to explore their adjacent possible and overcome the problem of the unanticipated knowledge.

(iii) Platforms for a sustainable world: The intrinsic complexity of the emerging challenges human beings collectively face requires a deep comprehension of the underlying phenomena in order to plan effective strategies and sustainable solutions: from the planning of urban infrastructures to containment strategies for pandemics, from the impact of political campaigns to measures against information pollution and misinformation. In all these cases, decision-making processes have to be supported with meaningful representations of the present situations along with accurate simulation engines to generate and evaluate future scenarios. Instrumental to all this is the possibility to gather and analyze huge amounts of relevant data and visualize them in a meaningful way also for an audience without technical or scientific expertise. Understanding the present through data is often not enough and the impact of specific decisions and solutions can be correctly assessed only when projected into the future. Hence the need of tools allowing for a realistic forecast of how a change in the current conditions will affect and modify the future scenario. In short scenario simulators and decision support tools. In this framework CSL Paris is launching a new research direction aimed at developing effective infrastructures merging the science of data with the development of highly predictive models, to come up with engaging and meaningful visualizations and friendly scenario simulation engines.

Interactions with other Topics

Creativity-Language: The topic of Creativity is strongly intertwined with the topic of Language. Language is in fact one of the most natural playground to investigate creativity and innovation processes for several reasons and CSL Paris has a strong interest in Language studies and its Language team is widely known for its seminal contributions to the developments of Construction Grammars. In addition, Language features a vast ecosystem of innovation phenomena and creative exploits. Not to mention the huge amount of language-related data already available, that are a strategic starting point for any scientific investigation, and the vast corpus of both theoretical and computer science tools for natural language processing.

Joint projects: Anticipation processes.

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Microgrids for Energy Access “Falling costs, new technologies, and favourable...
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A quantitative and operational definition of what is new is...
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Kreyon City is a unique experience whose challenge is that...
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The Citychrone platform (www.citychrone.org), originally developed by Sapienza University of...
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Despite the recent dramatic boost of inference methods, artificial intelligent...
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The rise of Information Age is transforming our world and,...
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Anticipation processes concerns all cases in which the next occurrence...
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A key research target is the direct individuation of the...
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Creativity is more and more recognized as the main driver...
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2019

Efficient team structures in an open-ended cooperative creativity experiment

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Bernardo Monechi , Pullano Giulia , Vittorio Loreto |

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116, 44, 2019. pp.22088--22093.

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Abstract

Creativity is progressively acknowledged as the main driver for progress in all sectors of humankind’s activities: arts, science, technology, business, and social policies. Nowadays, many creative processes rely on many actors collectively contributing to an outcome. The same is true when groups of people collaborate in the solution of a complex problem. Despite the critical importance of collective actions in human endeavors, few works have tackled this topic extensively and quantitatively. Here we report about an experimental setting to single out some of the key determinants of efficient teams committed to an open-ended creative task. In this experiment, dynamically forming teams were challenged to create several artworks using LEGO bricks. The growth rate of the artworks, the dynamical network of social interactions, and the interaction patterns between the participants and the artworks were monitored in parallel. The experiment revealed that larger working teams are building at faster rates and that higher commitment leads to higher growth rates. Even more importantly, there exists an optimal number of weak ties in the social network of creators that maximizes the growth rate. Finally, the presence of influencers within the working team dramatically enhances the building efficiency. The generality of the approach makes it suitable for application in very different settings, both physical and online, whenever a creative collective outcome is required
2019

Subjectivity and complexity of facial attractiveness

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Ibáñez-Berganza Miguel , Amico Ambra , Vittorio Loreto |

Scientific Reports, 9, 1, 2019. pp.8364.

