Community

David Earnest Member since: Saturday, March 13, 2010 Full Member Reviewer

Ph.D. in political science (2004), M.A. in security policy studies (1994)

Two themes unite my research: a commitment to methodological creativity and innovation as expressed in my work with computational social sciences, and an interest in the political economy of “globalization,” particularly its implications for the ontological claims of international relations theory.

I have demonstrated how the methods of computational social sciences can model bargaining and social choice problems for which traditional game theory has found only indeterminate and multiple equilibria. My June 2008 article in International Studies Quarterly (“Coordination in Large Numbers,” vol. 52, no. 2) illustrates that, contrary to the expectation of collective action theory, large groups may enjoy informational advantages that allow players with incomplete information to solve difficult three-choice coordination games. I extend this analysis in my 2009 paper at the International Studies Association annual convention, in which I apply ideas from evolutionary game theory to model learning processes among players faced with coordination and commitment problems. Currently I am extending this research to include social network theory as a means of modeling explicitly the patterns of interaction in large-n (i.e. greater than two) player coordination and cooperation games. I argue in my paper at the 2009 American Political Science Association annual convention that computational social science—the synthesis of agent-based modeling, social network analysis and evolutionary game theory—empowers scholars to analyze a broad range of previously indeterminate bargaining problems. I also argue this synthesis gives researchers purchase on two of the central debates in international political economy scholarship. By modeling explicitly processes of preference formation, computational social science moves beyond the rational actor model and endogenizes the processes of learning that constructivists have identified as essential to understanding change in the international system. This focus on the micro foundations of international political economy in turn allows researchers to understand how social structural features emerge and constrain actor choices. Computational social science thus allows IPE to formalize and generalize our understandings of mutual constitution and systemic change, an observation that explains the paradoxical interest of constructivists like Ian Lustick and Matthew Hoffmann in the formal methods of computational social science. Currently I am writing a manuscript that develops these ideas and applies them to several challenges of globalization: developing institutions to manage common pool resources; reforming capital adequacy standards for banks; and understanding cascading failures in global networks.

While computational social science increasingly informs my research, I have also contributed to debates about the epistemological claims of computational social science. My chapter with James N. Rosenau in Complexity in World Politics (ed. by Neil E. Harrison, SUNY Press 2006) argues that agent-based modeling suffers from underdeveloped and hidden epistemological and ontological commitments. On a more light-hearted note, my article in PS: Political Science and Politics (“Clocks, Not Dartboards,” vol. 39, no. 3, July 2006) discusses problems with pseudo-random number generators and illustrates how they can surprise unsuspecting teachers and researchers.

Arika Ligmann-Zielinska Member since: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 Full Member Reviewer

PhD

I am a spatial (GIS) agent-based modeler i.e. modeler that simulates the impact of various individual decisions on the environment. My work is mainly methodological i.e. I develop tools that make agent-based modeling (ABM) easier to do. I especially focus on developing tools that allow for evaluating various uncertainties in ABM. One of these uncertainties are the ways of quantifying agent decisions (i.e. the algorithmic representation of agent decision rules) for example to address the question of “How do the agents decide whether to grow crops or rather put land to fallow?”. One of the methods I developed focuses on representing residential developers’ risk perception for example to answer the question: “to what extent is the developer risk-taking and would be willing to build new houses targeted at high-income families (small market but big return on investment)?”. Other ABM uncertainties that I evaluate are various spatial inputs (e.g. different representations of soil erosion, different maps of environmental benefits from land conservation) and various demographics (i.e. are retired farmers more willing to put land to conservation?). The tools I develop are mostly used in (spatial) sensitivity analysis of ABM (quantitative, qualitative, and visual).

Anthony Di Fiore Member since: Friday, August 24, 2012 Full Member Reviewer

Ph.D. Biological Anthropology

Primate evolutionary biologist and geneticist at the University of Texas at Austin

I conduct long-term behavioral and ecological field research on several species in the primate community of Amazonian Ecuador to investigate the ways in which ecological conditions (such as the abundance and distribution of food resources) and the strategies of conspecifics together shape primate behavior and social relationships and ultimately determine the kinds of societies we see primates living in. This is a crucial and central focus in evolutionary anthropology, as understanding the ways in which behavior and social systems are shaped by environmental pressures is a fundamental part of the discipline.

I complement my field studies with molecular genetic laboratory work and agent-based simulation modeling in order to address issues that are typically difficult to explore through observational studies alone, including questions about dispersal behavior, gene flow, mating patterns, population structure, and the fitness consequences of individual behavior. In collaboration with colleagues, I have also started using molecular techniques to investigate a number of broader questions concerning the evolutionary history, social systems, and ecological roles of various New World primates.

Erin Stringfellow Member since: Monday, March 21, 2016

MSW

Ms. Stringfellow is a PhD candidate whose goal is to identify ways to build and leverage the natural support systems of people who are experiencing problems related to their illicit drug use. Her current interest is in how these support systems operate in small towns with limited formal resources for quitting. To that end, she recently began conducting in-depth qualitative interviews for her dissertation in a semi-rural county in eastern Missouri. These interviews will be used to build an agent-based model, a type of dynamic simulation modeling that can be used to represent heterogeneous actors with multiple goals and perceptions. As a research assistant and dissertation fellow with the Social System Design Lab, she has also been trained in system dynamics, an aggregate-level dynamic simulation modeling method.

