My research interests include policy informatics and decision making, modeling in policy analysis and management decisions, public health management and policy, and the role of public value in policy development. I am particularly interested in less mainstream approaches to modeling that account for learning, feedback, and other systems dynamics. I include Bayesian inference, agent-based models, and behavioral assumptions in both my research and teaching.
In my dissertation research, I conceptualize state Medicaid programs as complex adaptive systems characterized by diverse actors, behaviors, relationships, and objectives. These systems reproduce themselves through both strategic and emergent mechanisms of program management. I focus on the mechanism by which citizens are sorted into or out of the system: program enrollment. Using Bayesian regression and agent-based models, I explore the role of administrative practices (such as presumptive eligibility and longer continuous eligibility periods) in increasing enrollment of eligible citizens into Medicaid programs.
Becky is a Research Associate at the Imperial Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT). She investigates economic, social and technical aspects of energy policy in the UK and abroad.
Becky’s current research is focussed on transitions in the UK bioenergy system and on biofuels for aviation. She is involved with two major projects: Bioenergy Value Chains: Whole Systems Analysis and Optimisation, an EPSRC SUPERGEN Bioenergy Challenge Project; and Renewable Jet Fuel Supply Chain Development and Flight Operations (RENJET), a project for EIT Climate-KIC. Becky has also worked on projects for the UK Energy Research Centre – International Renewable Energy Agency (UKERC-IRENA) collaboration, investigating issues such as economic value creation, policy evaluation metrics, innovation theory and rural electrification. She is particularly interested in the role of renewable technologies for developing countries, having lived and worked in Mali and Senegal.
My interests center around long-term human ecology and landscape dynamics with ongoing projects in the Mediterranean (late Pleistocene through mid-Holocene) and recent work in the American Southwest (Holocene-Archaic). I’ve done fieldwork in Spain, Bosnia, and various locales in North America and have expertise in hunter/gatherer and early farming societies, geoarchaeology, lithic technology, and evolutionary theory, with an emphasis on human/environmental interaction, landscape dynamics, and techno-economic change.
Quantitative methods are critical to archaeological research, and socioecological sciences in general. They are an important focus of my research, especially emphasizing dynamic modeling, spatial technologies (including GIS and remote sensing), statistical analysis, and visualization. I am a member of the open source GRASS GIS international development team that is making cutting edge spatial technologies available to researchers and students around the world.
My broad research interests are in human-environmental interactions and land-use change. Specifically, I am interested in how people make land-use decisions, how those decisions modify the functioning of natural systems, and how those modifications feedback on human well-being, livelihoods, and subsequent land-use decisions. All of my research begins with a complex systems background with the aim of understanding the dynamics of human-environment interactions and their consequences for environmental and economic sustainability. Agent-based modeling is my primary tool of choice to understand human-environment interactions, but I also frequently use other land change modeling approaches (e.g., cellular automata, system dynamics, econometrics), spatial statistics, and GIS. I also have expertise in synthesis methods (e.g., meta-analysis) for bringing together leveraging disparate forms of social and environmental data to understand how specific cases (i.e., local) of land-use change contribute to and/or differ from broader-scale (i.e. regional or global) patterns of human-environment interactions and land change outcomes.
I received my BSc, MSc, and PhD from the University of Nottingham. My PhD focuses on the Agent-Based Modelling and Simulation (ABMS) of Public Goods Game (PGG) in Economics. In my thesis, a development framework was developed using software-engineering methods to provide a structured approach to the development process of agent-based social simulations. Also as a case study, the framework was used to design and implement a simulation of PGG in the continuous-time setting which is rarely considered in Economics.
In 2017, I joined international, inter-disciplinary project CASCADE (Calibrated Agent Simulations for Combined Analysis of Drinking Etiologies) to further pursue my research interest in strategic modelling and simulation of human-centred complex systems. CASCADE, funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), aims to develop agent-based models and systems-based models of the UK and US populations for the sequential and linked purposes of testing theories of alcohol use behaviors, predicting population alcohol use patterns, predicting population-level alcohol outcomes and evaluating the impacts of policy interventions on alcohol use patterns and harmful outcomes.
I received a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Namur (Belgium) in June 2012 with a thesis titled “Essays in Information Aggregation and Political Economics”.
After two years at the Research Center for Educational and Network Studies (Recens) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, I joined the Department of Economics “Marco Biagi” of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in January 2015 and then the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences of the University of Bologna.
I am currently a Lecturer in Financial Computing at the Department Computer Science (Financial Computing and Analytics group) - University College London. Moreover I am an affiliated researcher of the DYNAMETS - Dynamic Systems Analysis for Economic Theory and Society research group and an affiliate member of the Namur Center for Complex Systems (Naxys).
My research interests concern the computational study of financial markets (microstructure, systemic properties and behavioral bias), of social Interactions on complex networks (theory and experiments), the evolution of cooperation in networks (theory and experiments) and the study of companies strategies in the digital economy.
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.
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.
To tackle the scientific challenges proposed by landscape dynamics and cooperation processes, I have developed a research methodology based on field work and companion modelling (ComMod) combined with the formalisation of the observed processes and agents based models.
This approach offers the possibility to understand : spatial, social, cultural and / or economic conditions that take place on territories, and to provide prospective scenarios.
These methods have been applied in various contexts: steep slope vineyards landscapes (2011), water resource management cooperation (2015), vegetation cover in dry climate (2017). The established research networks are still active through sustained collaborations and activities.
My technical expertise grew and evolved through investment in several workgroups: MAPS Team (Modelling Applied to Space Phenomena), OSGeo (president of the OSGeo’s French chapter between 2013 and 2016, member of the OSGeo-international chapter since 2015), various initiatives around modelling, exploration and sensibility analysis of spatial patterns behaviours, and more generally in Free Software communities.
I am interested in the socio-environmental conditions for the emergence of cooperation and mutual aid in social systems and mainly with regard to renewable resources. I consider in this context that Commons are a spatial manifestation of mutual aid.
From a technical point of view, I am very interested in the questions of model exploration (HPC), which led me to integrate the OpenMole community and to contribute to discussions about heuristic exploration.
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