Dagstuhl Seminar on Physical-Cyber-Social Computing

Start date: 
Monday, 30 September, 2013
End date: 
Friday, 4 October, 2013

Dagstuhl Seminar 13402

Miniaturisation, progress with energy issues and cost reductions have resulted in rapid growth in deployment of networked devices and sensing, very strongly connecting the physical word with the cyber-world. The number of devices connected to the Internet already exceeds the number of people on earth and is estimated to grow to 50 billion devices by 2020. The resulting system called Internet of Things (IoT) incorporates a number of technologies including wireless sensor networks, pervasive computing, ambient intelligence, distributed systems and context-aware computing. With growing adoption of smart-phones and social media, citizens or human-in-the-loop sensing and resulting user generated data and data generated by user carried devices have also become key sources of data and information about the physical world and corresponding events. Data from all these sources will result in tremendous volume, large variety and rapid changes (velocity).


The combination of cyber-physical and social data can help us to understand events and changes in our surrounding environments better, monitor and control buildings, homes and city infrastructures, provide better healthcare and elderly care services among many other applications. To make efficient use of the physical-cyber-social data, integration and processing of data from various heterogeneous sources is necessary. Providing interoperable information representation and extracting actionable knowledge from deluge of human and machine sensory data are the key issues. We refer to the new computing capabilities that can exploit all these types of data as physical-cyber-social computing.


As the Web provided useful mechanisms to access and use new types of resources, techniques increasingly moved from syntactic and structural to semantic representations. There is also a recent resurgence of research towards Computing for Human Experience. This line of work has a long lineage, starting in part with Vannevar Bush's Memex through Mark Weiser's “Computing in the 21st Century” and others. But the essence of the vision incorporates technology that serves human needs without explicit human effort. This multidisciplinary seminar seeks to develop a vision of a new class of 21st century systems involving machines (physical), computing and communications (cyber) and human-centric and social systems (social). Several challenges arise in this context, including the following topics that will be discussed at this Dagstuhl Seminar:


Examine emerging manifestations of physical-cyber-social computing and systems, including applications in such varied areas as health and well-being, social and human development, crisis management and transportation.

How are emerging physical-cyber-social systems different than integration of cyber-physical systems with social systems as conceived today?

How do physical-cyber-social systems utilise or benefit from the Web of Things/Internet of Things, Crowdsourcing, Collective Intelligence, Semantic Web/Semantic Sensor Web, Natural Interfaces, Ambient Intelligence and other technologies/ advances during the last decade.

What novel disruptive applications are likely to result due to emerging physical-social-cyber computing after the initial obvious applications are addressed?

What is the role of semantics in physical-cyber-social computing, and how do existing semantic and social computing techniques accelerate or constrain the emergence of physical-cyber-social systems?

How do physical-cyber-social computing transform traditional perceptions of physical objects, online engagement and social interactions?

What implications will the confluence of physical-cyber-social computing have on societies, including aspects such as citizen participation, democracy, open government, open government data and others?


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