UCL Energy Institute


MaaSLab invitation: Distributed pervasive intelligence and augmented democracy in Smart Cities

14 November 2019, 2:00 pm–3:30 pm

Dr Evangelos Pournaras

MaaSLab Invited Lecture Series with: Dr Evangelos Pournaras

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







UCL Energy Institute / MaaSLab


Jevons Room
14 Upper Woburn Place

About the Talk

The Internet of Things equips citizens with phenomenal new means for online participation in sharing economies of Smart Cities. Designing value-sensitive information systems that preserve citizens’ privacy, autonomy and a social welfare introduces hard computational constraints in cooperative decision-making for optimal resource llocation problems and as a result these problem turn out to be combinatorial in nature and NP-hard. The decentralized bottom-up coordination of citizens to prevent a blackout, load-balance bike-sharing stations, or eliminate congestion in traffic networks are examples of such challenging computational problems. This talk illustrates an alternative unsupervised and decentralized collective learning approach: It preserves privacy, autonomy and empowers participation using remote agent interactions that orchestrate a highly efficient process for decentralized pervasive intelligence.

This disruptive concept is realized by I-EPOS, the Iterative Economic Planning and Optimized Selections, implemented as an open-source software artifact for the broader communities. Strikingly, I-EPOS outperforms related algorithms that involve non-local bruteforce operations or the exchange of full information. xperimental evaluation with real-world pilot data from energy, bike sharing and traffic systems demonstrates the grand potential of collective learning to design ethically and socially responsible participatory sharing economies. Finally, this talk will also show how this alternative collective decision-making approach promises new means to run an augmented democracy paradigm in Smart Cities, where citizens testify about public matters in the physical space by proving witness presence: using blockchain consensus to securely verify the location, time, and situational wareness of a citizen when taking a decision as the means to improve decision quality and cultivate responsibility.

Download the invitation here:

About the Speaker

Dr. Evangelos Pournaras is an Associate Professor at Distributed Systems and Services group, School of Computing, University of Leeds, UK. He is also currently research fellow in blockchain industry. He has more than 5 years experience as senior scientist and postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich in Switzerland after having completed his PhD studies in 2013 at Delft University of Technology and VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Evangelos has also been a visiting researcher at EPFL in Switzerland and has industry experience at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in the USA. Since 2007, he holds a MSc with distinction in Internet Computing from University of Surrey, UK and since 2006 a BSc on Technology Education and Digital Systems from University of Piraeus, Greece.

Evangelos has won the Augmented Democracy Prize, the 1st prize at ETH Policy Challenge as well as 4 paper awards and honors. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in high impact journals and conferences and he is the founder of the EPOS, DIAS, SFINA and Smart Agora projects featured at decentralized-systems.org. He has raised significant funding and has been actively involved in EU projects such as ASSET, SoBigData and FuturICT 2.0. He has supervised several PhD and MSc thesis projects, while he designed courses in the area of data science and multi-agent systems that adopt a novel pedagogical and learning approach. Evangelos' research interest focus on distributed and intelligent social computing systems with expertise in the inter-disciplinary application domains of Smart Cities and Smart Grids.