Ken Buetow is a human genetics and genomics researcher who leverages computational tools to understand complex traits such as cancer, liver disease, and obesity. He currently serves as director of Computational Sciences and Informatics program for Complex Adaptive Systems at Arizona State University ([email protected]), is a professor in the School of Life Sciences in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; is a core faculty in the Center for Evolution and Medicine in the Biodesign Institute at ASU; and is director of bioinformatics and data management for the National Biomarker Development Alliance.
Professor Buetow previously served as the Founding Director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology within the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute.
I am a Professor in the School of Sustainability and the Director of the Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment. I want to understand how people solve collective problems at different levels of scale, especially those problems related to sustainability of our environment. Our society experience unprecedented challenged to sustain common resource for future generations at a scale we have never experienced before. What makes groups cooperate? What is the role of information? How does the ecological context affect the social fabric? How do they deal with a changing environment? How can we use these insight to address global challenges? To do this research I combine behavioral experiments, agent-based modeling and case study analysis.
My research uses modeling to understand complex coupled human and natural systems, and can be generally described as computational social science. I am especially interested in modeling water management systems, in both archaeological and contemporary contexts. I have previously developed a framework for modeling general archaeological complex systems, and applied this to the specific case of the Hohokam in southern Arizona. I am currently engaged in research in data mining to understand contemporary water management strategies in the U.S. southwest and in several locations in Alaska. I am also a developer for the Repast HPC toolkit, an agent-based modeling toolkit specifically for high-performance computing platforms, and maintain an interest in the philosophy of science underlying our use of models as a means to approach complex systems. I am currently serving as Communications Officer for the Computational Social Science Society of the Americas.
My research interests stand between natural resource management and ecological economics. The aim of my PhD project responds to the increasing demand for cross-disciplinary agent-based models that examine the disjunction between economic growth and more sustainable use of natural resources.
My research attempts to test the effectiveness of different governance and economic frameworks on managing natural resources sustainably at both regional and national levels. The goal is to simulate how communities and institutions manage the commons in complex socio-ecological systems through several case-studies, e.g. rainforest management in Australia. It is hoped that the models will highlight which combination of variables lead to positive trends in both economic and environmental indicators, which could stimulate more sustainable practices by governments, private sectors and civil society.
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.
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
Raquel Guimaraes is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at IIASA with support from the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES). She is hosted by the Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA), Risk and Vulnerability (RISK), and World Population (POP) programs. Dr. Guimaraes is currently on sabbatical leave from her appointment as an Adjunct Professor in the Economics Department at the Federal University of Paraná (Brazil), where she carries out research on, as well as teaching, economic demography, development microeconomics and applied microeconometrics.
In her research at IIASA, Dr. Guimaraes aims to contribute to the extant literature and to policy-making by offering a case study from Brazil, examining whether and how individual exposure to floods did or not induce affected migration in a setting with intense urbanization, the city of Governador Valadares, in the State of Minas Gerais. To elucidate the role of vulnerability at the household-level in mediating the relationship between mobility and floods, she will rely on causal models and simulation analysis. Her study is aligned with and will have support from, the Brazilian Network for Research on Global Climate Change (Rede Clima), which is an important pillar in support of R&D activities of the Brazilian National Climate Change Plan.
Dr. Guimaraes graduated from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 2007 with degrees in economics. She completed an MA degree in International Comparative Education at Stanford University (2011) and earned a doctorate in demography from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in 2014.
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.