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Abstract

The origin and meaning of facial beauty represent a longstanding puzzle. Despite the profuse literature devoted to facial attractiveness, its very nature, its determinants and the nature of inter-person differences remain controversial issues. Here we tackle such questions proposing a novel experimental approach in which human subjects, instead of rating natural faces, are allowed to efficiently explore the face-space and “sculpt” their favorite variation of a reference facial image. The results reveal that different subjects prefer distinguishable regions of the face-space, highlighting the essential subjectivity of the phenomenon. The different sculpted facial vectors exhibit strong correlations among pairs of facial distances, characterising the underlying universality and complexity of the cognitive processes, and the relative relevance and robustness of the different facial distances.
2019

Universal scores for accessibility and inequalities in urban areas

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Biazzo Indaco , Bernardo Monechi , Vittorio Loreto |

in press in Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 2019.

2019

The exploration of the Adjacent Possible explains the emergence and evolution of social networks

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Enrico Ubaldi , Burioni Raffaella , Vittorio Loreto , Tria Francesca |

Submitted for publication, 2019.

2018

Complex delay dynamics on railway networks from universal laws to realistic modelling

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Bernardo Monechi , Pietro Gravino , Di Clemente Riccardo , Servedio Vito DP |

EPJ Data Science, 7, 1, Springer, 2018. pp.35.

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Abstract

Railways are a key infrastructure for any modern country. The reliability and resilience of this peculiar transportation system may be challenged by different shocks such as disruptions, strikes and adverse weather conditions. These events compromise the correct functioning of the system and trigger the spreading of delays into the railway network on a daily basis. Despite their importance, a general theoretical understanding of the underlying causes of these disruptions is still lacking. In this work, we analyse the Italian and German railway networks by leveraging on the train schedules and actual delay data retrieved during the year 2015. We use these data to infer simple statistical laws ruling the emergence of localized delays in different areas of the network and we model the spreading of these delays throughout the network by exploiting a framework inspired by epidemic spreading models. Our model offers a fast and easy tool for the preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of traffic handling policies, and of the railway network criticalities.
2018

Zipf’s, Heaps’ and Taylor’s laws are determined by the expansion into the adjacent possible

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Tria Francesca , Vittorio Loreto , Servedio Vito D. P. |

Entropy, 20, 10, 2018.

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Abstract

Zipf's, Heaps' and Taylor's laws are ubiquitous in many different systems where innovation processes are at play. Together, they represent a compelling set of stylized facts regarding the overall statistics, the innovation rate and the scaling of fluctuations for systems as diverse as written texts and cities, ecological systems and stock markets. Many modeling schemes have been proposed in literature to explain those laws, but only recently a modeling framework has been introduced that accounts for the emergence of those laws without deducing the emergence of one of the laws from the others or without ad hoc assumptions. This modeling framework is based on the concept of adjacent possible space and its key feature of being dynamically restructured while its boundaries get explored, i.e., conditional to the occurrence of novel events. Here, we illustrate this approach and show how this simple modeling framework, instantiated through a modified Pólya’s urn model, is able to reproduce Zipf's, Heaps' and Taylor's laws within a unique self-consistent scheme. In addition, the same modeling scheme embraces other less common evolutionary laws (Hoppe's model and Dirichlet processes) as particular cases.
2017

Where Creativity and Innovation are Much Needed Fuels

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Vittorio Loreto |

43 Visions for Complexity, edited by:Thurner, Stefan, World Scientific, 2017.

2017

Significance and popularity in music production

Topics:
creativity music
Authors
Bernardo Monechi , Pietro Gravino , Servedio Vito D. P. , Tria Francesca , Vittorio Loreto |

Royal Society Open Science, 4, 7, The Royal Society, 2017.

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Abstract

Creative industries constantly strive for fame and popularity. Though highly desirable, popularity is not the only achievement artistic creations might ever acquire. Leaving a longstanding mark in the global production and influencing future works is an even more important achievement, usually acknowledged by experts and scholars. ‘Significant’ or ‘influential’ works are not always well known to the public or have sometimes been long forgotten by the vast majority. In this paper, we focus on the duality between what is successful and what is significant in the musical context. To this end, we consider a user-generated set of tags collected through an online music platform, whose evolving co-occurrence network mirrors the growing conceptual space underlying music production. We define a set of general metrics aiming at characterizing music albums throughout history, and their relationships with the overall musical production. We show how these metrics allow to classify albums according to their current popularity or their belonging to expert-made lists of important albums. In this way, we provide the scientific community and the public at large with quantitative tools to tell apart popular albums from culturally or aesthetically relevant artworks. The generality of the methodology presented here lends itself to be used in all those fields where innovation and creativity are in play.
2017

Maximum entropy models capture melodic styles

Topics:
creativity music
Authors
Sakellariou Jason , Tria Francesca , Vittorio Loreto , François Pachet |

Scientific Reports, 7, 1, Nature Publishing Group, 2017. pp.9172.

