University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > DAMTP Statistical Physics and Soft Matter Seminar > The Physics of High-Density Crowds

The Physics of High-Density Crowds

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  • UserArianna Bottinelli, NORDITA
  • ClockTuesday 29 May 2018, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseMR11, CMS.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Professor Mike Cates.

During mass events such as concerts, parades, sporting events, and pilgrimages, crowd density can become exceptionally high, causing the emergence of sometimes deadly collective motion such as crowd turbulence and density waves. In such extreme conditions, conventional information transfer and communication between human subjects appear to break down, preventing information about injurious situations to spread, and counteractions to be immediately taken. Understanding the physical mechanisms underlying collective motion in the extreme case presented by high-density crowds, and how this is coupled with information transfer, constitutes a fundamental step in predicting and preventing the dangers arising at mass gatherings.

Taking inspiration from the physics of jammed granular materials, we were able to identify Goldstone modes, soft spots, and stochastic resonance, as potential mechanisms for dangerous emergent collective motions in crowds [1,2].  I will give an overview of the main results obtained by applying mode analysis to crowd simulations, and discuss the most recent insights gained by extending these techniques to crowd video footage. I will also show some preliminary results on how traditional models of information dynamics can be spatially embedded to analyze the breakdown of information transfer in high-density scenarios.

[1] A. Bottinelli, D.T.J. Sumpter, J.L. Silverberg, “Emergent structural mechanisms for high-density collective motion inspired by human crowds”, PRL (2016) [2] A. Bottinelli, J.L. Silverberg, “How to: using mode analysis to quantify, analyze, and interpret the mechanisms of high-density collective motion”, Frontiers (2017)

This talk is part of the DAMTP Statistical Physics and Soft Matter Seminar series.

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