FoCAS Summer School 2014

FoCAS Summer School 2014

When: Monday June 23 – Friday June 27, 2014

Where: Heraklion, Crete, Greece


KEYNOTE: Living and Breathing with Hyperconnectedness by Katina Michael

Smart Society by Lucia Pannese

Case Study: Better Stay Cinnected…or not? by Nicolas Bredeche

Implementing ‘Namebers’ Using Microchip Implants: The Black Box Beneath The Skin by Katina Michael

Be Vigilant: There Are Limits to Veillance by Katina Michael

Algorithmic Self-Governance for Socio-Technical Systems by Jeremy Pitt

Part 1: Algorithmic Self-Governance by Jeremy Pitt

Part 2: for Socio-Technical Systems by Jeremy Pitt


Sumemr School Attendees






Katina Michael via Skype

Group working

Group working


**** ARCHIVE ****


Download Flyer | Download Summer School Program

The FoCAS Summer School is aimed at students and researchers who share interest in the theoretical, practical, and technological issues related to collective adaptive systems. It will be an active and participative summer school with great social events and networking opportunities, and it requires attendance for the full summer school week. The main focus will be the case studies, designed to deepen students understanding on relevant aspects of collective adaptive systems, as well as stimulating a maximum interaction with exchange of knowledge and experiences.

The summer school activities will include:

  • Keynote talk by Katina Michael (University of Wollongong, Australia)
  • Case studies and lectures by well-known researchers, including:
    Nicolas Bredeche, Lucia Pannese & Dimitra Pappa, Jeremy Pitt, Gusz Eiben and Franco Zambonelli
  • Ample time for team work and mentoring sessions
  • Team presentations and feedback by the end of the week

The 130 GBP registration fee (approx 150 EUR) includes access to all summer school lectures and tutorials; all presentation slides; lunches and coffee breaks and the summer school social events. Please note that this fee is charged in British pounds sterling at a currency rate fixed at 130 GBP, therefore the Euro rate appearing on your credit card statement may differ slightly. Accommodation is available in a range of nearby hotels at a variety of prices (see travel and accommodation below).


Title: The Consequences of Living and Breathing with Hyperconnectedness

Katina Michael (University of Wollongong, Australia)

Soon after embarking on my PhD, I came across MIT’s Auto-ID Center initiative titled, “The Internet of Things”. Tiny passive contactless chips, known as radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and transponders were supposed to revolutionise the way we did business as unlike barcodes they did not require line of sight, did not degrade with time, and could withstand extreme conditions. RFID as a data collection mechanism was about to go ‘viral’ however, and upgrades to Internet Protocol were about to make that planetary skin possible. From small scale adoption in retail outlets to sophisticated end-to-end supply chain initiatives- everything could now be numbered. And we would not stand for numbering only some “things,” this hope now translated into numbering “everything” because we could, leading to the rise of the Internet of Everything (IoE) or as I have alluded to in the past the Web of Things and People (WoTaP). “Systems” that were once easy to detect, define, describe and detail had now begun to blur in scope. But the identification of things was just merely one aspect, knowing how these “things” were connected was another, their meshedness, relationships and interconnectivity. And so bit by bit we have related pets to owners, goods to consumers, and assets to employees. We no longer have anything we can hide, but one could legitimately claim nowhere to hide either. We strive to simplify our lives using systems that can allegedly handle complexity but in our attempt to simplify our newfound hyperconnectedness through mobile phones, social networking applications, and the cloud, we are adding even more noise into our lives. What are the consequences of adopting new and emerging technologies? How do we approach the study of converging complex systems? What kinds of research skills are paramount in interdisciplinary studies?

Case Studies

1. Lifelong learning and adaptation in collective robotics. Nicolas Bredeche.
This case study will focus on the application of evolutionary computation methods to the field of collective robotics. The particular setup we are concerned with is that of lifelong learning and/or adaptation in open environments. Two aspects will be discussed: evolutionary optimization and evolutionary adaptation for collective robotics. Evolutionary optimization for collective robotics will focus on providing efficient controllers to solve a task which have been defined by a human supervisor prior to actual deployment. Evolutionary adaptation for collective robotics will be concerned with the more general issue of surviving in an unknown environment, without any considerations for a particular task. Links with evolutionary ecology and biology will also be discussed

2. Mapping the future of games in a Smart Society. Lucia Pannese and Dimitra Pappa.
Games, serious games and gamification are now an interesting research and business area where creativity and technology meet. It is a very new field of studies and as such it is in high turbulence and changes with fast speed according to societal development, lifestyle evolution and increasing technology pervasiveness.
This case study will feature two interactive exercises: (a) mapping the future: creating visions and scenarios for the future of games and (b) outlining technology trends and signals. Participants to this activity will be called to reflect on the future of digital gaming and express their expectations: how will games look like? What would people like to have that is not available today? Discussions will include what technologies are needed, in order to be able to implement future scenarios, whether these technologies are already available (maybe only to some extent), what needs to be developed further or is still to be invented, what one would do with these technologies now, if they are already available (what kind of games they would be developing).
These whole thoughts and reflections will be applied to a Smart Society CAS system and specifically to a scenario between tourism and care that will be presented during the opening. Participants will be encouraged to envision games and gamification techniques to make the scenario not only entertaining, but also meaningful and matching potential future user expectations. Games should also motivate participants not only to use the system representing a future digital city but also to contribute to it, so that people and machines can be mutually supportive in a hybrid system.

