Emergent Systems Lab @ WPI

The Emergent Systems Lab (ESL) is a research laboratory associated with the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

ESL is dedicated to the study, design and development of emergent systems in any area of human endeavor.  Initial forays in this realm are going to focus on:


1.             The Emergence of City Knowledge

2.             The Emergence of City Sounds

3.             The Emergence of Manuscript Transcriptions


The Emergence of City Knowledge

In conjunction with City Lab, ESL focuses on the emergent mechanisms that will allow a self-paced, gradual collection of city knowledge to accumulate over time with the least amount of intervention from a central authority.  This area of research is inspired by Prof. Carrera’s Ph.D. Dissertation at MIT where the Emergence of City Knowledge was first formulated.

The Emergence of City Sounds

WPI has initiated a series of projects intended to document sounds that characterize cities from around the world.  In the context of such initiative, we are exploring ways to elicit submissions of sound samples (MP3) as potential candidates for inclusion in the “Sounds of” collection for a particular town.  A self-regulating system of feedback will make the more characteristic sounds emerge from all the submissions.

The Emergence of Manuscript Transcriptions

This project aims at leveraging the work of the thousands of frequent or occasional visitors of the world’s archives to accumulate and disseminate the raw transcriptions produced by this army of volunteers who are digging into this treasure-trove of information from our antiquity.  Since written records of our past are by definition finite, our system promises to capture – once and for all – the written record that our ancestors left behind by eliminating redundancy and by creating a cumulative, distributed, emergent electronic repository of digital transcriptions of all of the written records form our past.


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