Michael Batty

Michael Batty is a Bartlett Professor of Planning and Chairman at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, England. He has worked on computer models of cities and their visualisation since the 1970s and has published several books, such as Cities and Complexity (MIT Press, 2005) which won the Alonso Prize of the Regional Science Association in 2011, and most recently The New Science of Cities (MIT Press, 2013). His blogs cover the science underpinning the technology of cities and his posts and lectures on big data and smart cities are at His research group is working on simulating long term structural change and dynamics in cities as well as their visualisation. Prior to his current position, he was Professor of City Planning and Dean at the University of Wales at Cardiff and then Director of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and the Royal Society (FRS), was awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2004 and the 2013 recipient of the Lauréat Prix International de Géographie Vautrin Lud. In 2015 he received the Founders Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his work on the science of cities and the Gold Medal of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 2016.

Isaac Ben-Israel, Tel Aviv University

Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel graduated from Tel Aviv University with a degree in mathematics, physics and philosophy, earning his PhD in 1988. A retired major-general in the Israel Air Force, Prof. Ben-Israel has served as head of military R&D of the Israel Defense Forces and the Ministry of Defense. He is a recipient of the Israel Defense Award and the Israel Air Force Award, and was a member of Knesset from 2007 to 2009. He is currently Head of the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center and head of  Yuval Ne'eman workshop for Science, Technology and Security at Tel Aviv University. He is also the Chairman of the Israeli Space Agency at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space.


Itzhak Benenson, Tel Aviv University

Dr. Itzhak Benenson is a Professor of Geography at the Department of Geography and Human Environment of Tel Aviv University, Israel, and a Head of the Geosimulation and Spatial Analysis lab there. His research includes study of the big urban data, modeling of the urban land use and residential dynamics, impact of local and regional plans, use of public transport and parking in the city, vehicle-pedestrian interactions and road accidents. Itzhak is an associated editor of the Computers Environment and Urban System journal and serves on several editorial boards. He is a member of the IGU Commission on Geographical Information Science.


Assaf Biderman 

Assaf Biderman is a technology inventor, author, and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Superpedestrian, a robotics company that focuses on the future of personal urban mobility, and the co-inventor of the Copenhagen Wheel: MIT's award winning bicycle project and the company’s first product. Superpedestrian has received multiple awards including the Red Dot: Luminary - the highest Red Dot distinction - Time Magazine's 25 Best Inventions of 2014, and the Deutscher Werkbund award. He also teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is the Associate Director of the SENSEable City Laboratory, a research group that explores how new technologies are changing the way we understand, design and ultimately live in cities. Biderman focuses on working in partnership with city government and industry members worldwide to explore how distributed and embedded technologies can be used to improve livability in cities and create a more sustainable urban future.


Efrat Blumenfeld-Lieberthal

Efrat Blumenfeld-Lieberthal is a Senior Lecturer at the David Azrieli School of Architecture at the TAU and a member of the founding team of City Center TAU Research Center for Cities and Urbanism. She received her BArch, MA and PhD at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, at the Technion IIT. She worked as a post-doctorate researcher at CASA, UCL and as a Porter Fellow at the ESLab, TAU. Her research interests are applying theories of complexity to urban environments; urban morphology; size distribution of entities in complex systems; and complex networks in urban and human systems.


Charles Catlett

Charlie Catlett is the founding director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data, UrbanCCD, an interdisciplinary center that explores science-based approaches to understanding, designing, and sustainably operating cities, applying expertise, tools, and resources from computational modeling, data analytics, and embedded systems. He currently leads the NSF-funded Array of Things project, establishing a 500-node network of intelligent sensor units in Chicago, based on the Argonne-developed Waggle platform. He is a Senior Computer Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory and a Senior Fellow at the Computation Institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago’s Mansueto Institute for Urban Sciences, and at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. From 2007 to 2011 he was Argonne’s Chief Information Officer, and from 2004 to 2007 he directed the NSF TeraGrid—a nationally distributed supercomputing facility involving fifteen universities and federal laboratories.  From 1999 to 2004 Charlie created I-WIRE, an optical network that connects research institutions in Chicago and downstate Illinois to support advanced research and education. Before joining UChicago and Argonne in 2000, Charlie was Chief Technology Officer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  From 1985 he participated in the development of the Internet, and was integrally involved in the launch of the NCSA Mosaic web browser and exponential growth of the Internet.

