Seminar of William Warren (Brown University)

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Professor William Warren from Brown University in Providence will give a presentation of his work on June 14th, 11h,  in the Metivier room,

Title: Collective motion in human crowds: Experiment-driven behavioral and vision-based models

What accounts for the balletic displays of coordinated motion in bird flocks, fish schools, and human crowds?  Such collective motion is thought to emerge from local interactions between individuals. The crux of the problem is thus understanding the ‘rules of engagement’ that govern these local interactions.  We take an experiment-driven approach to decipher the local rules and model the neighborhood of interaction in human crowds.  First, we created a behavioral model in which a pedestrian’s movement is determined by the physical distance and velocity of their neighbors.  The model reproduces the experimental results and simulates motion-capture data on real crowds.  Second, we developed a vision-based model in which a pedestrian’s movement is determined by visual information, specifically the optical expansion and angular velocity of each neighbor.  This model accounts for some data (but not all) better than the behavioral model.  We can thus experimentally decipher the local interactions that underlie the emergence of collective crowd behavior.

Short bio
William H. Warren is Chancellor’s Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Science at Brown University and Director of the Virtual Environment Navigation Lab (VENLab).  He received his undergraduate degree from Hampshire College (1976), his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Connecticut (1982), did post-doctoral work at the University of Edinburgh (1983), and has been at Brown ever since.  He uses virtual reality techniques to investigate the visual control of human action, including optic flow, locomotion, crowd behavior, spatial navigation, and the dynamics of perceptual-motor coordination. Warren is the recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship, an NIH Research Career Development Award, and Brown’s Teaching Award for Excellence in the Life Sciences, and serves as President of the International Society for Ecological Psychology.

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