Title: From Game Theory to Complexity, Emergence and Agent-Based Modeling in World Politics

Presenter: John A. Paravantis
University of Piraeus, Greece.


This tutorial will examine the complexity of world politics with an emphasis on global environmental issues. Concepts of game theory will be reviewed and connected to the state of international relations (IR). Game theoretic models found in IR include the prisoner’s dilemma; game theoretic models encountered in global environmental negotiations include the conflict between rich North and poor South countries, the role of pollution havens and the clash of idealists versus pragmatists as well as optimists versus pessimists. It will be suggested that the complexity of world politics, taking place on a highly interconnected global network of actors organized as agents and meta-agents, is nothing but a multiplayer extension of game theory although a complexity approach to world politics cannot be regarded as a theory alternative to realism, but as a relatively novel research tool to aid with understanding and anticipating (rather than predicting) global events. Technology, interconnections, feedback and individual empowerment will be discussed in the context of the complex world of global politics. Furthermore, evolution and adaptation will be related to the concept of fitness and how it may be estimated for the case of actors in world politics. It will be suggested that many events of world politics constitute emergent phenomena of the complex international community of state and non-state actors. The tutorial will be complemented with a short overview of concepts related to agent-based modeling (ABM), arguably the most prevalent method of simulating complex systems, and a review of research problems from the fields of social science, political science, defense, world politics and the global environment that have been successfully addressed with agent-based simulation. A list of software resources useful to those who wish to address global problems with agent-based modeling will be presented with examples programmed in a procedurial language and Netlogo. The main conclusion will be that world politics may be considered a complex adaptive system (CAS) with states being modelled as complex adaptive actors, i.e. agents, and international organizations such as the United Nations or the EU being meta-agents. Understanding the system rules may be an important aspect of analyzing the international system of states as a CAS by resorting to theoretical and ABM tools in tandem.

Presenter’s Background

John A. Paravantis is a tenured Assistant Professor in the Department of International and European Studies of the University of Piraeus. He holds a 5-year Civil Engineering diploma from the National Technical University of Athens as well as a M.Sc. in Transportation and a Ph.D. in Energy and Environment both from Northwestern University. In his professional career prior to joining the academia, he supervised the drafting of over 40 Environmental Impact Statements mostly of large engineering works and was a member of the project management team for the renovation of infrastructure of the Hellenic Railways Organization. In the University, Dr. Paravantis is very fond of teaching undergraduate and graduate classes and enjoys the challenge of supervising graduate and doctoral work (currently supervises 3 doctoral students). In his research, which has drawn more than 250 citations, Dr. Paravantis uses advanced quantitative techniques (including multivariate statistics, econometric modeling, time series forecasting, game theory and computer simulation) in order to analyze global impacts of energy systems (such as these in the transportation and building sector) on the natural and man-made environment, especially in regards to transnational cooperation and competition (“coopetition”). Finally, Dr. Paravantis is a regular reviewer of many journals including Energy and Buildings as well as the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

Title: New Trends in Virtual Reality and Augmented Visualization

Presenter: Lucio Tommaso De Paolis
Augmented and Virtual Reality Laboratory (AVR Lab)
Dept. of Engineering for Innovation
University of Salento, Italy


Virtual Reality (VR) technology permits the creation of realistic-looking worlds where the user inputs are used to modify in real time the digital environment. Interactivity and captivating power contribute to the feeling of immersion in the virtual world, of being part of the action that the user experiences. It is not only possible to see and manipulate the virtual objects, but also to feel and touch them using specific devices.
The last few years have witnessed scientific advances in virtual reality, allowing virtual training environments to get closer and closer to reality. Interesting learning situations can emerge with free interaction in these simulated realities. In addition, the integration of pedagogical functions and motivational aspects as in serious gaming and interactive storytelling, offers new possibilities for training and allows the creation of relevant situations on the learning level.

Mixed Reality (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies permit the real-time fusion of computer-generated digital contents with the real world and allow the creation of fascinating new types of user interfaces. Augmented reality enhances the users’ perception and improves their interaction in the real environment. The virtual objects, displaying information that they cannot directly detect with their own senses, help them to perform real-world tasks better.
Unlike the virtual reality technology that completely immerses users inside a synthetic environment where they cannot see the real world around them, augmented reality technology allows to see 3-dimensional virtual objects superimposed upon the real environment. Therefore, AR supplements reality rather than completely replacing it; the user is under the impression that the virtual and real objects coexist in the same space.

Many applications of VR and MR/AR technologies have been developed in different fields (medicine, education, arts and cultural heritage, entertainment, military, and manufacturing). Recently, new concepts such as Natural User Interfaces and Mobile Immersion have emerged and permit to combine AR/MR technologies with new mobile human machine interfaces. Consequently, mobile immersion will allow users to move away from purely physical communication mode to a mixed/augmented reality communication, interaction and collaboration mode. Interactions will be natural and augmentations will become ubiquitous.