Recognized as one of 25 “Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” of 2016 by Government Technology magazine and in 2014 as one of Chicago’s “Tech 50” technology leaders by Crain’s Chicago Business, Charlie is a Computer Engineering graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Daniel Deutch

Daniel Deutch is a senior lecturer in the Computer Science Department of Tel Aviv University since 2013. Daniel has received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Tel Aviv University in 2010. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and INRIA France. His research focuses on advanced database applications and web data management, studying both theoretical and practical aspects of issues such as data provenance, big data, analysis of web applications and data, and dealing with data uncertainty. Daniel's research has been disseminated by over 50 publications, many of them in the top venues on data and web data management. He has repeatedly served on the Program Committee of top data management conferences. He has won multiple esearch awards, including the 2016 Krill Prize (awarded by the Wolf Foundation) and the 2013-14 Yahoo! Early Career Award. His research was awarded multiple competitive grants by the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF), the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF), the Broadcom Foundation, Intel, the Israeli Ministry of Science (MOST), and the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Institute (ICRC).

Joachim Meyer

Joachim Meyer is Professor, and currently also department chair, in the Department of Industrial Engineering at Tel Aviv University. He holds an M.A. in Psychology and a Ph.D. (1994) in Industrial Engineering from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He was a post-doctoral fellow and researcher at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, was on the faculty of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and was a visiting scholar at Harvard Business School, a research scientist at the M.I.T. Center for Transportation Studies, and a visiting professor at the M.I.T. MediaLab. His research deals with cognitive engineering, focusing on the development of quantitative models of decision processes involving automation and computer systems, considering properties of the task, the system and the human operator. The models are based on empirical research in laboratory settings, as well as field studies and research on applications in cybersecurity, IT design, manufacturing, process control, transportation, business administration, communication, law and medicine. The models are applied in the design of systems and in their operation and evaluation.


Tova Milo

Tova Milo received her Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, in 1992. After graduating she worked at the INRIA research institute in Paris and at University of Toronto and returned to Israel in 1995, joining the School of Computer Science at Tel Aviv university, where she is now a full Professor. She is the head of the Database research group and holds the Chair of Information Management. She served as the Head of the Computer Science Department from 2011-2014. Her research focuses on advanced database applications such as data integration, XML and semi-structured information, Data centered Business Processes and Crowd-sourcing, studying both theoretical and practical aspects. Tova served as the Program Chair of several international conferences, including PODS, VLDB, ICDT, XSym, and WebDB, and as a member of the VLDB Endowment and the ICDT executive board. She also served as the chair of the PODS Executive Committee and an editor of TODS and the Logical Methods in Computer Science Journal. Tova has received grants from the Israel Science Foundation, the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, the Israeli and French Ministry of Science and the European Union. She is an ACM Fellow, a member of Academia Europaea, and a recipient of the 2010 ACM PODS Alberto O. Mendelzon Test-of-Time Award and of the prestigious EU ERC Advanced Investigators grant.


Ophir Pines Paz 

Formerly Israel’s Minister of the Interior, Minister of Science, Culture and Sports and Chair of Knesset Committees for the Interior and Constitution, Law and Justice. Was awarded “Knights of Quality Government”, “Ometz Award” by Citizens for Good Governance and Social Justice and “Amitai Award” for honest management and integrity. Mr. Pines Paz Founded and heads the Institute for Local Government at Tel Aviv University, and initiated a division in the Public Policy Masters' Course addressing the relationships between central and local government.


