Model-based assessment of the impact of driver-assist vehicles using kinetic theory

Benedetto Piccoli, Andrea Tosin, Mattia Zanella

Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Physik, 71:152, 2020.

In this paper we consider a kinetic description of follow-the-leader traffic models, which we use to study the effect of vehicle-wise driver-assist control strategies at various scales, from that of the local traffic up to that of the macroscopic stream of vehicles. We provide a theoretical evidence of the fact that some typical control strategies, such as the alignment of the speeds and the optimisation of the time headways, impact on the local traffic features (for instance, the speed and headway dispersion responsible for local traffic instabilities) but have virtually no effect on the observable macroscopic traffic trends (for instance, the flux/throughput of vehicles). This unobvious conclusion, which is in very nice agreement with recent field studies on autonomous vehicles, suggests that the kinetic approach may be a valid tool for an organic multiscale investigation and possibly design of driver-assist algorithms.

 

Kinetic modelling of multiple interactions in socio-economic systems

Giuseppe Toscani, Andrea Tosin, Mattia Zanella

Network & Heterogeneous Media, 15(3): 519-542, 2020. (Preprint arXiv)

Unlike the classical kinetic theory of rarefied gases, where microscopic interactions among gas molecules are described as binary collisions, the modelling of socio-economic phenomena in a multi-agent system naturally requires to consider, in various situations, multiple interactions among the individuals. In this paper, we collect and discuss some examples related to economic and gambling activities. In particular, we focus on a linearisation strategy of the multiple interactions, which greatly simplifies the kinetic description of such systems while maintaining all their essential aggregate features, including the equilibrium distributions.

Structure preserving schemes for Fokker-Planck equations with nonconstant diffusion matrices

 

Nadia Loy, Mattia Zanella

Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, to appear. (Preprint arXiv)

In this work we consider an extension of a recently proposed structure preserving numerical scheme for nonlinear Fokker-Planck-type equations to the case of nonconstant full diffusion matrices. While in existing works the schemes are formulated in a one-dimensional setting, here we consider exclusively the two-dimensional case. We prove that the proposed schemes preserve fundamental structural properties like nonnegativity of the solution without restriction on the size of the mesh and entropy dissipation. Moreover, all the methods presented here are at least second order accurate in the transient regimes and arbitrarily high order for large times in the hypothesis in which the flux vanishes at the stationary state. Suitable numerical tests will confirm the theoretical results.

Multiple-interaction kinetic modelling of a virtual-item gambling economy

Giuseppe Toscani, Andrea Tosin, Mattia Zanella

Physical Review E, 100(1): 012308, 2019.

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of online gambling sites, which made gambling more accessible with a consequent rise in related problems, such as addiction. Hence, the analysis of the gambling behaviour at both the individual and the aggregate levels has become the object of several investigations. In this paper, resorting to classical methods of the kinetic theory, we describe the behaviour of a multi-agent system of gamblers participating in lottery-type games on a virtual-item gambling market. The comparison with previous, often empirical, results highlights the ability of the kinetic approach to explain how the simple microscopic rules of a gambling-type game produce complex collective trends, which might be difficult to interpret precisely by looking only at the available data.

 

Hydrodynamic models of preference formation in multi-agent societies

Lorenzo Pareschi, Giuseppe Toscani, Andrea Tosin, Mattia Zanella

Journal of Nonlinear Science, 29(6): 2761-2796, 2019.  Preprint arXiv,

In this paper, we discuss the passage to hydrodynamic equations for kinetic models of opinion formation. The considered kinetic models feature an opinion density depending on an additional microscopic variable, identified with the personal preference. This variable describes an opinion-driven polarisation process, leading finally to a choice among some possible options, as it happens e.g. in referendums or elections. Like in the kinetic theory of rarefied gases, the derivation of hydrodynamic equations is essentially based on the computation of the local equilibrium distribution of the opinions from the underlying kinetic model. Several numerical examples validate the resulting model, shedding light on the crucial role played by the distinction between opinion and preference formation on the choice processes in multi-agent societies.

Opinion modeling on social media and marketing aspects

Giuseppe Toscani, Andrea Tosin, Mattia Zanella

Physical Review E, 98(2): 022315, 2018. (Preprint arXiv)

We introduce and discuss kinetic models of opinion formation on social networks in which the distribution function depends on both the opinion and the connectivity of the agents. The opinion formation model is subsequently coupled with a kinetic model describing the spreading of popularity of a product on the web through a social network. Numerical experiments on the underlying kinetic models show a good qualitative agreement with some measured trends of hashtags on social media websites and illustrate how companies can take advantage of the network structure to obtain at best the advertisement of their products.

Related popularization article for the Italian blog Madd:Math!: La popolarità delle opinioni

 

 

Kinetic models of collective decision-making in the presence of equality bias

BC_initial_t0

Lorenzo Pareschi, Pierluigi Vellucci, Mattia Zanella 

Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 10(1):1-32, 2017. (Preprint arXiv)

We introduce and discuss kinetic models describing the influence of the competence in the evolution of decisions in a multi-agent system. The original exchange mechanism, which is based on the human tendency to compromise and change opinion through self-thinking, is here modified to include the role of the agents’ competence. In particular, we take into account the agents’ tendency to behave in the same way as if they were as good, or as bad, as their partner: the so-called equality bias. This occurred in a situation where a wide gap separated the competence of group members. We discuss the main properties of the kinetic models and numerically investigate some examples of collective decision under the influence of the equality bias. The results confirm that the equality bias leads the group to suboptimal decisions.

Opinion dynamics over complex networks: kinetic modelling and numerical methods

CC2D_0

Giacomo Albi, Lorenzo Pareschi, Mattia Zanella

Kinetic and Related Models, 10(1): 1-32, 2017. (Preprint arXiv)

In this paper we consider the modeling of opinion dynamics over time dependent large scale networks. A kinetic description of the agents’ distribution over the evolving network is considered which combines an opinion update based on binary interactions between agents with a dynamic creation and removal process of new connections. The number of connections of each agent influences the spreading of opinions in the network but also the way connections are created is influenced by the agents’ opinion. The evolution of the network of connections is studied by showing that its asymptotic behavior is consistent both with Poisson distributions and truncated power-laws. In order to study the large time behavior of the opinion dynamics a mean field description is derived which allows to compute exact stationary solutions in some simplified situations. Numerical methods which are capable to describe correctly the large time behavior of the system are also introduced and discussed. Finally, several numerical examples showing the influence of the agents’ number of connections in the opinion dynamics are reported.