Karibu sana! A visit from Tanzania

Karibu sana! Finally, in-person contact is becoming possible and easier again. The MARS Group has a visitor from Tanzania.

Can we help develop a better understanding of the spread of viral infections in Tanzania and prevent future spreads? This is what the ESIDA project is about.

Our PhD student, Luba Pascoe, from the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania presents her research results to us and is working with us at the HAM Hamburg for two weeks. In September, we will be delighted to Luba in her lab in Arusha.

Feature: Digital Twin Research by the MARS Group in the campushunter Career Magazine

The MARS Group is featured in the current issue of the campushunter career magazine. The SmartopenHamburg (SOHH) model is a digital twin of the city of Hamburg, designed to enable the study of multimodal traffic and movement in an urban system. The article explores the challenges of developing representative and trustworthy models of complex multivariate systems. Specifically, the ability to predict future states relies on an accurate understanding of present states, from which the model starts its projection into the future. During the process, the course of the projection can be corrected by realigning parts of the model with real-time data from the real. Such course corrections can increase the validity of the final model output. The MARS Group actively explores this approach and other ways to increase the acceptance of predictive models.

A PDF version of the full campushunter issue is available for download here.

A Call for Papers for the Special Issue “Digital Twin with Model Driven Systems Engineering”

We would like to draw your attention to a call for papers issued by MDPI Open Access Journals for an upcoming Systems special issue titled “Digital Twin with Model Driven Systems Engineering”. The call for papers and all pertinent information can be found here.

This special issue is focused on the design and development of digital twins for practical purposes and applications in domains such as manufacturing, urban planning, healthcare, robotics, and logistics. Research and application of digital twins is very near and dear to the MARS Group (see, for example, this and this recent publication). Therefore, we are particularly please that our very own project leader Prof. Dr. Thomas Clemen is among the special issue editors.

We look forward to learning from any contributions to this and other journal issues that contribute to the body of knowledge surrounding digital twins development and application.

Acceptance Research With Digital Twin

We are pleased to inform you that the MARS research group was able to make a further contribution to the analysis and decision-making in urban road traffic with its SmartOpenHamburg project. In order to cope with the ever-increasing traffic in big cities, different solution strategies are simultaneously considered and also operated by many cities. In Hamburg, one of these strategies is the provision of all available means of transport at so-called HVV switch points (transport nodes where the load on the transport infrastructure is very high). One of these switch points is the underground station Kellinghusenstraße. As part of this work, HAW Hamburg has published an interesting article. Feel free to have a look at it here.

MARS at the ITS World Congress 2021

This year, the MARS Group took part in the ITS World Congress, an annual international event focused on technological innovation and policy initiatives around smart mobility and the digitalization of transport. The five-day event features a vast assortment of program sessions, live demonstrations, and an exhibition hall.

Multi-modality in urban traffic is becoming an increasingly important issue in modern traffic infrastructures. Ease of access and the ability to choose between multiple travel modalities can lower traffic volume on the streets and be conducive to meeting sustainability goals. To study multi-modality in an urban setting, the MARS Group developed a model in which agents travel from a subway station in Hamburg, Germany (U Kellinghusenstraße) to a nearby point of interest. They can do so using a number of owned and shared travel modalities, enabling the model to be used in the context of both behavior-related and traffic-related studies. The publication is available for download here.

This video was prepared for the ITS World Congress and showcases a visualization of a simulation output.

It has been a while: MARS BBQ 2021!

After roughly 18 months of self-isolation, and social distancing, the MARS Team finally reunited for their annual tradition at the MARS BBQ 2021. While we have been busy as ever during the pandemic, many of us haven’t seen each other in person since early 2020. Needless to say, it was pure joy to be back together, eating, drinking, talking, discussing, and enjoying (mostly) pleasant Hamburg summer weather.

We wish all of our friends, colleagues, collaborators, and everyone else similar opportunities in the very near future. While the end of Covid-19 is still not ubiquitously in sight, our hope is that all of us can enjoy the physical presence and company of those we care for much more regularly again. Cheers!

The MARS Group at the ITS Hackathon 2020

This year’s ITS Hackathon took place from 1:00pm on October 30th through 3:00pm on October 31st. This is an event at which computer scientists, data analysts, and people from other related disciplines get together to solve current challenges in the areas of urban mobility and logistics through the use of data, models, and IT tools in an interactive and creative setting. For information on the event, please click here.

The MARS Group contributed to the event by providing two MARS model scenarios. The first scenario simulates ferry traffic and dock workers in the central area of Hamburg; the second scenario simulates travel by bike (depending on the placement and availability of bike sharing stations) in the central part of the district of Harburg, Hamburg. In addition, Thomas Clemen provided an introductory kick-off speech for the event and Ulfia Lenfers server on the team of jurors to rank the teams’ performances.

Despite this year’s restrictive measures due to Covid-19, it was a fun, insightful, and successful two days of problem-solving and engaged discussion. For more information, check out this post by the HAW Hamburg (in German).

© Logistik-Initiative Hamburg

Mission Accomplished: Ulfia Lenfers, PhD

We are delighted to inform you that Ulfia Lenfers has acquired her PhD! In her thesis, she describes her in-depth study of current and future tree distribution in the Savannah Lowveld – at the hands of negative impact by elephants and firewood collectors – using a digital twin of the Kruger National Park (KNP) designed by MARS. The study took place as part of a joing project between the MARS Group and Prof. Dr. R. Duttmann at the the Geographic Institute at the Christian-Albrechts-University (CAU) in Kiel. The thesis defense was on 13 July 2020.

Cheers and congratulations, Dr. rer. nat. Ulfia A Lenfers!

Playing LaserTag with MARS

During the summer semester 2020, the MARS DSL (click here to download the modeling handbook) was used in a course named Artificial Intelligence and Software Agents taught by Thomas Clemen at the HAW Hamburg. For the final project of the course, a multiagent-based game framework was created to simulate a LaserTag game in MARS. In each game, four teams of agents compete against each other for the highest score. Here is a visual representation of what a MARS LaserTag arena might look like.

The challenge for the students was to program their agents’ behavior – in a way that they think is strategically best to bring them victory. In a tournament setup, eight teams ot students had to let their agents compete against each other for first place. It was a fun event which provided great insight into artificial intelligence and agent behavior.

To check out the LaserTag framework, please contact us here.

Congratulations to Florian Ocker for completing his Master’s degree!

Florian Ocker, a long-time MARS Group member, has completed his Master’s degree. For his thesis, he used the MARS modeling system to develop a multimodal traffic model (which enables agents to travel on foot, by bicycle, and by car) for the district Altona in Hamburg, Germany. The overarching goals of the study were to examine a) the general feasibility of mapping multimodal travel behavior onto a multiagent model in MARS and b) the extent to which different configurations and combinations of multimodal travel might impact travel time.

Congratulations, Flo!