3. Algorithmic Self-Governance for Socio-Technical Systems. Jeremy Pitt.
This case study is concerned with the application of principles of algorithmic self-governance to the design, specification and implementation of self-organising socio-technical systems. We select as our exemplar application a socio-technical system to address the problem of workplace incivility, by allowing occupants of a shared work or living space to decide, and apply, their own rules for regulating their behaviour in that space. This will involve working with a new social interaction platform and a new Internet stack for digital institutions, and specifically aiming to instantiate the services and functions of each layer of the stack and how it might be implemented on the platform, paying particular attention to visualization, interface design and affordances. As well as first-hand experience in designing a new type of collective adaptive socio-technical system, participants will broaden their understanding of social networking, event recognition, self-organisation, collective intelligence and complex systems, all from an inter-disciplinary perspective.


1. Evolutionary robotics as a tool for evolutionary biology. Nicolas Bredeche
This talk will focus on how evolutionary robotics (originally intended as a design tool for engineers) is turning out to be also an efficient modelling tool for evolutionary biologists. Beyond robotics, evolutionary robotics can be used to model and simulate interactions between multiple individuals in a pseudo-realistic environment, and to study the impact of particular hypotheses on the outcome of the evolutionary process. Testing hypothesis in silico can then be achieved in a much realistic fashion that what can be provided by more abstract models, and in a much easier way as if one were to perform in vitro or in vivo experiments. As a consequence, it offers an alternative and complementary method for addressing open issues in evolutionary biology. The pros and cons of this approach will be discussed, as well as the recent contributions in this area.

2. Serious Games and Smart Societies. Lucia Pannese
This talk will present some cases of serious games and their usefulness within a smart society. Contents will be adapted according to experiences and background of attendees.

3. Ostromopolis: Smart(er) Cities Founded on Design Principles for Successful Collective Action. Jeremy Pitt
The Digital Society is increasingly characterised by an ecosystem of smart, socio-technical applications. Unlike biological ecosystems, each application, and indeed the entire socio-technical ecosystem, is critically dependent on human-centred, mutually agreed, conventional rules for its effective and efficient operation, and inter-operation. Therefore, a major challenge for theories of ‘collectivisation’ and ‘adaptation’ is to understand, explain and engineer multiple concurrent processes: modeling the formation, selection and modification of these rules to avoid undesirable macro-level outcomes and achieve desirable ones; understanding the role of, and management of, (big) data and dataflows for enhancing societal awareness and responsiveness; finding and exploiting the synergies of human and computational intelligences; and implementing generative ICT platforms for enriching the ecosystem with applications that encourage and promote social incentives for synchronised collective action. This talk will present an initiative to address this challenge through the harmonization of macro-level policy formation with enhanced micro-level participation, engagement and awareness, through an innovative approach to self-organised, inter-connected meso-level structures, i.e. institutions, and in particular the institutional design principles of Elinor Ostrom. Our aim is to expose the essential design methodologies, platforms and operating technologies for building smart(er) cities founded on (but going beyond) Ostrom’s institutional design principles – Ostromopolis.

4. Engineering Socio-technical Urban Superorganisms Franco Zambonelli
Progresses in mobile and ubiquitous computing are paving the way for innovative services to perceive detailed information about the surrounding world and interact with it. In addition, social networks are promoting innovative models and tools to engage people in situated collaboration activities. These factors let us envision the possibility of integrating the complementary sensing, computing, and actuating capabilities of ICT devices and of humans to realize a number of innovative services to improve quality of life and sustainability of our urban environments. Eventually, this could result in an immense number of inter-connected organisms working in an orchestrated and self-organizing way to achieve specific collective goals, as if they were a single organism, i.e., what in biology is usually called a “superorganism”. In this talk, I will sketch the future vision of socio-technical superorganisms and identify the key challenges in engineering innovative services that seemingly involve ICT devices and humans, and that harnessing the power of pervasive social intelligence to improve the quality and sustainability of our urban environments. In particular, I will discuss how the lessons of bio-inspired computing can be a promising starting points for the engineering of urban superorganisms, but also requires synthesizing lessons from socially-inspired computing models. I will also present my recent experience in the context of the SAPERE (“Self-aware Pervasive Service Ecosystems”) European project, and will sketch directions for future research.

Contact details

For all Summer School inquiries please contact:

Nivea Ferreira:
Evert Haasdijk:

Travel and Accommodation

Download Local Info | Download Bus Info

This is a list of reasonably priced hotels in Heraklion (Amoudara):

A bus will be taking lecturers and participants from Amoudara to the summer school venue. More details on the pickup point and departure time will follow later.


Image courtesy of We Love Crete