Installing order in transportation: some intelligence about artificial intelligence in the making

Check out the following call for papers to see what our colleagues in artificial intelligence are currently up to with respect to installing order in transportation:


                               AITS @ EPIA2013

                            A Thematic Track of
     The 16th Portuguese Conference on Artificial Intelligence, EPIA2013
                 Azores, Portugal, September 9–13, 2013


The Thematic Track on Artificial Intelligence in Transportation
Systems (AITS) within EPIA Conferences aims to promote an
interdisciplinary debate on current developments and advances of AI
techniques in a rather practical perspective, focusing on
transportation and mobility systems. This Thematic Track follows up
the first edition of the AIASTS Thematic Track, held at EPIA'2007, the
second edition of the AITUM Thematic Track, held at EPIA'2009, and the
third edition of the AITS Thematic Track, held at EPIA'2011. This
event will act as a unique platform gathering the AI community,
transportation engineers and practitioners, as well as social
scientists to discuss how cutting-edge AI technologies can be
effectively developed and applied to improve transportation
performance towards sustainable mobility settings. This forum is thus
an opportunity for the technical and scientific community to present
progresses made so far, and as a means to generate new ideas towards
building innovative applications of AI technologies into more
efficient transportation systems.

As from this 4th Edition of the AITS Thematic Track, the event will be
promoted by the Artificial Transportation Systems and Simulation
(ATSS) Technical Activity Sub-committee of IEEE Intelligent
Transportations Systems Society. The EPIA Conference Series has been
ranked by the Computing Research & Education initiative as a “CORE B”
Conference, whose proceedings are published by Springer in their LNAI
Series and traditionally indexed by Thomson Reuters’ ISI Web of

As in many multidisciplinary knowledge fields, much advance in AI is
fostered through challenges imposed by issues that scientists address
when applying theory to solve practical problems. Thus, the AITS
Thematic Track serves as a working platform to discuss current
developments and advances of AI techniques in a rather practical
perspective. It will stimulate a debate emphasising on how theory and
practice are effectively coupled to tackle problems in the specific
domain of transportation.

Besides its economical, social, and environmental importance,
transportation is a very challenging domain, especially due to its
inherent complexity. It is formed up by geographically and
functionally distributed heterogeneous elements, both artificial and
human, with different decision-making abilities, collective or
individual goals, making its dynamics rather uncertain. Also, mobility
plays a major role towards citizen’s quality of life. With resources
even scarcer and the imposition of uncountable constraints to
mobility, contemporary transportation has experienced a great
revolution and has become highly evolving. This means that a rational
use of transportation infrastructures and the way they interact with
the environment must be managed on a sustainable basis.

Within the last two decades, this scenario has witnessed the advent of
the concept of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Rather than
increasing service capacity, one underlying approach of ITS-based
solutions is to ensure productivity and mobility by making better use
of existing transportation infrastructure, featuring them with
smarter, greener, safer, and more efficient technologies. Indeed, much
advance verified in this field is due to AI that is a key ingredient
to ITS. The relationship between these two areas is certainly mutually
beneficial, suggesting a wide range of cross-fertilisation
opportunities and potential synergisms between the AI community that
devises theory and transport practitioners that use it. Therefore,
contemporary transportation systems are a natural ground to conceive,
develop, test and apply AI techniques.

The AITS Thematic Track welcomes and encourages contributions
reporting on original research, work under development and experiments
of different AI techniques, such as neural networks, biologically
inspired approaches, evolutionary algorithms, knowledge-based and
expert systems, case-based reasoning, fuzzy logics, intelligent agents
and multi-agent systems, support vector regression, data mining and
other pattern-recognition and optimisation techniques, as well as
concepts such as ambient intelligence and ubiquitous computing,
service-oriented architectures, and ontology, to address specific
issues in contemporary transportation, which would include (but are
not limited to):

• different modes of transport and their interactions (air, road, rail
and water transport);
• intelligent and real-time traffic management and control;
• design, operations, time-tabling and management of logistic systems
and freight transport;
• transport policy, planning, design and management;
• environmental issues, road pricing, security and safety;
• transport system operations;
• application and management of new technologies in transport;
• travel demand analysis, prediction and transport marketing;
• traveller information systems and services;
• ubiquitous transport technologies and ambient intelligence;
• pedestrian and crowd modelling, simulation and analysis;
• urban planning towards sustainable mobility;
• service oriented architectures for vehicle-to-vehicle and
vehicle-to-infrastructure communications;
• assessment and evaluation of intelligent transportation technologies;
• human factors in intelligent vehicles;
• autonomous driving;
• artificial transportation systems and simulation;
• surveillance and monitoring systems for transportation and pedestrians.

