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DIEP Workshop | 16TH OF MAY | @  Koninklijke IGC at Dam square 27, Amsterdam, near IAS

Organizers: Jay Armas, André de Roos, Swarnendu Banerjee, Soroush Rafiee Rad, Han van der Maas, Mike Lees, Wout Merbis






An invitation to collective intelligence

What is the underlying nature of intelligence across scales and systems, including ecological, human, artificial and social systems?


This workshop will explore measures of intelligence, its foundations, evolution and role in shaping animal, human, social and democratic behaviour. Topics that will be discussed include the critical brain hypothesis, information transfer in multi-agent systems, and the dynamics of collective intelligence in changing environments.

This workshop is organised by DIEP in the context of the UvA Research Priority Areas Foundations and Applications of Emergence and Emergent Phenomena in Society.

Invited speakers 


David Krakauer
(Santa Fe Institute)


Susanne Shultz
(University of Manchester)


Thilo Gross
(University of Oldenburg)


Davide Grossi
(University of Amsterdam)

Schedule and Registration (free)

This event will take place in the Koninklijke IGC at Dam square 27, which is a short walk away from the IAS. Registration for this event is free, but required, please register hereDue to limited space, your registration is only final after confirmation from the organizers. For questions or remarks, please send an email to


09:00 – 09:30  Coffee on arrival in the library

09:40 – 09:45  Welcome and introduction

09:45 – 10:45  David Krakauer (Santa Fe Institute)

10.45 – 11.30  Susanne Shultz (U. of Manchester)

11:30 – 11:45  Short break

11:45 – 12:30  Thilo Gross (U. of Oldenburg)

12:30 – 13.30  Lunch

13:30 – 14:15  Davide Grossi (U. of Groningen)

14:15 – 15:00  Coffee & something sweet

David Krakauer (Santa Fe Institute)

Who Cares About Collective Intelligence?

I shall pose four open challenges for collective intelligence: (1) Scaling (what do we seek to capture with the adjective collective?); (2) Emergence (how and when is collective intelligence more than the sum of its intelligent parts?); (3) Problems (what is the function of collective intelligence?); and (4) Learning (why is learning important and collective adaptive evolution insufficient?). I do not have good answers to any of these questions! I look forward to our collective efforts to address them.


Susanne Shultz (University of Manchester)

The evolutionary ecology of multi-level societies: how structuring affect bodies, brains and behaviour

The evolution of complex animal societies represents a major evolutionary transition which leads to hierarchical structuring within populations. This multi-level structuring has both evolutionary and ecological impacts on of morphology, behaviour and physiology.  The nature of these impacts vary widely depending on the structure and stability of the social building blocks. The ecological impacts stem from repeated interactions coupled with shared environments and local selection pressures.  The evolutionary impacts are associated with species differences in brain size and behavioural richness. These ecological and evolutionary pattern will be discussed using case studies from primates, cetaceans and equids.

Thilo Gross (University of Oldenburg)

Critical Thinking: An analysis of phase transitions in information processing

A current hot topic in neuroscience is the so-called critical brain hypothesis. The idea that our brains may be operating in or near a phase transition. A similar concept, swarm criticality exists in collective intelligence. Here I examine the reasons why it is advantageous for information processing systems to be in a critical state and how they could get there from a dynamical systems perspective. Starting with quite fundamental mathematical reasoning we will discover some testable hypothesis regarding collective, social and classical (neuronal) intelligence.  

Davide Grossi (University of Groningen)

Deliberative Consensus

I will present a model of deliberative processes. The model focuses on a setting in which a community wishes to identify a strongly supported proposal from a large space of alternatives, in order to change a ‘status quo’ alternative. Agents dynamically form coalitions around proposals that they prefer over the status quo. Using this model I will show how the properties of the underlying abstract space of proposals and the ways in which agents can form coalitions affect the success of deliberation in identifying consensus positions. We show that, as the complexity of the proposal space increases, more complex forms of coalition formation are required in order to guarantee success. Intuitively, this seems to suggest that complex deliberative spaces require more sophisticated coalition formation abilities on the side of the agents. The model aims at providing theoretical foundations for the analysis of deliberative processes in platforms for democratic deliberation support.

This is joint work with Edit Elkind (University of Oxford), Ehud Shapiro (Weizmann Institute) and Nimrod Talmon (Ben-Gurion University).


Science & Cocktails_DB_March_2022-25_edited.jpg

Jácome (Jay) Armas
(University of Amsterdam)

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Han van der Maas
(University of Amsterdam)


André de Roos
(University of Amsterdam)


Mike Lees
(University of Amsterdam)


Swarnendu Banerjee
(University of Amsterdam)


Soroush Rafiee Rad
(University of Amsterdam)


Wout Merbis
(University of Amsterdam)

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