Applying Resilience Studies to Real World ATM Challenges at Innaxis

Our newest team member, Hector Ureta, tells us what it has been like working at the Innaxis Research Foundation and Institute in his first 6 months, and the evolving application of the concept of resilience beyond its original roots.

In some weeks I will reach my “semiversary” at Innaxis – a reference the team here make to the milestone of reaching a half year tenure. I am very proud to be working with the super-professional team here and felt it was time to contribute to the team’s blog and share my experience at the organisation so far. One of the things that attracted me to Innaxis, and that I have found very rewarding at the organisation, is our work in applying the concepts of resilience to ATM.

During my Aeronautical degree ‘resilience’ was described as the ability of a system to recover under abnormal conditions, generally in regards to material properties. The term usually appeared in subjects together with defining terms such as “Structures”, “Materials” or similar. Studying those subjects involved repetitive exercises that required the analysis and calculation of permanent and transient deformations after a given stress. We were required to repeat the same exercises again, this time with software, such as Catia, after some basic programming sizing the material, specifying its properties and the stress held. In short, its application and study was fairly limited.

Air Traffic, or simply ATM when referring to Air Traffic Management, was challenging in a different way, but was studied under completely different, distinct, subjects. Despite the economic crisis, airspace demand in Europe continues to grow, which lead to a focus on efficiency as the main goal of resources usage and management.

It is nice to learn new things every once in a while…[especially] when that learning takes the form of adapting previous knowledge acquired in a completely new way to a different field

My collegue Alberto wrote in his post on this blog, “It is nice to learn new things every once in a while”. I would like to add my wholehearted agreement to that sentiment and that this holds particularly true when that learning takes the form of adapting previous knowledge acquired in a completely new way to a different field. While studying, I could never imagine myself applying the material Resilience concept to ATM. Today, I not only see the clear connection but also recognise a knowledge gap and opportunity for advancement in better developing this concept within ATM. Resilience, not just efficiency, offers great opportunities to improve ATM performance.

The Air Traffic system is of a complex nature, with huge amounts of technical systems and human operators involved. Operating close to 100% efficiency, in the view of the majority of my ATM Professors, makes the ATM system sensitive to disturbances and thus vulnerable to disturbances outside our control. The complexity of the system amplifies the problem, augmenting the impact of disturbances on their way through the different ATM layers. However, over sized system buffers would decrease efficiency to unacceptable levels. Hence, a balance between efficiency on the one hand and resilience on the other is required.

Working together as a team in search of ATM Resilience is a truly wonderful and unique experience

Innaxis is leading an ongoing FP7 collaborative project  “Resilience2050” regarding these issues. The main aim is to achieve a deeper knowledge of the  resilience concept in ATM in pursuit of a more efficient and resilient future in ATM systems. Working directly with this project is challenging, interesting and has given me the opportunity to work with an exciting international consortium of world-wide  experts, not only in the Resilience concept applied to other, non-ATM, systems, but also in data mining. This team incorporates experts from academia, ATCos and top-class aviation research centers, from countries as diverse as Germany, The Netherlands, Turkey, England and Spain. Working together as a team in search of ATM Resilience is a truly wonderful and unique experience and I hope to share some of those experiences with you in posts over the coming months as we continue to address the challenges of the task and encounter both highs and lows.

I hope you have been resilient enough to reach this blog post end, Thank you all! Hector

First ComplexWorld Annual Conference


ComplexWorld will held the first Annual Conference in Seville on July 6-8, 2011 and it will be hosted by the School of Engineering of the University of Seville.

The ComplexWorld Annual Conference is intended as a forum for Air Traffic Management scientists and PhD students, Complexity Science researchers and the ComplexWorld Network community, including Members, Participants, and SESAR WP-E investigators.

The aim of the Conference is to bring together researchers from academia, research establishments, and industry that share common interests and expertise in the field of ATM Complexity Management that lies at the intersection of Complexity Science and ATM.