Prior to joining the PhD program, she worked as a research associate at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program from 2008-2012. BHCHP is an exemplar model of providing patient-centered care for people who have experienced homelessness. There, she gained significant experience in managing research projects, collecting qualitative and quantitative data, and program evaluation. She earned her MSW from the University of Michigan in 2007, with a focus on policy and evaluation in community and social systems, and a BA in sociology in 2005, also at the University of Michigan. Ms. Stringfellow was born and raised in a small town in Michigan.

William Rand Member since: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 Full Member Reviewer

PhD, Computer Science, University of Michigan, Certificate of Study, Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan, MS, Computer Science, University of Michigan, BS, Computer Science, Michigan State University, BA, Philosophy, Michigan State University

The big picture question driving my research is how do complex systems of interactions among individuals / agents result in emergent properties and how do those emergent properties feedback to affect individual / agent decisions. I have explored this big picture question in a number of different contexts including the evolution of cooperation, suburban sprawl, traffic patterns, financial systems, land-use and land-change in urban systems, and most recently social media. For all of these explorations, I employ the tools of complex systems, most importantly agent-based modeling.

My current research focus is on understanding the dynamics of social media, examining how concepts like information, authority, influence and trust diffuse in these new media formats. This allows us to ask questions such as who do users trust to provide them with the information that they want? Which entities have the greatest influence on social media users? How do fads and fashions arise in social media? What happens when time is critical to the diffusion process such as an in a natural disaster? I have employed agent-based modeling, machine learning, geographic information systems, and network analysis to understand and start to answer these questions.

Kenneth Aiello Member since: Thursday, January 23, 2020 Full Member

Ph.D., Biology and Society, Arizona State University, B.S., Sociology, Arizona State University,, B.S., Biology, Arizona State University

Kenneth D. Aiello is a postdoctoral research scholar with the Global BioSocial Complexity Initiative at ASU. Kenneth’s research contributes to cross disciplinary conversations on how historical developments in biological, social, and cultural knowledge systems are governed by processes that transform the structure, dynamics, and function of complex systems. Applying computational historical analysis and epistemology to question what scientific knowledge is and how we can analyze changes in knowledge, he uses text analysis, social network analysis, and machine learning to measure similarities and differences between the knowledge claims of individual agents and groups. His work builds on how to assess contested knowledge claims and measure the evolution of knowledge across complex systems and multiple dimensions of scale. This approach also engages in dynamic new debates about global and local structures of knowledge shaped by technological innovation within microbiology related to public policy, shrinking resources given to biomedical ideas as opposed to “translation”, and the ethics of scientific discovery. Using interdisciplinary methods for understanding historical content and context rich narratives contributes to understanding new domains and major transitions in science and provides a richer understanding of how knowledge emerges.

Christian Vincenot Member since: Friday, November 13, 2020 Full Member

Master in Computer Science, Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg, France, Ph.D. in Social Informatics, Kyoto University, Japan

Prof. Christian E. Vincenot is by nature an interdisciplinary researcher with broad scientific interests. He majored in Computer Science / Embedded Systems (i.e. IoT) at the Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg, France) while working professionally in the field of Computer Networking and Security. He then switched the focus of his work towards Computational Modelling, writing his doctoral dissertation on Hybrid Modelling in Ecology, and was awarded a PhD in Social Informatics by Kyoto University in 2011 under a scholarship by the Japanese Ministry of Research. He subsequently started a parallel line of research in Conservation Biology (esp. human-bat conflicts) under a postdoctoral fellowship of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) (2012-2014). This led him to create the Island Bat Research Group (www.batresearch.net), which he is still coordinating to this date. In 2014, he was appointed as the tenured Assistant Professor of the Biosphere Informatics Laboratory at Kyoto University. He also been occupying editorial roles for the journals PLOS ONE, Frontiers in Environmental Science, and Biology. In 2020, he created Ariana Technologies (www.ariana-tech.com), a start-up operating in the field of Data Science/Simulation and IoT for crisis management.

Prof. Vincenot’s main research interests lie in the theoretical development of Hybrid Mechanistic Simulation approaches based on Individual/Agent-Based Modeling and System Dynamics, and in their applications to a broad range of systems, with particular focus on Ecology.

