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The Fuzzy Logic of Fleeing For Your Life


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A stampede during a New Year's Eve light show in Shanghai last year left 36 people dead.

A special session at the recent IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems focused on intelligent pedestrian traffic and evacuation dynamics.

Credit: Reuters/Landov

A special session held last week at the 18th IEEE International Conference on Intelligence Transportation Systems dealt with intelligent pedestrian traffic and evacuation dynamics, and featured several papers discussing the use of "fuzzy logic" to model crowd behaviors during emergencies.

Typical models of crowd behavior have had difficulty simulating the chaotic ways in which crowds behave in such situations, but fuzzy logic enables these models to account for the emotional factors that can influence the ways crowds move in emergency situations.

Southwest Jiaotong University's Jian Ma, who co-chaired the special session, has been using fuzzy logic to help understand what caused a stampede last year at a New Year's Eve light show in Shanghai that left 36 people dead.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Polytechnic University of Bari in Italy presented a paper covering their use of fuzzy logic to model pedestrian evacuations of the first floor of Bari International Airport. The researchers say that by using fuzzy logic, their model could recreate panic-induced behaviors such as herding and milling.

Researchers from Bowie State University presented a paper detailing their efforts to create three-dimensional evacuation simulations of subways, airplanes, and buildings that could be experienced using a virtual reality headset; several of the simulations incorporated fuzzy logic to model evacuation behavior.

From IEEE Spectrum
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