Tackling vital challenges for modern societies.
The Centre of Excellence for Global Systems Science – CoeGSS – provides advanced decision-support in the face of global challenges. It brings together the power of high-performance computing and some of the most promising thinking on global systems in order to improve decisions in business, politics and civil society. They may be decisions about large-scale strategic choices like those faced by governments who want to open up new, more sustainable growth paths for the world economy. They may be decisions about very specific marketing strategies like those faced by businesses who want to bundle possible internet services efficiently on global markets. Or they may be decisions about public health, urban planning, infrastructure investment, product development and many other issues.
CoeGSS is a European consortium of supercomputing centres, scientific institutions, businesses and NGOs. It has been formed in 2015 on the basis of several years of previous research on global systems and ICT. CoeGSS is supported by the European Commission and has partners all over Europe. It is working closely with partners in the U.S. and other countries where similar centres may be formed in the future. It’s services shall be available worldwide. These services range from answering questions to performing in-depth studies on specific issues.
Developing evidence and understanding concerning Global Systems and related policies is rapidly becoming a vital challenge for modern societies. It is being tackled by the newly-emerged scientific domain of Global Systems Science (GSS). High Performance Computing is reaching the level of an ultimate tool empowering GSS to address extremely complex societal and scientific problems. By the nature of the problems addressed in typical GSS applications, the relevant datasets are mostly very big, and are expected to grow up tremendously as well as to include highly heterogeneous data sources, e.g. data streams from social media. High Performance Data Analysis (HPDA) is thus the key to the success of GSS in the next decade!
A key contribution of the Centre of Excellence for Global Systems Science – CoeGSS – will be the development of an HPC-based framework to generate customized synthetic populations for GSS applications. By enriching GSS applications to be fully supported by state-of-the-art HPC technologies, we will be able to provide decision-makers and civil society with detailed analyses, including real-time assessments, of global risks and opportunities. This will enable the HPC industry to supply hard- and software for applications well beyond the issues to which HPC has been dedicated so far.
CoeGSS will work with an integrative toolbox for global systems analysis. The integration will be centered on recent methodological advances in the construction and use of synthetic populations. A synthetic population provides a model of a given population, typically of humans, but if the need arises also of plants, animals, cars, buildings and more. The synthetic population is based on individuals that are different from the actual ones, but in such a way that the population as a whole matches the empirical one in the distribution of attributes and relations that matter for the problem at hand. CoeGSS will provide generators for such populations at a global, but also at smaller scales. They will include maps, datasets for empirical populations, algorithms for their dynamics, tools for statistical analysis and visualization instruments.
Centered on the method of synthetic populations, CoeGSS will use a portfolio of methods to take advantage of high-performance computing and big data. Its key strength is the fact that it can implement different methods with an explicit theoretical background, namely the theory of global systems. This approach is formulated on the basis of algorithmic game theory and a state-of-the-art understanding of socio-cultural evolution. To ensure that computer-based methods don’t run with the actual problems to be solved, CoeGSS will embed their use in stakeholder dialogues that provide an on-going feedback from practitioners.
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