Contributions must be original and not published elsewhere. Papers
should strictly adhere to formatting instructions
( of the conference, and can
be of two types: regular (full-length) papers should not exceed twelve
(12) pages in length, whereas short papers should not exceed six (6)
pages. Each submission will be reviewed by at least three members of
the International Programme Committee of the AITS Thematic Track. This
process will follow a blind-review approach, so we kindly ask authors
to take reasonable care not to indirectly disclose their identity,
removing their names from the manuscript and any reference that might
explicitly identify them.

The best papers will be included in a volume of the Lecture Notes in
Artificial Intelligence (LNAI) Series, to be published by Springer
(proceedings indexed by the Thomson ISI Web of Knowledge). All other
accepted papers will be published in the local proceedings.
Publication of accepted papers is subject to at least one co-author
registering for the conference and presenting the paper during the
AITS session at the Conference.

Further and up-to-date information can be found on the official Web
site of the EPIA Conference at

• Deadline for paper submission: March 15, 2013
• Notification of paper acceptance: April 30, 2013
• Camera-ready papers due: May 31, 2013
• Conference dates: September 9-13, 2013

Rosaldo Rossetti
   LIACC, DEI/FEUP - University of Porto, Portugal (

Matteo Vasirani
   École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Cristina Olaverri Monreal
   Technische Universität München, Germany (

• Adriana Giret, U.P. Valencia, Spain
• Agachai Sumalee, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
• Alberto Fernandez, Rey Juan Carlos University, Spain
• Ana Almeida, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal
• Ana Bazzan, UFRGS, Brazil
• António Castro, University of Porto, Portugal
• Carlos Lisboa Bento, University of Coimbra, Portugal
• Constantinos Antoniou, National Technical University of Athens, Greece
• Danny Weyns, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
• Eduardo Camponogara, UFSC, Brazil
• Elisabete Arsénio, LNEC, Portugal
• Fausto Vieira, Instituto de Telecomunicações/FCUP, Portugal
• Federico Barber, U.P. Valencia, Spain
• Fei-Yue Wang, University of Arizona, USA
• Francisco Pereira, SMART/MIT, Singapore
• Geert Wets, University of Hasselt, Belgium
• Giuseppe Vizzari, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy
• Harry Timmermans, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
• Hilmi Berk Celikoglu, Technical University of Istanbul, Turkey
• Hussein Dia, AECOM, Australia
• Javier Sanchez Medina, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
• Jeffrey Miller, University of Anchorage, USA
• Jorge Lopes, BRISA S.A., Portugal
• José Manuel Menendez, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
• José Telhada, University of Minho, Portugal
• Jürgen Sauer, University of Oldenburg, Germany
• Luís Nunes, ISCTE, Portugal
• Luís Paulo Reis, University of Minho, Portugal
• Maite López Sánchez, University of Barcelona, Spain
• Michael Rovatsos, University of Edinburgh, UK
• Miguel A. Salido, U.P. Valencia, Spain
• Paulo Leitão, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Portugal
• Ronghui Liu, ITS/University of Leeds, UK
• Sascha Ossowski, Rey Juan Carlos University, Spain
• Shuming Tang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
• Thomas Strang, DLR, Germany

More on the map wars

The BBC’c “Click” program has a quite watchable bit on the battle of map services that is increasingly gaining momentum.
The first couple of minutes of this six-minute segment stick to the basics of mapping and the provision of map and navigation services but the last minute or so turns to the Google vs. Apple competition discussed here earlier. More particularly, the clip offers a comparative look at Apple’s map service embedded in iOS 6. It appears that Apple is betting primarily on 3D mapping and crowdsourcing while Google is systematically expanding both its ground-based and airborne forces.
Furthermore, the segment reminds us that Microsoft is also in this market via “bing”. We will see what happens later this year with the release Windows 8 and an expanding fleet of Microsoft-powered mobile devices. It is already hard to imagine the amount of capital these companies are committing to over- and out-map each other.
While Apple’s services are not yet live and Microsoft has yet to become competitive in the mobile market, the arms race in the map wars by now is truly on.

Outsource yourself to infrastructures!