Juval Portugali  

Juval Portugali is a Professor of Human Geography at the Department of Geography and Human Environment, Tel Aviv University. He is the Head of City Center – Tel Aviv University Research Center for Cities and Urbanism; Head of the Environmental Simulation Laboratory (ESLab) and of the Environment, Society and Planning Graduate Program of Tel Aviv University. Juval Portugali received his BA degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, did his MA studies at the Technion Haifa, and received a London University Ph.D. from The London School of Economics and Political sciences. His research integrates complexity and selforganization theories, environmental-spatial cognition, urban dynamics, and planning in modern and ancient periods. His publications include Implicate Relations: Society and space in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kluwer 1993. The Construction of Cognitive Maps, Kluwer, 1996 (Ed.). Self-Organization and the city, Springer, 2000. Complex Artificial Environments. Springer Complexity Series, 2005 (Ed.). Complexity, Cognition and the City, Springer, Complexity Series 2011. Complexity Theories of Cities Have Come of Age, Springer, Complexity Series 2012 (Ed.). Information adaptation: The interplay between Shannon information and semantic information in cognition. by H. Haken and J. Portugali. SpringerBriefs. Springer, 2015. Complexity, Cognition, Urban Planning and Design. Springer 2016 (Ed.).


Orli Ronen

Orli Ronen is the head of the Urban Innovation and Sustainability Lab at the Porter School for Environmental and Social Studies, Tal Aviv University. The Lab is a cooperation between the Porter School at TAU and Tel Aviv Municipality, enabling graduate students to work directly with policy actors in local authorities, helping them use environmental data to devise new sustainability programs and policies for their local area. Previously, she headed the Heschel Center for Sustainability, one of Israel's leading environmental and social NGO's. She founded the Heschel Center's Local Sustainability Center, a joint project with the Porter School, the Ministry of the Environment and ICLEI. In 2015 Dr. Ronen drafted the Tel Aviv Yafo Declaration on Civic Engagement and Smart Cities, which is part of the Habitat III New Urban Agenda, she also drafted Israel's National Report to Habitat III. Orli's research and policy interests include; transition to sustainable and smart urban communities, climate resiliency and expansion of local democratic mechanisms.  She holds a PhD in Urban Planning from Tel Aviv University and a Master's Degree in Public Administration as well as a Master's in Business Administration. She is the 2009 recipient of the Green Globe for Local Sustainability.

Selected Publications: Ronen, O. (2015). FROM PUBLIC PARTICIPATION TO CIVIC ENGAGEMENT. UN-HABITAT; Ronen, O., Etinger, L., (2015). "Community Change Agents for Sustainability" Research Paper, Jerusalem institute for Israel Studies; Ronen, O. (2015). Regional Measures for Well-being Insights from Public Consultation Workshops in the Eastern Negev Region, Shatil, Beer Sheva, Israel.

Egbert Stolk

​Egbert Stolk is a design researcher and practitioner and is currently appointed Assistant Professor at the Department of Urbanism at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology. He has worked in Dutch urban design practice for around 10 years. He participated in various research projects, initiated collaborations and organised various conferences. He participated in a variety of projects in practice, as a policy-maker, designer and/or as a design supervisor. In his PhD research, he developed a complexity-cognitive approach to urban design, which he applied to analyse the design-dimension of the spatial policies of the Province of North-Holland. In this research, he combines notions from Complexity Theories of Cities and developed the concept of Urban Design Cognition. From October 1st 2017 onwards, he will be appointed as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

His publications include: Model Town: using urban simulation in new town planning, SUN, 2009 (Ed.); Complexity Theories of Cities Have Come of Age, Springer, Complexity Series 2012 (Ed.); Complexity, Cognition, Urban Planning and Design, Springer, Complexity Series 2016 (Ed.); and various scientific papers. His website:


Shulamit Volkov

Shulamit Volkov is Professor (emerita) of Modern History at Tel Aviv University and member of the Israeli Academy of Science and the Humanities. She served as head of the Institute for German History and of the Graduate School of History at Tel Aviv University and was a visiting scholar and lecturer at various universities both in Europe and the United States. She Published books, articles and volumes of essays on German social history, German Jewish history and the history of Anti-Semitism, as well as on some aspects of the Enlightenment and on the historiography of National-Socialism. Her book: Germans, Jews, and Antisemites. Trials in Emancipation, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2006, and her biography of Walther Rathenau appeared in English (Yale University Press) and German (Beck Verlag) in 2012 and then in Hebrew (Am-Oved) in 2014.

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