The tutorial will present a review of current VR and AR technologies and will introduce to the development and building of virtual environments and simulators. VR and AR applications in medicine and surgery, cultural heritage, education and games will be described.
The aim of this tutorial is to bring a community of researchers from academia and industry, computer scientists, engineers, physicians together in order to share points of views and emerging impressions on the present applications of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies and discuss benefits and limitations.

Presenter’s Background

LUCIO TOMMASO DE PAOLIS had a Degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Pisa (Italy) and is an Assistant Professor of Information Processing Systems at the Department of Innovation Engineering of the University of Salento (Italy). His research interest concerns the study of the design and development of applications of Virtual and Augmented Reality and Human-Computer Interaction in medicine and surgery, cultural heritage and education.

De Paolis is the Director of the Augmented and Virtual Reality Laboratory (AVR Lab – www.avr.unisalento.it) at the Department of Engineering for Innovation of the University of Salento and the responsible of the “Advanced Virtual Reality for Medicine” research group at the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Research Applied to Medicine (DReAM) of the Hospital of Lecce, Italy.
He is the vice-president of MIMOS (Italian Movement Modelling and Simulation) and the founder of AVR Med srl (www.avrmed.com), a spin-off company of the University of Salento.

He teaches “Applications of Virtual and Augmented Reality” at the Department of Engineering for Innovation of the University of Salento and has been a Visiting Professor in 2014 at the Tallinn University of Technology, in 2012 at the Vytautas Magnus University of Kaunas (Lithuania) and in 2011 at the University of Tallinn (Estonia).
He has been visiting researcher in 2007 and 2010 at the Centro de Ciencias Aplicadas y Desarrollo Tecnológico (CCADET) of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico City (Messico) and in 2007 and 2009 at the Computer Graphics Laboratory of the Sabanci University of Istanbul (Turkey).

De Paolis is the organizer of the International Conference on Augmented and Virtual Reality (SALENTO AVR).

Title: Towards Smart Energy Systems: An overview of existing tools and future challenges

Presenter: Miltos Alamaniotis
School of Nuclear Engineering,
Purdue University, USA


This tutorial will present an overview of smart energy systems, and the challenges imposed in developing smart energy technologies. Recent advancements in machine intelligence aim to address challenges in diverse area of complex system engineering and its applications, such as advanced power system safety.  The data generated in these applications increases exponentially due to the penetration of modern information technologies (internet) as well as their sensitive nature and need for accurate and fast data processing and analysis. For instance, power systems and grids are monitored 24/7 by a variety of different sensors aiming at predicting or diagnosing operational malfunctions. In such environment, the limitations of human operators to follow and interpret the huge volume of data offer opportunities for machine intelligence solutions to support effective and fast decision making. Artificial intelligence tools such as fuzzy logic and artificial neural networks have been successfully employed in the area of energy system control and safety. For example, in smart power systems intelligent tools can reliably identify faults and estimate the remaining system life, while computational intelligence methods are shown to accurately predict future electricity load demand as well as pricing signals that may be used to direct demand at the level of appliances and devices in smart grids. An overview of existing tools regarding advanced smart power systems will be presented and implications for future research activities and challenges will be discussed.

Presenter’s Background

Miltiadis “Miltos” Alamaniotis is a research assistant professor in the School of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue University since September 2014. His interdisciplinary research focuses on development of intelligent systems and machine learning approaches for smart energy systems and smart grids, pattern recognition, signal processing, nuclear plant controls and instrumentation, and radiation detection. He has published more than sixty (60) papers in top-tier journals and international conference proceedings, and authored two book chapters. He has been invited to serve as an associate editor in the Energy systems area in the International Journal of Monitoring and Surveillance Technologies Research, while has served as a reviewer in several journals spanning the areas of nuclear science, instrumentation, artificial intelligence, and smart grids. He had also held a guest appointment with Argonne National Laboratory from 2010 to 2012. He received his Dipl-Ing. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Thessaly, Greece in 2005 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Nuclear Engineering from Purdue University in 2010 and 2012 respectively. He was a postdoctoral and teaching fellow in the University of Utah from October 2012 to August 2013. He is an active member of American Nuclear Society and IEEE.

Title: Object Oriented Interfaces for Mobile Databases.

Presenter: Efthimios Alepis
Department of Informatics,
University of Piraeus, Greece.


Mobile Applications and mobile services have been growing at a five-year compounded annual growth rate of more than 25%. Benefits by using and/or incorporating mobile technologies in software engineering include social, economic and educational gains.  However, the swift growth of new software technologies and their corresponding services keeps in pace with new challenges in these scientific fields. As a result, new approaches try to resolve the resulting problems and at the same time give more potential and robustness to next generation software applications.
This tutorial will introduce participants to the incorporation of both local and remote mobile databases and particularly by using an Object Oriented architectural approach. During the tutorial some basic mobile apps will be created and as a next step the resulting apps will be tested on an emulator and on a real smartphone. We will make an introduction in SQLite local databases and in remote MySQL databases. Our main focus will be in the Eclipse IDE and in the Android Operating System.

