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Is There a Physics of Society? January 10-12, 2008, Santa Fe NM

Organizers: Michelle Girvan (University of Maryland) and Aaron Clauset (Santa Fe Institute)

Friday, January 12, 2008

1:10 - 1:50 Dirk Brockmann (homepage)

New Perspectives on Global Human Traffic: Scaling Laws, Emergent Geographic Communities, Geocaching and Trackable Items

Travel in our globalised world has reached a complexity and volume of unprecedented degree. More than 60 million people travel billions of kilometres on more than 2 million international flights each week. Hundreds of millions of people commute on a complex web of highways and railroads most of which operate at their maximum capacity. Human mobility is responsible for the geographical spread of emergent human infectious diseases and plays a key role in human mediated bioinvasion, the dominant factor in the global biodiversity crisis. I will report on the discovery of scaling laws in global human traffic, present a complex network perspective on multi-scale human traffic networks, report on their statistical properties and show that they can be used to identify geographically coherent communities which only vaguely resemble those provided by geopolitical ones. I will discuss aspects of European transportation networks, geocaching and trackable items.