Monday, June 21, 2004

Physical Review Focus: The Computer Minds the Commuter

"The model gives virtual drivers the option of cruising cautiously or speeding forward optimistically based on what they think the car ahead is about to do. Previous models haven't accounted for driver psychology in such a direct way. "
Another use of stat. mech. outside of physics: to model traffic. As you see above, this model improves on similar previous models because it doesn't have instantaneous acceleration and also models the "overreaction" of drivers. Does it model the complete jerks on the DC beltway, though? That's what I'd like to know.
Original article: Hyun Keun Lee, Robert Barlovic, Michael Schreckenberg, and Doochul Kim. "Mechanical Restriction Versus Human Overreaction Triggering Congested Traffic States" Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 238702.

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