(from ACM TechNew)
ETH Zurich scientists working on the FuturIcT project plan to use the world’s largest supercomputers to simulate life on Earth, including the financial system, economies, and whole societies. The ETH researchers, working under the Competence Center for Coping with Crises in Complex Socio-Economic Systems, are analyzing huge amounts of financial data to detect dangerous bubbles in stock and housing markets, potential bankruptcy cascades in networks of companies, or similar vulnerabilities in other complex networks such as communication networks or the Internet. The FutureIcT project aims to bring different kinds of research together to simulate the entire globe, including the diverse interactions of social systems and of the economy with the environment. The FutureIcT project also aims to analyze data on social, economic, and environmental processes by augmenting the results of field studies and laboratory experiments. “Such observatories would detect advance warning signs of many different kinds of emerging problems, including large-scale congestion, financial instabilities, the spreading of diseases, environmental change, resource shortages, and social conflicts,” says ETH’s Dirk Helbing.