The Wall Street Journal yesterday had a piece on how the flood of app-based service provision can make you lazy.
There are apps that let you call someone to wash your car just where you parked it; apps to let somebody queue for you; and certain apps like TaskRabbit let you “Get just about anything done by safe, reliable, awesome people”. Or, if you are lucky enough to be living in San Francisco, you may want to use “Get It Now” to “Have the best of San Francisco delivered to you in under one hour”.
Appropriately for the Journal, author Jessica Vascellaro uses the terminology of outsourcing to describe what is happening in the use of these app-based services. As we are outsourcing all kinds of activities to other people via our smartphones, however, the question may not only be whether we become lazier, but also whether we become embedded. Can there be any doubt that we do? The tone of cultural criticism in the WSJ piece suggest that we are losing something here but are we not in fact extending ourselves in truest McLuhan style? In that sense, the work I am outsourcing is still there, and it is still my work – done by others. In outsourcing activities, I am simply using the infrastructure of mobile communication in order to make many things happen simultaneously. Does service provision through infrastructures turn us into small-time Leviathans?

Call for Papers: Workshop on Innovation in Information Infrastructures

Call for papers

III 2012 – Innovation in Information Infrastructures Workshop
9th – 11th October 2012

The University of Edinburgh Business School
29 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh, UK

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Eric Monteiro – NTNU
Steve Sawyer – Syracuse University
David Ribes – Georgetown University
Geoff Walsham – University of Cambridge

This workshop will focus on the emergence and continuing evolution of new kinds of information infrastructures (IIs) in business, the corporate world and other settings. By connecting a growing number of systems and data, Information Infrastructures support user work in everyday life, but also bring about increased organizational and technological complexity. As IIs permeate an increasingly broad range of social and institutional contexts, they generate both new kinds of challenges for information systems development, and new social, organizational and market forms as foci for social study.

This is the second Edinburgh workshop on IIs in recent years. The first, in 2006, explored what were then emerging visions of the future1. Some of the computing models set out have subsequently failed to materialise as expected, whilst others not predicted have come into being. Today, we find that the ecology of players, services, software and platforms enabled by network connectivity and modern tools is increasingly complex. Information infrastructure standards and patterns of usage have been established, legitimating a growing set of user strategies, social competences and forms of expertise. In this workshop we ask how information infrastructures and related social, organizational and market forms innovate.

Important Dates:
Deadline for submission of short paper: 30 June 2012
Decision of abstract acceptance: 22 July 2012
Final program available: 25 September 2012

If you wish to present a paper at the III 2012 workshop submit a short
paper (3 to 4 pages). Please submit them as email attachments
(Microsoft Word files only) to this email address – –
indicating in the e-mail subject the title of the workshop: III2012

Selected papers will be considered for publication in a special issue
of an international rated peer reviewed journal.

The workshop will bring together researchers to share empirical studies, analytical approaches and methodological concerns in the understanding of Information Infrastructures innovation, and to explore what the future holds for research in this area. We invite papers on the following themes:

Emerging Information Infrastructures

– Social media applications that enable the sharing and collation of information between peers and across multiple sites
– The further integration and expansion of corporate enterprise systems (e.g. ERP, CRM)
– Patient health record infrastructures that connect up various health providers
– New models for the provision of computing services (such as Software-as-a-Service and Cloud Computing)
– The Internet of Things
– Data analytics
– New platforms that seek to leverage the time/expertise of globally distributed communities of developers (e.g. FLOSS, the Apple App store).

Analytical approaches

– The Social Shaping of Technology and its extension into the Biography of Artefacts perspective 
– Socio-material understandings of Information Infrastructures
– Approaches influenced by ethnomethodology and micro-sociology
– Science and Technology Studies approaches
– Approaches which appreciate the “long now” and multi-sitedness of Information Infrastructures 

Methodological concerns

– Adequacy of conventional methodologies for understanding the scale, scope and evolution of II
– Questions of fieldwork focus when researching information infrastructures
Submission and Registration Guidelines can be found on the University
of Edinburgh Business School Website:

Executive Committee:
G. Haywood
H. Mozaffar
A. Eshraghi
V. Wiegel

Scientific Committee:
R. Williams
N. Pollock
S. Anderson
M. Hartswoood
G.M. Campagnolo
I. Graham

Commodifying infrastructures: the battle of maps and apps over territories is heating up

As the battle between Apple and Google continues to escalate, the Wall Street Journal features an interesting article about Google Maps, and mobile maps and navigation software and servives more generally, as a crucial stake this conflict. Over the next couple of days, Apple is expected to announce its own mapping service and will subsequently disembed Google Maps from Apple devices. Google Maps was in many ways crucial to the initial succes of the iPhone and both companies cooperated heavily in attracting and redirecting smartphone users to mutual advantage. This cooperation with, basically, Apple selling devices and Google selling ads deteriorated with the advent and increasing market share of Android devices. Now, “Apple is going after the map market to have more control over a key asset in the widening smartphone war”, as WSJ authors Jessica Vascellaro and Amir Efrati comment. Their article has interesting details on both the early days of cooperation, the ensuing suspicions, distrust and secrecy involved in waging the war of the mobile device ecosystems. You can check out the whole article here.