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Abstract

We introduce a Maximum Entropy model able to capture the statistics of melodies in music. The model can be used to generate new melodies that emulate the style of a given musical corpus. Instead of using the n–body interactions of (n−1)–order Markov models, traditionally used in automatic music generation, we use a k-nearest neighbour model with pairwise interactions only. In that way, we keep the number of parameters low and avoid over-fitting problems typical of Markov models. We show that long-range musical phrases don’t need to be explicitly enforced using high-order Markov interactions, but can instead emerge from multiple, competing, pairwise interactions. We validate our Maximum Entropy model by contrasting how much the generated sequences capture the style of the original corpus without plagiarizing it. To this end we use a data-compression approach to discriminate the levels of borrowing and innovation featured by the artificial sequences. Our modelling scheme outperforms both fixed-order and variable-order Markov models. This shows that, despite being based only on pairwise interactions, our scheme opens the possibility to generate musically sensible alterations of the original phrases, providing a way to generate innovation.
2017

The dynamics of social interactions in a collective creativity experiment

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Giulia Pullano |

2017.

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Abstract

The study of the dynamics behind the emergence of novelties and inno- vation is a relatively recent field of study in complex systems, fostered by the abundance of data about the creations and sharing of artworks and about on-line activity in general. Despite this recentness, many works have been able to discover and characterise several interesting statistical patterns related to the emergence of new creative elements and a very general mathematical framework describing the collective process of di- scovering and sharing novelties come out. However, still a lot has to be discovered concerning the conditions, either historical and social, fostering the emergence of creative elements from a group of interacting individuals. From a social perspective, many hypotheses have been developed and te- sted concerning the relations between individual like the presence of ?weak ties? in social networks or the ?folding? of different social groups into a larger one sharing a common goal. Complex Systems Science has given lit- tle contributions to the understanding of how the dynamics behind social interactions contributes to foster the emergence of creativity. This work of thesis is devoted to the analysis of data collected during a collective social experiment in which individuals were asked to collaborate in the realisation of a set of LEGO bricks sculptures. The participants to the experiments were provided with particular RFID tags, developed in the framework of the SOCIOPATTERNS project, that enabled a quite precise mapping of the social interactions occurring during their activity within the experiment. The interaction with the LEGO Sculptures were similarly mapped by means of other RFID tags placed around the sculptures, and their growth in volume has been recorded with the aid of infra-red depth sensors. The RFID sensors allowed for a reconstruction of the dynamical network of social interactions between the participants in the experiment. We looked for correlations between the evolving structure of this social net- work and the growing patterns of the sculptures, spotting the local social structures more prone for a rapid growth of the volume in small amounts of times and in long term periods. In this way, we were able to identify the social patterns more fruitful in terms of ?local consensus? around the development of the collective artwork, indicating a shared vision around the actions to be performed on it. Moreover, we were able to identify how the presence of 'influential individuals' characterised by means of information spreading models favoured the growth of the sculptures in the long-term. The novelty behind the proposed approach could contribute to shed light on the phenomena related to creativity and could be useful in conceiving and designing new collecting creativity experiments.
2016

Individual Mobility Patterns in Urban Environment

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Pierpaolo Mastroianni , Bernardo Monechi , Vito DP Servedio , Carlo Liberto , Gaetano Valenti , Vittorio Loreto |

e COMPLEXIS 2016, 1st International Conference on Complex Information Systems, Rome, 22-24 April 2016, 2016.