Presenter’s Background

Dr. Efthimios Alepis received a B.Sc. in Informatics in 2002 and a Ph.D. in 2009, both from the Department of Informatics, University of Piraeus (Greece).  He is Lecturer in the Department of Informatics, University of Piraeus since December 2013. He has authored a monograph entitled “Object Oriented User Interfaces for Personalized Mobile Learning”, published by Springer. He has authored/co-authored more than 60 scientific papers which have been published in international journals, book chapters and international conferences.
Dr. Alepis is the founder of the Greek Company “Software Engineering Innovation Group – SEIG” the activities of which include, among other, production of innovative software, IT services and organization of international conferences. His current research interests are in the areas of Object-oriented Programming, Mobile Software Engineering, Human-Computer Interaction, Affective Computing, User Modeling and Educational Software.
He can be reached at talepis@unipi.gr

Title: Advances in Adaptive Learning Using Fuzzy Logic in Student Model

Presenter: Konstantina Chrysafiadi
University of Piraeus, Greece


In the past decade, there has been an enormous growth of the field of computer-based learning which includes e-learning, mobile learning, educational games and standalone educational applications. However, e-learning systems present several shortcomings, with regard to adaptivity problems, when are compared to real-classroom education. Web-based educational systems offer easy access to knowledge domains and learning processes from everywhere for everybody and at any time. As a result, users of web-based educational systems are of varying backgrounds and they have heterogeneous needs and abilities. Consequently, the challenge is to develop Web-based educational systems that adapt dynamically to each individual student for effective delivery of the knowledge domain.
A focus on the student model is essential for constructing an adaptive learning system that meets students’ requirements. This tutorial will present important information about student modeling. Initially, this tutorial will be referred to student modeling techniques and approaches that have been used the past decade. Then, a novel student modeling approach including fuzzy logic techniques will be presented. The presented student model maximizes the effectiveness of learning and contributes, significantly, to the adaptation of the learning process to the learning pace of each individual learner. It models either how learning progresses or how the student’s knowledge can be decreased, helping the e-learning system to discover if the student learns or not, if s/he forgets, if s/he has difficulties in understanding, if s/he assimilates the delivered knowledge. In other words, this tutorial will explain how fuzzy logic can be used to automatically model the learning or forgetting process of a student. Also, the particular tutorial will present the implementation of the presented fuzzy student model in a web-based programming tutoring system that teaches the programming language ‘C’.

Presenter’s Background

Konstantina Chrysafiadi was born in Athens, Greece, in 1981. She received a B.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Piraeus, Greece, a M.S. degree in Information Systems from the Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece and a Ph.D. Degree in Computer Science and Student Modeling from the University of Piraeus, Greece. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher and part-time instructor in the department of Informatics of the University of Piraeus, Greece.
Her research interests include computers and education, e-learning, student modeling, teaching of programming and artificial intelligence in education. She is co-author (with Prof. Maria Virvou) of the monograph Advances in Personalised Web-Based Education which was published recently by Springer in its Intelligent Systems Reference Library bookseries. Furthermore, Dr. Chrysafiadi has co-authored 8 research papers published in international journals and 9 research papers published in international conference proceedings.
She has more than 12 years of professional experience in Computer & Algorithms Education. She has been working for the past 6 years as assistant educational staff in the department of Informatics of the University of Piraeus, Greece, teaching Algorithms to students of the Computer Science Postgraduate Program of the Informatics Department. Dr. Chrysafiadi is the creator of a web-based educational platform for adaptive e-teaching of programming and algorithms, the development of which has been based on her doctoral research work in the University of Piraeus. The platform has been in use by postgraduate students of the department of Informatics of the University of Piraeus for the past 6 years, as part of their postgraduate curriculum in Computer Science.

Title: Car-Like Mobile Robot Navigation with Rapidly exploring Random Trees (RRT)

Presenter:  Sotirios Spanogianopoulos
Intelligent Interactions Lab
School of Engineering & Digital Arts
University of Kent, UK


Car-like mobile robot navigation has been an active and challenging field both in    academic research and in industry over the last few decades, and it has opened the way to build and test (recently) autonomously driven robotic cars which can negotiate the complexity and uncertainties introduced by real outdoor urban and suburban environments. Our tutorial will start with a description of a very popular and successful family of path planning algorithms, namely Rapidly-exploring Random Trees (RRT). After discussing the great variety and modifications proposed for the basic RRT algorithm, we turn our focus to versions which can address highly dynamic environments, and they have to be able to take in account the constraints imposed by the Non-holonomic type of movement allowable for car-like mobile robots.  Finally, will conclude with some remarks and thoughts about the current state of research and possible future developments.

Presenter’s Background

Sotirios Spanogianopoulos is a PhD Research Scholar in Electronic Engineering in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts at University of Kent (UK) since November 2013.
He has strong research interest in the areas of Mobile Robotics Navigation and Human-Machine Interaction. Currently, has published 3 papers in journals and international conferences proceedings. Also, has been involved in 2 EU-funded projects in the above areas. He received his Bsc in Applied Informatics from Technological Educational Institute of Messologi, Greece and his Msc in Software Engineering from University of Peloponesse, Greece. He is an active member of IEEE RAS.