Anybody out there working on this? In terms of shaping technology/building society through infrastructural assemblages, this case is clearly a steal. It encourages, among, I’m sure, many other things, to think about the layering of different kinds of infrastructures – territories, maps, directions, ads, planners, pedestrians, etc. – and the different kinds of circulation these infrastructures attract, moderate, and redirect. What a massive case of heterogenous engineering.

Infrastructure with Soul!?

Tom Vanderbilt is author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do, and in a recent news/interest article, he framed the acceptance of public transit as an infrastructure question; that is, infrastructure with soul, that is still efficient for moving human bodies around.

It is a striking comparison he makes in the opening image:


Planned cities like Dubai (left) are considered high system/low empathy while places that grew more organically, like the favelas of  Rio (right) are low system/high empath.

Then he goes onto to ask, can you make infrastructure that is efficient, but still has soul?

A planned-from-scratch place like Dubai, or Le Corbusier’s “Radiant City,” Leadbeater argued, was “high system/low empathy,” while the favelas of Rio, which grew up organically and are sustained by a web of informal networks, could be considered “low system/high empathy.” Then there are places—Lagos, he suggested—where neither axis is particularly optimized. How, he wanted to know, could you design for both?

Foucauldian infrastructures, Web 2.0 and beyond

I was advertising the paper by Marion Brivot and Yves Gendron earlier last year, now I have finally come around to give it a more thorough read. I am really impressed, and I would like to push a couple of points here about infrastructures that can be taken from this work (which, again, in its entirety is here).
The paper, first of all, does a good job of introducing the literature about new forms of surveillance, adding on a couple of recent French works that have yet to be taken up, as far as I can tell, in international discourse (whether in STS or accounting). Most notably, Brivot and Gendron adopt the notion of “sousveillance” or, in the English terminology they are proposing, “sub-veillance”, from a paper by Dominique Quessada. The basic insight is that contemporary ICTs indeed establish new forms of visibility and discipline but rather than an updated form of Benthamite panopticism a lateral form of surveillance is the result. Against this background the “big brother” idea of control appears like a belittlement of actual governance and the type of discipline that results from the ICT-mediated visibility of individual and collective conduct, and like a more or less infantile projection of disciplinary power among the governed. In contemporary forms of “sub-veillance” individuals play games of visibility and visibilization from which discipline emerges laterally from reflexive processes of reciprocal control and impression management. Brivot and Gendron demonstrate this empirically by a case study of a knowledge management system in an tax/law firm.
The authors argue that while panopticism may be an outdated image of contemporary forms of surveillance, the Foucauldian account of technologies of the self doing the actual governing remains very much valid. In effect, they present us with an Foucauldian account beyond panopticism which I think, may be very relevant to infrastructure studies with respect to ICT. While many people, faced with the power of ICT to make activities and economies visible and accessible to control, are still primarily afraid that a central power will accumulate some form of power-knowledge in order to control them, in the social network, facebook, and twitter world, the real power resides in the spread of artefacts and inscriptions across networks and participants. The despotic power of visibility, if it really exists, primarily derives from participants’ inclination to make themselves visible and from playing ICTs competitively in one way or another. Governance, control, and so on do not the result from some general plan or paradigm but from often from idiosyncratic detournments.
In conclusion, Brivot and Gendron urge the reader to “take into account the complexities, ambiguities and paradoxes which characterize today’s rhizomatic forms of control and surveillance. This is a difficult task since one of the greatest challenges confronting surveillance studies is to develop a grasp on the chaos and cacophony that underlie the spread of surveillance in organizations and society (…). Foucault can be very useful in making sense of this cacophony – as long as researchers look beyond the confines of the panoptical conceptualization which, quite paradoxically, Foucault helped to make fashionable.” (p. 153)
Now, I am stumbling upon another paper in the same journal that is just about to be published, arguing something very similar about the use of online ratings and social media in the travel sector. It is written by Susan Scott and Wanda Orlikowski; check it out here.
Looks like the old Foucauldian understanding of disciplinary power is just getting a Web 2.0 update.