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Abstract

The understanding and the characterisation of individual mobility patterns in urban environments is important in order to improve liveability and planning of big cities. In relatively recent times, the availability of data regarding human movements have fostered the emergence of a new branch of social studies, with the aim to unveil and study those patterns thanks to data collected by means of geolocalisation technologies. In this paper we analyse a large dataset of GPS tracks of cars collected in Rome (Italy). Dividing the drivers in classes according to the number of trips they perform in a day, we show that the sequence of the travelled space connecting two consecutive stops shows a precise behaviour so that the shortest trips are performed at the middle of the sequence, when the longest occur at the beginning and at the end when drivers head back home. We show that this behaviour is consistent with the idea of an optimisation process in which the total travel time is minimised, under the effect of spatial constraints so that the starting points is on the border of the space in which the dynamics takes place.
2016

Exploring the evolution of pathogens organised in discrete antigenic clusters

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Martina Pugliese , Vittorio Loreto , Simone Pompei , Francesca Tria |

Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment, 2016, 9, IOP Publishing, 2016. pp.093306.

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Abstract

We present a numerical model for the evolution of pathogens organised in discrete antigenic clusters, where individuals in the same clusters have the same fitness. The fitness of each cluster is a decreasing function of the total number of cluster members appeared in the population. Cluster transition is modelled with inclusion and exclusion of dynamical epistatic effects. In both cases we observe a continuous transition, driven by the mutation rate, from a dynamics with single clusters alternating in time to the coexistence of many clusters in the population. The transition between the two regimes is investigated in terms of the key parameters of the model. We find that the location and the scaling of this transition can be explained in terms of the time of first appearance of a new cluster in the population. The presence of dynamical epistatic effects results in a shift of the value of the mutation rate where the transition occurs.
2016

Analysis of the Structure and the Collaborative Dynamics of GitHub Projects

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Valeria Gelardi |

2016.

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Abstract

The recent spread of social networks and ICT systems has allowed for a huge availability of data on social phenomena and collective behaviour. This has induced a deep change in social dynamics field, that moved from an essentially theoretical approach to a strongly data driven one. In such framework, the present work aims at exploring the collaboration dynamics and the organisational structures within the GitHub platform. Moreover, the purpose is using success and popularity as feedbacks to check whether some particular structures exist that are associated with more efficiency, better results and subsequently more innovative features in the development of the code. GitHub is based on the Git revision control system and is currently the most important platform for open source coding, counting millions of repositories and active users. Moreover, the complete timeline of GitHub activity is publicly accessible on the GitHub Archive website. GitHub is therefore a particularly suitable system to observe and analyse collective social behaviours and collaborative dynamics. The collaboration among users fosters an uninterrupted flow of new ideas which actualise in many different events such as the creation of new projects and updating of existing ones through code modifications. The analysis required a preliminary selection of the data downloaded from GitHub Archive in order to create a database containing all the necessary information about projects activity. The analysis carried out on this database was mostly inspired by previous research on innovation dynamics in the framework of complex systems. Every project was mapped in a network structure in order to observe dynamically the development and the modifications of the code. Some metrics were defined that could estimate the collaboration degree among users and the organization of the workload within the developing branches. Other metrics were chosen in order to evaluate both the success and the popularity reached by a project and its potential innovation. Correlation analysis between the metrics and the indexes above mentioned allow for some evaluations about the interdependence between attention received and structural features of the projects. This thesis work follows up several quantitative analyses on GitHub presented in literature and proposes a new visualisation of internal structures and collaborative dynamics within GitHub projects. Moreover, identifying successful patterns could help in highlighting the most influential and pioneering projects and encouraging their development.
2016

Crossing the horizon: exploring the adjacent possible in a cultural system

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Pietro Gravino , Bernardo Monechi , Vito DP Servedio , Francesca Tria , Vittorio Loreto |

submitted to "ICCC 2016 - The Seventh International Conference on Computational Creativity", Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Computational Creativity, June 2016, 2016.

