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KAIST Professor Finds Paradox in Human Behaviors on Road
-Strange as it might seem, closing roads can cut delays A new route opened to ease traffic jam, but commuting time has not been reduced.Conversely, motorists reached their destinations in shorter times after a big street was closed. These paradoxical phenomena are the result of human selfishness, according to recent findings of a research team led by a KAIST physics professor. Prof. Ha-Woong Jeong, 40, at the Department of Physics, conducted a joint research with a team from Santa Fe Institute of the U.S. to analyze the behaviors of drivers in Boston, New York and London. Their study found that when individual drivers, fed with traffic information via various kinds of media, try to choose the quickest route, it can cause delays for others and even worsen congestion. Prof. Jeong and his group"s study will be published in the Sept. 18 edition of the authoritative Physical Review Letters. The London-based Economist magazine introduced Prof. Jeong"s finding in its latest edition. Prof. Jeong, a pioneer in the study of "complex system," has published more than 70 research papers in the world"s leading science journals, including Nature, PNAS and Physical Review Letters. "Initially, my study was to reduce annoyance from traffic jam during rush hours," Prof. Jeong said. "Ultimately, it is purposed to eliminate inefficiency located in various corners of social activities, with the help of the network science." The Economist article read (in part): "...when individual drivers each try to choose the quickest route it can cause delays for others and even increase hold-ups in the entire road network. "The physicists give a simplified example of how this can happen: trying to reach a destination either by using a short but narrow bridge or a longer but wide motorway. In their hypothetical case, the combined travel time of all the drivers is minimized if half use the bridge and half the motorway. But that is not what happens. Some drivers will switch to the bridge to shorten their commute, but as the traffic builds up there the motorway starts to look like a better bet, so some switch back. Eventually the traffic flow on the two routes settles into what game theory calls a Nash equilibrium, named after John Nash, the mathematician who described it. This is the point where no individual driver could arrive any faster by switching routes. "The researchers looked at how this equilibrium could arise if travelling across Boston from Harvard Square to Boston Common. They analysed 246 different links in the road network that could be used for the journey and calculated traffic flows at different volumes to produce what they call a “price of anarchy” (POA). This is the ratio of the total cost of the Nash equilibrium to the total cost of an optimal traffic flow directed by an omniscient traffic controller. In Boston they found that at high traffic levels drivers face a POA which results in journey times 30% longer than if motorists were co-ordinated into an optimal traffic flow. Much the same thing was found in London (a POA of up to 24% for journeys between Borough and Farringdon Underground stations) and New York (a POA of up to 28% from Washington Market Park to Queens Midtown Tunnel). "Modifying the road network could reduce delays. And contrary to popular belief, a simple way to do that might be to close certain roads. This is known as Braess’s paradox, after another mathematician, Dietrich Braess, who found that adding extra capacity to a network can sometimes reduce its overall efficiency. "In Boston the group looked to see if the paradox could be created by closing any of the 246 links. In 240 cases their analysis showed that a closure increased traffic problems. But closing any one of the remaining six streets reduced the POA of the new Nash equilibrium. Much the same thing was found in London and New York. More work needs to be done to understand these effects, say the researchers. But even so, planners should note that there is now evidence that even a well intentioned new road may make traffic jams worse."
Maximum Yield Amino Acid-Producing Microorganism Developed with use of System Biotechnology
Maximum Yield Amino Acid-Producing Microorganism Developed with use of System Biotechnology A team led by Sang-Yup Lee, a distinguished professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and chair professor of LG Chemical, has succeeded in developing maximum yield L-valine-producing microorganism by using System Biotechnology methods. The research results will be published at the April fourth week (April 23 - 27) edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the USA. Prof. Lee’s team has developed maximum yield amino acid-producing microorganism (target substance of L-valine, an essential amino-acid) by using microorganism E cell system and simulation methods. His team produced initial producing microorganism by selectively operating necessary parts in colon bacillus genome and excavated preliminary target gene which is to newly be operated through transcriptome analysis using DNA chips. Then they performed a great amount of gene deletion experiment on computer by using MBEL979, E-cells of colon bacillus, and excavated secondary engineering targets. And they finally succeeded in developing maximum yield valine-producing microorganism that can extract 37.8 grams of valine from 100 grams of glucose by applying experiment results to the actual development of microorganism so as to achieve the optimization of metabolic flux in cells, Prof. Lee said, “Since successfully used for the development of microorganism on a systematic system level, system biotechnology methods are expected to significantly contribute to the development of all biotechnology-relevant industries. At the beginning, we had huge obstacles in fusing IT and BT, but my team mates cleverly overcame such obstacles, hence I’m very proud of them.” The producing microorganism and its developing methods are pending international applications (PCT).
Professor Seong-Ihl Woo Develops New High-Speed Research Method
Professor Seong-Ihl Woo Develops New High-Speed Research Method Reduce research periods and expenses for thin film materials several ten times Posted on the online version of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) on January 9 A team led by Seong-Ihl Woo, a professor of KAIST Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and the director of the Center for Ultramicrochemical Process Systems, has developed a high-speed research method that can maximize research performances and posted the relevant contents on the online version of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), a distinguished scientific journal, on January 9, 2007. Professor Woo’s team has developed a high-speed research method that can fabricate several tens or several thousands of thin films with different compositions (mixing ratio) at the same time and carry out structural analysis and performance evaluation more than ten times faster and accurately, which leads to the shortening of the research processes of thin film materials. This is an epoch-making method that can reduce research periods and expenses several ten times or more, compared to the previous methods. The qualities of final products of electronic materials, displays, and semi-conductors depend on the features of thin film materials. Averagely, it takes about two weeks or longer to fabricate a functional thin film and analyze and evaluate its performances. In order to fabricate thin film materials in need successfully, more than several thousand times of tests are required. The existing thin film-fabricating equipment is expensive one demanding high-degree vacuum, such as chemical vapor deposition, sputtering, physical vapor deposition, laser evaporation, and so on. In order to fabricate thin films of various compositions with this equipment, a several million won-worth target (solid-state raw material) and precursors (volatile organic metal compound) pricing several hundreds won per gram are required. Therefore, huge amount of experiment expense is demanded for fabrication of several ten thousands of thin films with various compositions. Professor Woo’s team has developed ‘combinatorial droplet chemical deposition’ equipment, which does not demand high-degree vacuum and is automated by computers and robots, by using a new high-speed research measure. The equipment is priced at about 1/5 of the existing equipment and easy for maintenance. This equipment uses cheap reagents, instead of expensive raw materials. Reagents necessary to form required compositions are dissolved in water or proper solvents, and then applied by high frequencies to make several micrometer-scaled droplets (fine liquid droplet). Theses droplets are moved by nitrogen and dropped onto a substrate, which is to be fabricated into a thin film, and then subsequent thermal treatment is applied to the substrate to fabricate a thin film of required composition. At this moment, several tens or several hundreds of thin films with various compositions can be fabricated at the same time by reducing the size of thin film specimens into millimeter scale with the use of shade mask and adjusting vaporization time with masks, the moving speed of which can be adjusted. The expenses for materials necessary for the fabrication of thin films with this equipment amount to several ten thousands won per 100 grams, which is in the range of 1/100 and 1/10 of the previous methods, and the research period can be shortened into one of several tenth. “If this new method is applied to the development of elements in the fields of core energy, material and health, which have not been discovered by the existing research methods so far, as well as researches in thin film material field, substantial effects will be brought,” said Professor Woo. ‘Combinatorial droplet chemical vaporization’ equipment is pending a domestic patent application and international patent applications at Japan and Germany. This equipment will be produced by order and provided to general researchers.
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