Home Patterns In Globalization – Viewed through the lens of Trieste


CCS’16 satellite session “Complexity for History and History for Complexity”

Beurs Van Berlage, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. September 21, 2016


Globalization is a phenomenon lasting centuries. Contributing factors, including the import and export dynamics of major nations, are many in number and complex in their interactions. This study considers the behavior of one of the worlds 10 largest ports – Trieste – within the Austria-Hungarian empire from the mid 19th century through to the start of World War I (WWI), a time of profound globalization.Trade in the mid 19th century largely followed the British World System; a free world market centered in London and its financial web. However this system was unstable, experiencing a long depression (1873-96), state defaults, and regular financial panics. Challenges from competitors, especially Germany, soon followed, and by the end of the 19th century the trade landscape had shifted, and a new nationalist era ushered in. New boarders appeared, trade restrictions were imposed, and strong cartels limited competition, within the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire as well. The European powers competed for African resources and parted the continent. This age culminated into a denser cluster of wars and deeper crisis, from WWI to the close of WWII in 1945. To understand how trade dynamics might evidence and interact with these various processes, information measures – including Shannon entropy and KL-divergence – were calculated on the distribution of imported and exported tonnages by nation over time and on the balance sheets of the Generali insurance company, the largest Austro-Hungarian insurer, from 1851 to 1910. The next phase of the project will include more detailed analysis, involving data on goods per country and Generali’s marine insurance contracts.


Speakers Bio


Gaetano Dato

I am research fellow at the University of Trieste, Italy.
My research track initiated in 2006 with maritime and social history of the borderland area between Italy, Austria and Yugoslavia in 19th and 20th century. It continued, during my Ph.D., on memory studies and the analysis of the political exploitation of history.
In July 2015 I began a new research focused on the role of the British community and capital in the free port of Trieste, from 1810s to WW1. It regards the European convergence of the 19th c., while the great divergence between the West and the rest was in action. Beyond qualitative sources, I collected a huge data set on the British trade with the Habsburg empire via the free port of Trieste, both at local archives, and at The National Archives in London. In addition I gathered data regarding the trade between Austria-Hungary and the rest of the world. Now, after participating this year to Summer School at the Santa Fe Institute, NM-USA, I want to use those data to build a model of the Free Port, then compare Trieste with other Free Ports and analyze the trade networks of the long 19th c.

Anjali B. Tarun

I am an incoming PhD student of Bioengineering at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL). I took my masters in Physics in the University of the Philippines, which is where I worked as a full-time physics instructor. My research deals mainly with the spatiotemporal characterization of self-organized dynamical systems (earthquakes and granular avalanches), through the use of complex network techniques. By looking at the features of the network, one can infer the possible presence of causal structure in the system (patterns in space and time, i.e foreshocks and aftershocks). I also do experiments on granular avalanches, and I analyze them using a series of image and video processing algorithms. Although I mainly do complexity science research, I’m also fond of machine learning and data science.


Simon Carrignon

is a PhD student in Computer Applications in Science and Engineering at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. He holds a M.S. in Cognitive Sciences and a M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science. In general, his work focus on the use of computer modeling and tools borrowed to evolutionary theory to study Complex Systems, ranging from Evolutionary Biology to Human and Cultural Dynamics. Among different projects, he studied the evolution of specialization in swarm of simulated robots, the change in level of altruism in population of simulated social agents and he worked on the general epistemological issues raised by the use of computer simulation and computer model to study Evolutionary Biology and Social Science. His actual PhD thesis explores the interactions between cultural evolution processes (social learning, success biased copy…) and economic dynamics (price equilibrium, trading strategies…).

Philip Pika

Born 1986 in Zurich, Switzerland, obtained in 2014 his M.Sc. in Environmental Systems Science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zürich). His Master’s thesis title was ‘Understanding the impact of physical forcing on the Southern Ocean primary production’. His specialization is biogeochemistry in marine and fresh water systems. He completed an six months internship at the Princeton University researching the impact of climate change on the ocean’s ecosystems. As a Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD fellow, he is currently working in the School of Geography at the University of Bristol (UK) on the topic of coastal and marine sediment biogeochemistry and carbon cycling under the supervision of Dr. Sandra Arndt and professor Tim Eglinton. The goal is to build a neural network able  to disentangle the complex interactions in estuaries and coastal oceans and determine sediment fluxes. He participated at the Complex Systems Summer School 2016 In Santa Fe (USA).