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Abstract

It is common opinion that many innovations are triggered by serendipity whose notion is associated with fortuitous events leading to unintended consequences. One might argue that this interpretation is due to the poor understanding of the dynamics of innovations. Very little is known, in fact, about how innovations proceed and samples the space of potential novelties. This space is usually referred to as the adjacent possible, a concept originally introduced in the study of biological systems to indicate the set of possibilities that are one step away from what actually exists. In this paper we focus on the problem of defining the adjacent possible space, and analyzing its dynamics, for a particular system, namely the cultural system of the network of movies. We synthesized to this end the graph emerging from the Internet Movies Database (IMDb) and looked at the static and dynamical properties of this network. We deal, in particular, with the subtle mechanism of the adjacent possible by measuring the expansion and the coverage of this elusive space during the global evolution of the system. Finally, we introduce the concept of adjacent possibilities at the level of single node and try to elucidate its nature by looking at the correlations with topological and user annotation metrics.
2016

Unveiling political opinion structures with a web-experiment

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Pietro Gravino , Saverio Caminiti , Alina Sirbu , Francesca Tria , Vito D. P. Servedio , Vittorio Loreto |

COMPLEXIS 2016, 1st International Conference on Complex Information Systems, Rome, 22-24 April 2016, 2016.

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Abstract

The dynamics of political votes has been widely studied, both for its practical interest and as a paradigm of the dynamics of mass opinions and collective phenomena, where theoretical predictions can be easily tested. However, the vote outcome is often influenced by many factors beyond the bare opinion on the candidate, and in most cases it is bound to a single preference. The voter perception of the political space is still to be elucidated. We here propose a web experiment (laPENSOcos'i) where we explicitly investigate participant's opinions on political entities (parties, coalitions, individual candidates) of the Italian political scene. As a main result, we show that the political perception follows a Weber-Fechner-like law, i.e., when ranking political entities according to the user expressed preferences, the perceived distance of the user from a given entity scales as the logarithm of this rank.
2016

Waves of Novelties in the Expansion into the Adjacent Possible

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Bernardo Monechi , Alvaro Ruiz-Serrano , Francesca Tria , Vittorio Loreto |

PloS ONE, edited by:Public Library of Science, 12, 6, 2016. pp.e0179303.

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Abstract

The emergence of novelties and their rise and fall in popularity is an ubiquitous phenomenon in human activities. The coexistence of always popular milestones with novel and sometimes ephemeral trends pervades technological, scientific and artistic production. By introducing suitable statistical measures, we demonstrate that different systems of human activities, i.e. the creation of hashtags in Twitter, the interaction with online program code repositories, the creation of texts and the listening of songs on an on-line platform, exhibit surprisingly similar properties.We then introduce a general framework to explain those regularities. We propose a simple mathematical model based on the expansion into the adjacent possible, that has been proven to be a very general and powerful mechanism able to explain many of the statistical patterns emerging in innovation dynamics, to which we add two crucial elements. On the one hand we quantify the idea that, while exploring a conceptual or physical space, inertia exists towards known already discovered elements. On the other hand, we highlight the role of the collective dynamics - where many users interact, in a direct or indirect way in the emergence and diffusion of novelties and innovations.
2016

The Evolution Of Collaborative Stories

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Christine Cuskley , Bernardo Monechi , Pietro Gravino , Vittorio Loreto |

The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANGX11), edited by:S.G. Roberts and C. Cuskley and L. McCrohon and L. Barcel'o-Coblijn and O. Fehér and T. Verhoef, 2016.