Klaus G. Troitzsch Member since: Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Full Member

Klaus G. Troitzsch was a full professor of computer applications in the social sciences at the University of Koblenz-Landau since 1986 until he officially retired in 2012 (but continues his academic activities). He took his first degree as a political scientist. After eight years in active politics in Hamburg and after having taken his PhD, he returned to academia, first as a senior researcher in an election research project at the University of Koblenz-Landau, from 1986 as full professor of computer applications in the social sciences. His main interests in teaching and research are social science methodology and, especially, modelling and simulation in the social sciences.
Among his early research projects there is the MIMOSE project which developed a declarative functional simulation language and tool for micro and multilevel simulation between 1986 and 1992. Several EU funded projects were devoted to social simulation and policy modelling, the most recent from 2012 to 2015 combining data/text mining and agent-based simulation to analyse the global dynamics of extortion racket systems.
He authored, co-authored, and co-edited several books and many articles in social simulation, and he organised or co-organised a number of national and international conferences in this field. Over nearly three decades he advised and/or supervised more than 55 PhD theses, most of them in the field of social simulation. He offered annual summer and spring courses in social simulation between 1997 and 2009; more recent courses of this kind are now being organised by the European Social Simulation Assiciation and held at different places all over Europe (mostly with his contributions).

Computational social science, structuralist theory reconstruction

Ifigeneia Koutiva Member since: Monday, June 21, 2010 Full Member

PhD in Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, M.Sc. in Environmental Technology, Imperial College London, Postgraduate Diploma in Water Resources and Environmental Management (online), University of Belgrade, Mining and Metallurgy Engineering, National Technical University of Athens

Ifigeneia Koutiva (female) is a senior environmental engineer, holding a PhD in Civil Engineering (NTUA), a Postgrad Diploma in Water Resources and Environmental Management (Un. of Belgrade - e-learning), an MSc in Environmental Technology (Imperial College London) and an MSc in Mining and Metallurgy Engineering (NTUA). Her PhD was funded by the Greek Ministry of Education through Heracleitous II scholarship. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar of the State Scholarship Foundation (IKY) for 2020 - 2021. She has 10 years of experience in various EU funded research projects, both as a researcher and as a project manager, in the fields of socio-technical simulation, urban water modelling, modelling and assessment of alternative water technologies, artificial intelligence, social quantitative research, KPI and water indicators development and assessment and analysis of large data sets. She is very competent with programming for creating ICT tools for agent based modelling and data analysis tools and she is an experienced user of spatial analysis software and tools. She is also actively involved in the design and implementation of numerous consultation workshops and conferences. She has authored more than 20 scientific journal articles, conferences articles and research reports.

My research interests lay within the interface of social, water and modelling sciences. I have created tools that explore the effects of water demand management policies in domestic urban water demand behaviour and the effects of civil decision making in flood risk management. I am interested in agent based modelling, artificial intelligence techniques, the creation of ABM tools for civil society, Circular Economy, distributed water technologies and overall urban water management.

Francesc Bellaubi Member since: Thursday, June 27, 2013

PhD candidate

performance of urban water service provision, high levels of inequities and inefficiency persist. In terms of water distribution and cost, these undesirable patterns have a high impact on peri-urban areas usually populated by marginalized and poor populations. The high levels of Non-Revenue Water (NRW), together with the existence of corrupt practices and mismanagement of water utilities, remain a highly controversial issue.

This situation confronts rent-seeking theory directly, explaining the performance-corruption relationship (Repetto, 1986). The presumption is that low performance in water supply service provision results from corruption because rent-seeking occurs. Hence, the implementation of performance-oriented reforms in the water supply sector, such as regulation or private sector participation, will reduce corruption, increasing the efficiency of water service provision. Nevertheless, latest evidence shows that “key elements of good political governance have a positive effect on the access to water services in developing countries. In turn, private sector participation has little influence other than increasing internal efficiency of water providers” (Krausse, 2009).

Indeed the relation between governance, corruption and performance seems to be more complex than theory wants to acknowledge. It must be reviewed further than a simple cause-effect relationship. It appears that poor management of water utilities, evidenced by high levels of NRW, justifies new investments. Such practices can be encouraged by an “opportunistic management”, whilst at the same time maintaining an influential “hydrocratic elite” in the sphere of water control.

The present research proposal aims to understand the relation between mismanagement and corruption of water control practices in water supply service provision. The research examines how this relationship affects the performance of water service provision and relates to water supply governance models at municipal peri-urban level in three African countries.

To understand the mismanagement-corruption relationship, we look at different case studies of water supply service provision in Senegal, Ghana and Kenya. Each case represents a different governance model in terms of management practices, institutional and organizational settings, and the actors in place, which affects the performance of water service provision in terms of allocative efficiency and access to water (equity). Whether regulation, decentralization and private sector participation constitute possible ways to reduce corruption is examined in the context of water sector reform.

In a second step, we propose a theoretical model based on Agent Based Modelling (ABM) (Pahl-Wostl, 2007) to reproduce complex social networks under a Socio-Ecological System (SES) framework approach. The model will allow us to test whether collaborative governance in the form of collective action in a participatory and negotiated decision-making process for water control, can reduce corruption and increase performance.

The present research benefits from the project “Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa”. This project, carried out by Transparency International (TI) in 8 Sub-Saharan countries, aims to increase access to education, health and water by improving transparency and integrity in basic service delivery. The proposal retains focus on Senegal, Ghana and Kenya in the water sector.

Key words: water control, mismanagement, corruption, performance, collaborative governance, modelling, collective action, negotiation, participation

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