SaSSO: Sustainable and Scalable Self-Organisation


This workshop connects with several ACSOS main track themes, but also offers a distinctive and complementary forum for research on sustainability, scalability and self-organisation, particularly in relation to the operationalisation of Socio-Technical Systems and issues of public interest, polycentricity, collective action and societal impact. These contrasting themes of inter-related research are as follows:

  • Sustainability of Self-Organisation & Self-Organisation for Sustainability: A drift from decentralised to centralised governance has often been observed in socio-technical systems to address the problem of sustainability. Given the myriad of known and unknown parameters and the spectrum of complexity and dynamics, we see that both centralised and decentralised governance has its advantages and disadvantages, but it is possible, with some introspection and (restricted) freedom for self-modification, to drift or shift between the two. The critical requirements are the ability to shift along the spectrum between the two as circumstances require, the ability to shift back and not get stuck in either of the two extreme attractors, and the ability to make, recognise, and correct mistakes. Trial and error in self-adaptive cybernetic systems is the essence of certain sustainability problems when there is no expertise to solve the problem, so a community must learn to self-organise on the fly. Unfortunately, with one-shot wicked problems such as sustainability, the consequences of error are potentially catastrophic.

  • Scalability of Self-Organisation & Self-Organisation for Scalability: As the size and longevity of an organisation increases or decreases, absolute centralisation brings certain disadvantages: for example it can undermine principles of self-determination, rights to self-organise, and willingness to take responsibility of initiative. This removes ‘edge’ benefits such as localisation, rapid and appropriate response to local environmental conditions, and the diversity that promotes resilience. Certain processes that might have been effective at small scale (like word-of-mouth, and monitoring (compliance checking)) are no longer effective at larger scales. On the other hand, from a complex systems perspective, decentralisation may make it more difficult, or more lengthy, to coordinate in order to achieve macro-level outcomes, i.e. the coordination of micro-level behaviour through meso-level mechanisms which result in the creation of global structures or achievement of high-level goals by intention or design.


  • 09:00 Welcome and Introduction - SaSSO
    Peter Lewis Ontario Tech University, Jeremy Pitt Imperial College London, Ada Diaconescu LTCI Lab, Telecom Paris, Institute Politechnqie de Paris
  • 09:15 Feedback Loops, Black Boxes, and Self-Reflexivity: Tracing Cybernetics’ Cultural Lineage and Ecological Implications
    Heather Love University of Waterloo
  • 11:00 Sustainable Self-Organisation of Socio-Techno-Ecological Systems
    Asimina Mertzani, Jeremy Pitt Imperial College London
  • 11:20 The Sustainable Foraging Problem
    Aishwaryaprajna, Peter Lewis Ontario Tech University
  • 11:40 Sustainable AI & Agricultural Technologies
    Stefan Sarkadi King's College London, Ionut Moraru, Louise Manning
  • 11:55 Panel Discussion
  • 14:00 Interoperable AI for Self-Organisation
    Stefan Sarkadi King's College London, Fabien Gandon
  • 14:15 Hierarchy beyond top-down control: the architecture of self-organised social systems
    Louisa Jane Di Felice Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Ada Diaconescu, LTCI Lab, Telecom Paris, Institute Politechnqie de Paris
  • 14:35 Panel Discussion
  • 15:35 Working Session: Synergies, Challenges, Directions, Plans
  • 17:00 Wrap Up and Closing Remarks

Invited Speaker

Heather Love (University of Waterloo, Canada)

Paper Submission

Authors are invited to submit full workshop papers up to 6 pages as well as extended abstracts up to 2 pages (containing, new and wacky ideas, work in progress, or work published elsewhere) in the ACSOS paper formatting guidelines. Submissions to the workshop are free of change and they are required to be formatted according to the standard IEEE Computer Society Press proceedings style guide. Papers are submitted electronically in PDF format through the SASSO 2023 conference management system via EasyChair following this link.
For more details about ACSOS, see here.


Venue: Second Student Centre, York University
Mode: In person
For more details about the venue, see here.

Important Dates

  • July 10th: deadline for paper submission
  • July 24th: acceptance/rejection
  • August 5th: final copy (as per ACSOS main track)

Programme Committee


Ada Diaconescu

Departement Informatique & Reseaux
Telecom Paris, LTCI, IP Paris

Peter Lewis

Business and Information Technology
Ontario Tech University

Jeremy Pitt

Dept. of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Imperial College London

Workshop Delivery and Management

Asimina Mertzani

Dept. of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Imperial College London


Business and Information Technology
Ontario Tech University