Public Lecture: “The Frustrating Beauty of Traffic Waves – And How Automated Vehicles Can Prevent Them” by Benjamin Seibold

November 23, 2020

IPAM Public Lecture

“The Frustrating Beauty of Traffic Waves — And How Automated Vehicles Can Prevent Them” featuring Benjamin Seibold

Monday, November 23, 2020
2:00pm Pacific Standard Time (PST)
This lecture will be accessible to a general audience.
This public lecture will take place virtually over Zoom. Zoom details will be sent via email to all registered participants.

Registration is now closed. If you are interested in attending the public lecture please email 

Abstract: A distinguishing feature of vehicular traffic flow is that it may exhibit significant wave patterns. This talk demonstrates that those frustrating (when stuck in traffic) traffic features possess an intriguing structural beauty (when seen from the outside). Moreover, these waves can arise without apparent reason, as phantom traffic jams, from the collective behavior of all drivers on the road; and they result from similar dynamics as detonation waves, cloud patterns, or galaxies. Then it is shown, via computer simulations and experiments, how only a small number of automated vehicles on the roads suffices to prevent traffic waves, thus making traffic for everybody safer, cleaner, and more energy-efficient.

Speaker Bio: Benjamin Seibold is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Temple University, and the Director of the Center for Computational Mathematics and Modeling. His research combines mathematical analysis, computation and simulation, and experiments to answer questions about many real-world phenomena, including traffic flow, autonomous vehicles, fluid flows, radiation transport, and invasive species.

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