Xiaotian Wang Member since: Friday, March 28, 2014

PHD of Engineering in Modeling and Simulation, Proficiency in Agent-based Modeling

Social network analysis has an especially long tradition in the social science. In recent years, a dramatically increased visibility of SNA, however, is owed to statistical physicists. Among many, Barabasi-Albert model (BA model) has attracted particular attention because of its mathematical properties (i.e., obeying power-law distribution) and its appearance in a diverse range of social phenomena. BA model assumes that nodes with more links (i.e., “popular nodes”) are more likely to be connected when new nodes entered a system. However, significant deviations from BA model have been reported in many social networks. Although numerous variants of BA model are developed, they still share the key assumption that nodes with more links were more likely to be connected. I think this line of research is problematic since it assumes all nodes possess the same preference and overlooks the potential impacts of agent heterogeneity on network formation. When joining a real social network, people are not only driven by instrumental calculation of connecting with the popular, but also motivated by intrinsic affection of joining the like. The impact of this mixed preferential attachment is particularly consequential on formation of social networks. I propose an integrative agent-based model of heterogeneous attachment encompassing both instrumental calculation and intrinsic similarity. Particularly, it emphasizes the way in which agent heterogeneity affects social network formation. This integrative approach can strongly advance our understanding about the formation of various networks.

Christopher Watts Member since: Monday, March 14, 2011 Full Member

PhD Warwick Business School, MSc Operational Research, University of Southampton, Post-graduate Diploma in Theology, University of Cambridge, MA / BA (Hons.) Philosophy, University of Cambridge

I live near Cambridge, and recently I developed agent-based land-use models with Geography PhD students there. I also took part in the “Cybernetics and Society” seminar.

Previously, I spent three years at Ludwig-Maximillians University, Munich, working on Human-Environment Relations and Sustainability, and over two and a half years at Surrey University, working on Innovation with Nigel Gilbert in the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS). The project at Surrey resulted in a book in 2014, “Simulating Innovation: Computer-based Tools for Rethinking Innovation”. My PhD topic, modelling human agents who energise or de-energise each other in social interactions, drew upon the work of sociologist Randall Collins. My multi-disciplinary background includes degrees in Operational Research (MSc) and Philosophy (BA/MA).

I got hooked on agent-based modelling and complexity science some time around 2000, via the work of Brian Arthur, Stuart Kauffman, Robert Axelrod and Duncan Watts (no relation!).

I am an agent-based modeller specialising in Netlogo and Excel/VBA. My recent interests include Human-Environment Relations, Innovation, Collective Intelligence and Governance Systems, and the Collapse of Complex Societies.

I have a longer term aim to study the modelling of Institutions, especially the cognitive architecture for agents who can recognise, learn and innovate in institutions.

If you’re based near Cambridge and have an idea for a modelling project, for the cost of a beer/coffee I’m always willing to offer advice.

Sedar Olmez Member since: Wednesday, November 06, 2019 Full Member

MSci in Computer Science, MSc in Data Analytics and Society

Sedar is a PhD student at the University of Leeds, department of Geography. He graduated in Computer Science at King’s College London 2018. From a very early stage of his degree, he focused on artificial intelligence planning implementations on drones in a search and rescue domain, and this was his first formal attempt to study artificial intelligence. He participated in summer school at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul working on programming techniques to reduce execution time. During his final year, he concentrated on how argumentation theory with natural language processing can be used to optimise political influence. In the midst of completing his degree, he applied to Professor Alison Heppenstall’s research proposal focusing on data analytics and society, a joint endeavour with the Alan Turing Institute and the Economic and Social Research Council. From 2018 - 2023 he will be working on his PhD at the Alan Turing Institute and Leeds Institute for Data Analytics.

Sedar will be focusing on data analytics and smart cities, developing a programming library to try simulate how policies can impact a small world of autonomous intelligent agents to try deduce positive or negative impact in the long run. If the impact is positive and this is conveyed collectively taking into consideration the agent’s health, happiness and other social characteristics then the policy can be considered. Furthermore, he will work on agent based modelling to solve and provide faster solutions to economic and social elements of society, establishing applied and theoretical answers. Some other interests are:

  • Multi-agent systems
  • Intelligent agents
  • Natural language processing
  • Artificial intelligence planning
  • Machine learning
  • Neural networks
  • Genetic programming
  • Geocomputation
  • Argumentation theory
  • Smart cities

Bruce Edmonds Member since: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 Full Member Reviewer

BA(Hons) Mathematics, Oxford, 1983, PhD in Philosophy of Science, Manchester 1999

I studied Mathematics at Oxford (1979-1983) then did youth work in inner city areas for the Educational Charity. After teaching in Grenada in the West Indies we came back to the UK, where the first job I could get was in a 6th form college (ages 16-18). They sent me to do post16 PCGE, which was so boring that I also started a part-time PhD. The PhD was started in 1992 and was on the meaning and definition of the idea of “complexity”, which I had been pondering for a few years. Given the growth of the field of complexity from that time, I had great fun reading almost anything in the library but I did finally finish it in 1999. Fortunately I got a job at the Centre for Policy Modelling (CfPM) in 1994 with its founder and direction, Scott Moss. We were doing agent-based social simulation then, but did not know it was called this and did not meet other such simulators for a few years. With Scott Moss we built the CfPM into one of the leading research centres in agent-based social simulation in the world. I became director of the CfPM just before Scott retired, and later became Professor of Social Simulation in 2013. For more about me see or

All aspects of social simulation including: techniques, tools, applications, philosophy, methodology and interesting examples. Understanding complex social systems. Context-dependency and how it affects interaction and cognition. Complexity and how this impacts upon simulation modelling. Social aspects of cognition - or to put it another way - the social embedding of intelligence. Simulating how science works. Integrating qualitative evidence better into ABMs. And everything else.

Liliana Perez Member since: Thursday, October 11, 2018 Full Member

B.Eng, Geomatics, Distrital University, Colombia, MSc., Geography, UPTC, Colombia, Ph.D., Geography, Simon Fraser University, Canada

My initial training was in cadastre and geodesy (B.Eng from the Distrital University, UD, Colombia). After earning my Master’s degree in Geography (UPTC, Colombia) in 2003, I worked for the “José Benito Vives de Andreis” marine and coastal research institute (INVEMAR) and for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Three years later, in 2006, I left Colombia to come to Canada, where I began a PhD in Geography with a specialization in modelling complex systems at Simon Fraser University (SFU), under the direction of Dr. Suzana Dragicevic (SAMLab). In my dissertation I examined the topic of spatial and temporal modelling of insect epidemics and their complex behaviours. After obtaining my PhD in 2011, I began postdoctoral studies at the University of British Columbia (2011) and the University of Victoria (2011-2013), where I worked on issues concerning the spatial and temporal relationships between changes in indirect indicators of biodiversity and climate change.

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Montreal. My research interests center around the incorporation of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques into the development Agent-Based Models to solve complex socio-ecological problems in different kind of systems, such as urban, forest and wetland ecosystems.

The core of my research projects aim to learn more about spatial and temporal interactions and relationships driving changes in our world, by focusing on the multidisciplinary nature of geographical information science (GIScience) to investigate the relationships between ecological processes and resulting spatial patterns. I integrate spatial analysis and modeling approaches from geographic information science (GIScience) together with computational intelligence methods and complex systems approaches to provide insights into complex problems such as climate change, landscape ecology and forestry by explicitly representing phenomena in their geographic context.

Specialties: Agent-based modeling, GIScience, Complex socio-environmental systems, Forestry, Ecology

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