The Conference will focus on new concepts and developments in areas aligned with the WP-E research theme ‘Mastering Complex Systems Safely’ which explores how Complexity Science can contribute to understand, model, and ultimately drive and optimize the behaviour and the evolution of the ATM system that emerges from the complex relationships between its different elements.
The topics of the Conference include (but are not limited to):
  • Multiple spatio-temporal scales in ATM
  • Non-determinism and uncertainty in ATM
  • Emergent behaviour in ATM
  • Complex modelling of the ATM system
  • Validation and Verification of Complex ATM models
  • Design, Control and Optimization of Complex ATM models
  • Applications of Complex Systems to improve ATM performance
  • Characterization of Disturbances in ATM
  • ATM Resilience: Analysis of disturbance propagation and system stability and agility
  • Information management and decision-making mechanisms in ATM
  • Metrics at different scales, ontology and measurement in ATM
  • Other complex socio-technical and/or transport systems.

Written contributions to topics mentioned above or similar ones are sought. Papers with innovative ideas and/or technical progress will be preferred. Please submit your abstract (one A4 page) to Deadlines:

April 1: Abstract submission deadline
April 18: Notification of acceptance
June 1: Full Paper submission deadline
July 6-8: Conference

We hope that this information is of your interest and encourage you to send a Paper and to attend the First ComplexWorld Annual Conference.

Escuela Superior de Ingenieros
, Camino de los Descubrimientos 41092 Sevilla, Spain (See the map)

Anyone interested in registering should contact Innaxis by e-mail ( including the following information:
– Name and institution:
– Arrival and departure days.

Madri+d, leader in Spanish R&D communication, announces ComplexWorld Network


On the 21rst of October, Madri+d posted an announcement of the official launch of ComplexWorld in their online weekly newsletter.

Madri+d is a network that brings together public and private research institutions and industry with de aim of improving regional competitiveness by transfer of knowledge. As one of the few resources that compiles all Spanish R&D news, it is a widely renowned as the go-to place for the latest articles from the government, industry, and academia.

The article stresses the aim of the network as bringing together researchers from universities, research establishments, and companies that share common interests and expertise in the study of Air Traffic Management from the Complexity Science perspective. The ComplexWorld network is led by Innaxis. More information can be found here.

The article, written in Spanish, reaches out to a large Spanish community and motivates them to become involved with the network and with European initiatives in general.

The Network is moving at a fast pace and the news concerning it has been widely disseminated. Please refer to the past blog post concerning the Network´s first draft of the White Paper as well as the SESAR WP-E Network Call for PhDs. Any questions can be sent to


The ComplexWorld Network releases first draft of White Paper + Call for PhDs


A first draft of the Complex ATM White Paper has been finished. This first draft of the White Paper will be presented and discussed during the WP-E Networks Joint Session at the INO 2010.

The ComplexWorld Network will soon be opening a private space within Innaxis´s collaborative wiki-like site so as to share with all Network Participants additional, useful information (e.g. pointers to the White Paper references). More news regarding this will be published next week.

In addition to the first draft of the White Paper, the Network has officially opened the Call for PhDs. The Call is open to anyone who is aiming to start a PhD in a theme related to the ComplexWorld Network. The Call will be closing on December 1st, 2010.

If you have not done so already, please remember to join the Network´s  LinkedIn Group. It is a great way to engage in discussions and network with other Participants.

Finally, if you are not a Participant and you are interested in receiving the White Paper and the Call for PhDs, please contact us about formally registering your entity. The Network is opened to all types of entities that would like to join in this collaborative initiative. Questions or comments can be sent to:

Dates set for the first ComplexWorld Annual Congress

The Members of the ComplexWorld Network have set the dates for the first ComplexWorld Annual Workshop.

The ComplexWorld Network, funded by the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Programme within Work-Package E, will be holding its first Annual Workshop on the 6th-8th of July, 2011, in Seville (Spain).

This Workshop will be pivotal since the Network´s development for the entire first year will be discussed. Findings from the White Paper will be presented, as well as progress from the WP-E Complexity projects and the ComplexWorld PhD Programme. Also, the Workshop will include selected presentations on Complexity Science and ATM by Network Members, Participants and external scientists.

All Participants and interested entities are invited to attend the Workshop. We will be informing all of the Participants and interested entities as the details are developed. If you would like to become a Participant and be included in our distribution list please send us an email at

For more information regarding the ComplexWorld network and the research topics explored, please check out the network´s website at: .

