I am strongly interested in ecological modeling and complex system and truly enjoyed working with a variety of tools to uncover patterns in empirical data and explore their ecological and evolutionary consequences. My primary research is to conduct research in the field of ‘ecological complexity’, including the development of appropriate descriptive measure to quantify the structural, spatial and temporal complexity of ecosystem and the identification of the mechanism that generate this complexity, through modeling and field studies.
Currently investigated is how biological characteristics of invasive species (dispersal strategies and demographic processes) interact with abiotic variables and resource distribution to determine establishment success and spread in a complex heterogeneous environment (Individual based modelling integrated with GIS technologies).
Amineh Ghorbani is an assistant professor at the Engineering Systems and Services Department, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. She is also an affiliated member of the “Institutions for Collective Action” at Utrecht University. She obtained her M.Sc. in Computer Science (Artificial intelligence) from University of Tehran (Iran) (2009, honours) and her PhD from Delft University of Technology (2013, cum laude).
During her PhD, Amineh developed a meta-model for agent-based modelling, called MAIA, which describes various concepts and relations in a socio-technical system. This modelling perspective helped her develop a modelling paradigm that she refers to as institutional modelling.
Her current area of research is understanding the emergence and dynamics of institutions (set of rule organizing human society) using modelling. She is interested in how bottom-up collective action emerges and how institutions emergence and change within communities.
evolution of institutions
community energy systems
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.
I am a computational archaeologist interested in how individuals and groups respond to both large scale processes such as climate change and local processes such as violence and wealth inequality. I am currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University.
My dissertation research focuses on experimenting with paleoecological data (e.g., pollen) to assess whether or not different approaches are feasible for paleoclimatic field reconstructions. In addition, I will also use pollen data to generate vegetation (biome) reconstructions. By using tree-ring and pollen data, we can gain a better understanding of the paleoclimate and the spatial distribution of vegetation communities and how those changed over time. These data can be used to better understand changes in demography and how people responded to environmental change.
In Summer 2019, I attended the Santa Fe Institute‘s Complex Systems Summer School, where I got to work in a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary international scientific community. For one of my projects, I got to merry my love of Sci-fi with complexity and agent-based modeling. Sci-fi agent-based modeling is an anthology and we wanted to build a community of collaborators for exploring sci-fi worlds. We also have an Instagram page (@Scifiabm).
Dr. William G. Kennedy, “Bill,” is continuing to learn in a third career, this time as an academic, a computational social scientist.
His first a career was in military service as a Naval Officer, starting with the Naval Academy, Naval PostGraduate School (as the first computer science student from the Naval Academy), and serving during the Cold War as part of the successful submarine-based nuclear deterrent. After six years of active duty service, he served over two decades in the Naval Reserves commanding three submarine and submarine-related reserve units and retiring after 30 years as a Navy Captain with several personal honors and awards.
His second career was in civilian public service: 10 years at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and 15 years with the Department of Energy. At the NRC he rose to be an advisor to the Executive Director for Operations and the authority on issues concerning the reliance on human operators for reactor safety, participating in two fly-away accident response teams. He left the NRC for a promotion and to lead, as technical director, the entrepreneurial effort to explore the use of light-water and accelerator technologies for the production of nuclear weapons materials. That work led to him becoming the senior policy officer responsible for strategic planning and Departmental performance commitments, leading development of the first several DOE strategic plans and formal performance agreements between the Secretary of Energy and the President.
Upon completion of doctoral research in Artificial Intelligence outside of his DOE work, he began his third career as a scientist. That started with a fully funded, three-year post-doctoral research position in cognitive robotics at the Naval Research Laboratory sponsored by the National Academy of Science and expanding his AI background with research in experimental Cognitive Science. Upon completion, he joined the Center for Social Complexity, part of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University in 2008 where he is now the Senior Scientific Advisor. His research interests range from cognition at the individual level to models of millions of agents representing individual people. He is currently leading a multi-year project to characterize the reaction of the population of a mega-city to a nuclear WMD (weapon of mass destruction) event.
Dr. Kennedy holds a B.S. in mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy, and Master of Science in Computer Science from the Naval PostGraduate School, and a Ph.D. in Information Technology from George Mason University and has a current security clearance. Dr. Kennedy is a member of Sigma Xi, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and a life member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is a STEM volunteer with the Senior Scientists and Engineers/AAAS Volunteer Program for K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in the DC-area schools.
Cognitive Science, Computational Social Science, Social Cognition, Autonomy, Cognitive Robotics