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Abstract

Studies in literature and narrative have begun to argue more forcefully for considering human evolution as central to understanding stories and storytelling more generally (Sugiyama, 2001; Hernadi, 2002). However, empirical studies in language evolution have focused primarily on language structure or the language faculty, leaving the evolution of stories largely unexplored (although see Von Heiseler, 2014). Stories are unique products of human culture enabled principally by human language. Given this, the dynamics of creativity in stories, and the traits which make successful stories, are of crucial interest to understanding the evolution of language in the context of human evolution more broadly. The current work aims to illuminate how stories emerge, evolve, and change in the context of a collaborative cultural effort. We present results from a novel experimental paradigm centered around a story game where players write short continuations (between 60 and 120 characters) of existing stories. These continuations then become open to other players to continue in turn. Stories are subject to player selection, allowing for variation and speciation of the resulting narratives, and evolve as a result of collaborative effort between players. The game starts with a seed of over 60 potential stories, and players choose which stories to continue, providing a player-driven story selection mechanism. In this way, stories which are creative, intriguing, and open ended spawn more stories, and eventually lead to longer story paths as play continues. The game also introduces further limitations by constraining a players' view of the story path: players have access only to a story and its parent, meaning knowledge of the existing narrative is limited. We present data from hundreds of players and stories, creating large story trees which explore the space of different possible narratives which grow out of a confined set of starting points. This data allows us to investigate several aspects of the growing story trees to illuminate not only what makes a story successful, but how creative stories trigger new stories, and what makes individual storytellers successful. Given the selection mechanism central to game play, we identify the most successful stories by their number of offspring. Particularly successful storytellers emerge measured both by how many children their stories have spawned, and also how long their story path extends. We also show that coherent stories often emerge, despite the fact that they are authored by several different players, and any given player only sees a limited snapshot of the story path. We contextualise the results of the game and connect it to language evolution in two ways. First, we look for detectable triggers of innovation and creativity within the story trees, and identify these as expanding the adjacent possible (e.g., new adaptations open the space of other possible adaptations in the future; Tria, Loreto, Servedio, & Strogatz, 2014). We argue that this concept can be extended to stories, using evidence from the game bolstered by evidence from more traditional literature (the Gutenberg Corpus). Second, we frame the results in terms of recurring themes found in storytelling cross-culturally (Tehrani, 2013). We suggest that the most successful triggers of innovation in stories combine original novelty and a firm grounding in existing recurring story frameworks in human culture. This indicates that much like other cultural and biological systems, stories are subject to competing pressures for stability and conservation on the one hand, and innovation and novelty on the other.
2016

Dynamics on expanding spaces: modeling the emergence of novelties

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Vittorio Loreto , Servedio Vito D. P.and Strogatz Steven H.and Tria Francesca ,

Creativity and Universality in Language, edited by:Degli Esposti, Mirko and Altmann, Eduardo G. and Pachet, François, Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2016. pp.59--83.

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Abstract

Novelties are part of our daily lives. We constantly adopt new technologies, conceive new ideas, meet new people, and experiment with new situations. Occasionally, we as individual, in a complicated cognitive and sometimes fortuitous process, come up with something that is not only new to us, but to our entire society so that what is a personal novelty can turn into an innovation at a global level. Innovations occur throughout social, biological, and technological systems and, though we perceive them as a very natural ingredient of our human experience, little is known about the processes determining their emergence. Still the statistical occurrence of innovations shows striking regularities that represent a starting point to get a deeper insight in the whole phenomenology. This paper represents a small step in that direction, focusing on reviewing the scientific attempts to effectively model the emergence of the new and its regularities, with an emphasis on more recent contributions: from the plain Simon's model tracing back to the 1950s, to the newest model of Polya's urn with triggering of one novelty by another. What seems to be key in the successful modeling schemes proposed so far is the idea of looking at evolution as a path in a complex space, physical, conceptual, biological, and technological, whose structure and topology get continuously reshaped and expanded by the occurrence of the new. Mathematically, it is very interesting to look at the consequences of the interplay between the ``actual'' and the ``possible'' and this is the aim of this short review.
2016

43 Visions for Complexity (Exploring Complexity)

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Thurner Stefan |

1, WSPC, 2016.

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Abstract

Coping with the complexities of the social world in the 21st century requires deeper quantitative and predictive understanding. Forty-three internationally acclaimed scientists and thinkers share their vision for complexity science in the next decade in this invaluable book. Topics cover how complexity and big data science could help society to tackle the great challenges ahead, and how the newly established Complexity Science Hub Vienna might be a facilitator on this path.
2015

Congestion transition in air traffic networks

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Bernardo Monechi , Servedio Vito DP , Vittorio Loreto |

PloS ONE, 10, 5, Public Library of Science, 2015. pp.e0125546.

