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
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
I discovered at the same time Agent-Based Modeling method and Companion Modelling approach during my master degrees (engeenering and artificial intelligence and decision) internship at CIRAD in 2005 and 2006 where I had the opportunity to participate as a modeller to a ComMod process (Farolfi et al., 2010).
Then, during my PhD in computer Science applied to Modeling and Simulation, I learned the Theory of Modeling and Simulation and the Discrete EVent System specification formalism and proposed a conceptual, formal and operational framework to evaluate simulation models based on the way models are used instead of their ability to reproduce the target system behavior (Bonté et al., 2012). Applied to the surveillance of Epidemics, this work was rather theoritical but very educative and structuring to formulate my further models and research questions about modeling and simulation.
From 2011 to 2013, I worked on viability theory applied to forest management at the Compex System Lab of Irstea (now Inrae) and learned about the interest of agregated models for analytical results (Bonté et al, 2012; Mathias et al, 2015).
Since 2013, I’m working for Inrae at the joint The Joint Research Unit “Water Management, Actors, Territories” (UMR G-EAU) where I’m involved in highly engaging interdisciplinary researches such as:
- The Multi-plateforme International Summer School about Agent Based Modelling and Simulation (MISSABMS)
- The development of the CORMAS (COmmon Pool Resources Multi-Agents Systems) agent-based modeling and simulation Platform (Bommel et al., 2019)
- Impacts of the adaptation to global changes using computerised serious games (Bonté et al., 2019; Bonté et al. , 2021)
- The use of experimentation to study social behaviors (Bonté et al. 2019b)
- The impact of information systems in SES trajectories (Paget et al., 2019a)
- Adaptation and transformations of traditional water management and infrastructures systems (Idda et al., 2017)
- Situational multi-agent approaches for collective irrigation (Richard et al., 2019)
- Combining psyhcological and economical experiments to study relations bewteen common pool resources situations, economical behaviours and psychological attitudes.
My research is about modelling and simulation of complex systems. My work is to use, and participate to the development of, integrative tools at the formal level (based on the Discrete EVent System Specification (DEVS) formalism), at the conceptual level (based on integrative paradigms of different forms such as Multi-Agents Systems paradigm (MAS), SES framework or viability theory), and at the level of the use of modelling and simulation for collective decision making (based on the Companion Modelling approach (ComMod)). Since 2013 and my integration in the G-EAU mixt research units, my object of studies were focused on multi-scale social and ecological systems, applied to water resource management and adaptation of territories to global change and I added experimentation to my research interest, developping methods combining agent-based model and human subjects actions.