The Meta-structure Project

The Meta-Structure Project

(Introduced by Professor Gianfranco Minati. The simulation and research software has been developed in conjunction with the Transport and Logistics Research Centre of Rome’s Università degli Studi La Sapienza).

The project ( is based on the possibility of modelling collective behaviour, e.g. that of flocks, swarms, traffic, industrial areas, cell, proto-cell and ecosystem populations. Thanks to these models it should become possible to:

  1. Recognize when a collective behaviour sets in;
  2. Induce the onset of a behaviour in elements that simply interact among one other, i.e. are not coherent;
  3. Modify a collective behaviour;
  4. Combine two or more collective behaviours.

    The project is based on the tenet that the dynamics of complex systems hinges on the continuous and coherent variation of their structures. The coherent totality in time of these structures is called a Meta-Structure and is modelled using mesoscopic variables, i.e. coherent groups of microscopic variables, such as how many birds in a flock at any given instant are flying at the same speed and height and in the same direction. Mathematical properties, e.g. statistics, of the set of values taken on by said variables represent the meta-structural properties that should make it possible to achieve the four above-mentioned objectives, without resorting to any invasive, macroscopic or structural actions.