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Abstract

Air Transportation represents a very interesting example of a complex techno-social system whose importance has considerably grown in time and whose management requires a careful understanding of the subtle interplay between technological infrastructure and human behavior. Despite the competition with other transportation systems, a growth of air traffic is still foreseen in Europe for the next years. The increase of traffic load could bring the current Air Traffic Network above its capacity limits so that safety standards and performances might not be guaranteed anymore. Lacking the possibility of a direct investigation of this scenario, we resort to computer simulations in order to quantify the disruptive potential of an increase in traffic load. To this end we model the Air Transportation system as a complex dynamical network of flights controlled by humans who have to solve potentially dangerous conflicts by redirecting aircraft trajectories. The model is driven and validated through historical data of flight schedules in a European national airspace. While correctly reproducing actual statistics of the Air Transportation system, e.g., the distribution of delays, the model allows for theoretical predictions. Upon an increase of the traffic load injected in the system, the model predicts a transition from a phase in which all conflicts can be successfully resolved, to a phase in which many conflicts cannot be resolved anymore. We highlight how the current flight density of the Air Transportation system is well below the transition, provided that controllers make use of a special re-routing procedure. While the congestion transition displays a universal scaling behavior, its threshold depends on the conflict solving strategy adopted. Finally, the generality of the modeling scheme introduced makes it a flexible general tool to simulate and control Air Transportation systems in realistic and synthetic scenarios.
2015

Optimal learning paths in information networks

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Rodi GC , Vittorio Loreto , Servedio VDP , Tria F |

Scientific reports, 5, Nature Publishing Group, 2015. pp.10286.

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Abstract

Each sphere of knowledge and information could be depicted as a complex mesh of correlated items. By properly exploiting these connections, innovative and more efficient navigation strategies could be defined, possibly leading to a faster learning process and an enduring retention of information. In this work we investigate how the topological structure embedding the items to be learned can affect the efficiency of the learning dynamics. To this end we introduce a general class of algorithms that simulate the exploration of knowledge/information networks standing on well-established findings on educational scheduling, namely the spacing and lag effects. While constructing their learning schedules, individuals move along connections, periodically revisiting some concepts, and sometimes jumping on very distant ones. In order to investigate the effect of networked information structures on the proposed learning dynamics we focused both on synthetic and real-world graphs such as subsections of Wikipedia and word-association graphs. We highlight the existence of optimal topological structures for the simulated learning dynamics whose efficiency is affected by the balance between hubs and the least connected items. Interestingly, the real-world graphs we considered lead naturally to almost optimal learning performances.
2015

Local Optimization Strategies in Urban Vehicular Mobility

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Pierpaolo Mastroianni , Bernardo Monechi , Carlo Liberto , Gaetano Valenti , Vito DP Servedio , Vittorio Loreto |

PloS one, 10, 12, Public Library of Science, 2015. pp.e0143799.

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Abstract

The comprehension of vehicular traffic in urban environments is crucial to achieve a good management of the complex processes arising from people collective motion. Even allowing for the great complexity of human beings, human behavior turns out to be subject to strong constraints - physical, environmental, social, economical - that induce the emergence of common patterns. The observation and understanding of those patterns is key to setup effective strategies to optimize the quality of life in cities while not frustrating the natural need for mobility. In this paper we focus on vehicular mobility with the aim to reveal the underlying patterns and uncover the human strategies determining them. To this end we analyze a large dataset of GPS vehicles tracks collected in the Rome (Italy) district during a month. We demonstrate the existence of a local optimization of travel times that vehicle drivers perform while choosing their journey. This finding is mirrored by two additional important facts, i.e., the observation that the average vehicle velocity increases by increasing the travel length and the emergence of a universal scaling law for the distribution of travel times at fixed traveled length. A simple modeling scheme confirms this scenario opening the way to further predictions.
2014

Complex Networks and Transport Systems: Application to Air Transport and Urban Mobility

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Bernardo Monechi |

Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185, Roma (RO), Italy, 2014.

