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Mutual Information for the Detection of Crush

Harding, P and Gwynne, S and Amos, M (2011) Mutual Information for the Detection of Crush. PLOS ONE, 6. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Fatal crush conditions occur in crowds with tragic frequency. Event organizers and architects are often criticised for failing to consider the causes and implications of crush, but the reality is that both the prediction and prevention of such conditions offer a significant technical challenge. Full treatment of physical force within crowd simulations is precise but often computationally expensive; the more common method of human interpretation of results is computationally “cheap” but subjective and time-consuming. This paper describes an alternative method for the analysis of crowd behaviour, which uses information theory to measure crowd disorder. We show how this technique may be easily incorporated into an existing simulation framework, and validate it against an historical event. Our results show that this method offers an effective and efficient route towards automatic detection of the onset of crush.

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