Innaxis contributes to additonal int’l congresses

The Innaxis research team has presented three more contributions to the scientific community about the connections between Complexity Science and Air Transportation Networks.

The first event was the FisEs ’09 congress on Statistical Physics, held in Huelva (Spain) on the 10th – 12th September 2009, and hosted by the group of Physics of Complex Liquids of the Universidad de Huelva. Two posters were accepted by this congress, the first of which was presented by Innaxis researcher Massimiliano Zanin and reported new results about modelling the aeronautical system by applying the concept of Scheduled Network. The second was an application of the celebrated GoogleLab’s PageRank algorithm to model the consequential effect of delays, and the study of importance of each airport from the point of view of the transmission of reactionary delays.

The third contribution was developed along with A. Vejar, of the CNRS, Nancy Université of France, and was presented in the European Conference on Complex Systems 2009 held in University of Warwick, UK, on 21-25 September 2009. Here, a new approach was studied. Instead of analysing the complex network created by a transportation system, an emergent graph was created by modelling the dynamics of customers and vehicles in a general fitness landscape. Such a model could help in understanding the mechanisms that lead to the creation of standard connection models, like point-to-point or hub-and-spoke structures, and in forecasting the evolution of a real transportation environment.

These three contributions touch upon how modelling the network in different ways can help make the overall transportation network more efficient, especially in regards to money, ecological consumption, and passenger satisfaction.


INX Founder F.J. Mancebo is chosen to be part of SESAR Joint Undertaking Scientific Committee

The SESAR Joint Undertaking is a unique public-private partnership in air traffic management (ATM) research and development founded by the European Commission and Eurocontrol with the objective of revolutionising the air traffic management in Europe.

To help with the scientific aspects of the research work programme under SESAR, the SESAR Joint Undertaking has created a Scientific Committee. Through a highly selective process, this team will help reinforce the SJU innovative and scientific approach to building the future Air Traffic Management systems and procedures. This committee is composed of an astronaut, professors, and researchers and are now part of SESAR; demonstrating the strong involvement of the Scientific Community to guarantee high level academic contribution to the SESAR programme.

It is our great pleasure to announce that our very own founder, Dr. Francisco Javier Mancebo, has been chosen to be a part of this highly respected 12 person team.

Dr. F.J. Mancebo has more than 20 years of experience in research in applied mathematics in a variety of aerospace fields. He graduated as an Aeronautical Engineer at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and later obtained his Doctorate in Aerospace Engineering in the same University. He has authored more than 15 articles published in world-class scientific journals (agreed by the Journal of Citation Reports). He specialises in systems modelling and simulation, dynamical systems theory, partial differential equations, reaction-diffusion problems, waves in fluids, 4D trajectory analysis and trajectory prediction for air traffic management purposes and related problems.

Dr. F.J. Mancebo has developed an intense research activity in the last years in the air transport sector, culminating with the co-founding of The Innaxis Foundation and Research Institute at the end of 2005. Since then, Dr.Mancebo has acted as Scientific Advisor for The Innaxis Research Institute collaborating in all the research activities of the Institute, focussing in developing a scientific research agenda in the context of air transport for the Institute.

As part of the Scientific Committee, the team will focus on:

  • the scientific analysis of SESAR from different angles: economics, human factors, statistics, mathematics, computer science, physics, technology;
  • the liaison between SESAR and the academic and scientific communities across Europe including education of the future SESAR interested engineers & scientists and
  • the scientific value of the SESAR results.

In reference to the newly formed Scientific Commitee, Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking states, ¨Having these personalities on-board will enable SESAR to build on sound scientific foundations. Thanks to the contribution of the Scientific Committee, SESAR JU will establish strong links with academic institutions conducting applied research of relevance to us. We strive for an innovative approach at SESAR and the input of the Scientific Committee will stimulate the technologists and engineers to think out of the box and deliver breakthroughs in ATM research.¨

Innaxis prides itself on interdisciplinary, collaborative research, and continues to bridge the gap between science, policy making, and implementation. We look forward to the future achievements of the SESAR Joint Undertaking Scientific Commitee as Dr. F.J. Mancebo carries on the same Innaxis core values in the roadmap to ATM research advancement.

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