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Abstract

This thesis is devoted to the study of transportation systems by means of Complex Systems and Complex Network Theories. Complex Networks are a tools of inestimable value in human transportation studies since in most of the cases the means of transportation used by individuals to move in space are bounded to move on a complex network. The topological properties of transportation networks can influence both the ability of individuals to move as well as their behavior in the environment, thus a characterization of the network is mandatory in order to understand the properties of the considered system.The two transportation systems that have been studied in this work are the Air Transport System and the mobility of cars in a urban environment.The analysis and modeling of the Air Transport System is the first and most extensive part of this thesis. In particular we will try to characterize and study the networks in which aircraft fly, exploiting these results to build a data-driven model of Air Traffic Control.The second part of the thesis is a continuation of the studies performed during by Pierpaolo Mastroianni during his Master Thesis. His work concerned the analysis of GPS tracks data in the City of Rome and the inference of statistical laws characterizing the behavior of car drivers. My contribution to his work is the development of a model capable of explaining some of the results presented in the Master Thesis.
2014

An Air Traffic Control Model Based Local Optimization over the Airways Network

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Bernardo Monechi Vito DP Servedio Vittorio Loreto |

Proceedings of the SESAR Innovation Days (2014), edited by:Dirk Schaefer, EUROCONTROL, 2014.

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Abstract

The introduction of a new SESAR scenario in the European Airspace will impact the functioning and the performances of the current Air Traffic Management (ATM) System. The understanding of the features and the limits of the current system could be crucial in order to improve and design the structure of the future ATM. In this paper we present some results of the "Assessment of Critical Delay Patterns and Avalanche Dynamics" PhD project from the ComplexWorld Network. During this project we developed a model of Air Traffic Control (ATC) based on Complex Network theory capable of reproducing the features of the real ATC in three European National Airspaces. We then developed an optimization algorithm based on "Extremal Optimization" in order to build efficient and globally optimized planned trajectories. The ATC model is applied in order to study the efficiency of this new planned trajectories when subject to external perturbations and to compare them to the current situation.
2014

The dynamics of correlated novelties

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Tria F. , Vittorio Loreto , Servedio V. D. P. , Strogatz S. H. |

Scientific Reports, 4, Nature Publishing Group, Jul, 2014. pp.5890.

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Abstract

Novelties are a familiar part of daily life. They are also fundamental to the evolution of biological systems, human society, and technology. By opening new possibilities, one novelty can pave the way for others in a process that Kauffman has called “expanding the adjacent possible”. The dynamics of correlated novelties, however, have yet to be quantified empirically or modeled mathematically. Here we propose a simple mathematical model that mimics the process of exploring a physical, biological, or conceptual space that enlarges whenever a novelty occurs. The model, a generalization of Polya's urn, predicts statistical laws for the rate at which novelties happen (Heaps' law) and for the probability distribution on the space explored (Zipf's law), as well as signatures of the process by which one novelty sets the stage for another. We test these predictions on four data sets of human activity: the edit events of Wikipedia pages, the emergence of tags in annotation systems, the sequence of words in texts, and listening to new songs in online music catalogues. By quantifying the dynamics of correlated novelties, our results provide a starting point for a deeper understanding of the adjacent possible and its role in biological, cultural, and technological evolution.
2005

Building Open Ecosystems for Collaborative Creativity

Topics:
creativity
Authors
Peter Hanappe |

How Open is the Future? Economic, Social & Cultural Scenarios inspired by Free and Open Source Software., edited by:Wynants, M and Cornelis, J, 1, VUB Brussels University Press, 2005. pp.191--230.

Prof. Vittorio Loreto PhD

Director

language, creativity

PI in creativity

Annette Werth PhD

Associate Researcher

creativity, sustainability

Pietro Gravino PhD

Assistant Researcher

creativity

Alessandro Londei PhD

Assistant Researcher

creativity

Bernardo Monechi PhD

Assistant Researcher

creativity

Giulio Prevedello PhD

Assistant Researcher

creativity

Enrico Ubaldi PhD

Assistant Researcher

creativity

Gianluca Boni

Student

creativity

Simone Daniotti

Student

creativity

D. Ruggiero Lo Sardo

Assistant Researcher

creativity

Ariele Piziali

Student

creativity

Alberto Bracci

Student

creativity

Gabriele Di Bona

Student

creativity

Jean-Frédéric Ferté

Research Engineer

creativity

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