I study he role of biologically-based motivations in the formation of socio-political phenomena using agent-based modelling techniques. In particular I look at how behaviour inhibition and activation, as well as interpersonal attitudes can shape the emergence of complex polities.
Professor, School of Human Evolution & Social Change
Professor, School of Complex Adaptive Systems
Affiliate Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration
Arizona State University
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.
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.
Dr. Lilian Alessa, University of Idaho President’s Professor of Resilient Landscapes in the Landscape Architecture program, is also Co-Director of the University of Idaho Center for Resilient Communities. She conducts extensive research on human adaptation to environmental change through resilient design at landscape scales. Much of her work is funded by the National Science Foundation, including projects awarded the Arctic Observing Network, Intersections of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) and the Dynamics of Coupled Natural Human Systems programs. Canadian-born and raised, Alessa received her degrees from the University of British Columbia. She also uses her expertise in social-ecological and technological systems science to develop ways to improve domestic resource security for community well-being, particularly through the incorporation of place-based knowledge. Her work through the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence, the Arctic Domain Awareness Center, involves developing social-technological methods to monitor and respond to critical environmental changes. Lil is a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education and is on the Science, Technology and Education Advisory Committee for the National Ecological Observing Network (NEON). Professor Alessa also teaches a university landscape architecture capstone course: Resilient Landscapes with Professor Andrew Kliskey. Professor Alessa’s collaborative grant activity with Professor Andrew Kliskey, since coming to the university in 2013, exceeds 7 million USD to date. She has authored over a 100 publications and reports and has led the development of 2 federal climate resilience toolbox assessments, the Arctic Water Resources Vulnerability Index (AWRVI) and the Arctic Adaptation Exchange Portal (AAEP).
I am Professor in Computational Resilience Economics at the University of Twente (the Netherlands), which I joined in 2010. In September 2017 I also joined University of Technology Sydney (Australia) as Professor of Computational Economic Modeling working with spatial simulation models to study socioeconomic impacts of disasters and emergence of resilience across scales. I was honored to be elected as a Member of the De Jonge Akademie of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (DJA/ KNAW in 2016) and of Social Sciences Council (SWR/KNAW in 2017). From 2009 to 2015 I have been working part-time as an economist at Deltares – the leading Dutch knowledge institute in the field of water management – specializing in economics of climate change, with focus on floods and droughts management.
I am interested in the feedbacks between policies and aggregated outcomes of individual decisions in the context of spatial and environmental policy-making. The issue of social interactions and information diffusion through networks to affect economic behavior is highly relevant here. My research line focuses on exploring how behavioral changes at micro level may lead to critical transitions (tipping points/regime shifts) on macro level in complex adaptive human-environment systems in application to climate change economics. I use agent-based modelling (ABM) combined with social science methods of behavioral data collection on individual decisions and social networks. This research line has been distinguished by the NWO VENI and ERC Starting grants and the Early Career Excellence award of the International Environmental Modeling Society (iEMSs). In 2018 I was invited to serve as the Associate Editor of the Environmental Modelling & Software journal, where I have been a regular Member of the Editorial Board since 2013.
I am a geographer interested in exploring tourism system dynamics and assessing tourism’s role in environmental sustainability using agent-based modelling (ABM). My current work focus is on human complex systems interactions with the environment and on the application of tools (such as scenario analysis, network analysis and ABM) to explore topics systems adaptation, vulnerability and resilience to global change. I am also interested in looking into my PhD future research directions which pointed the potential of Big Data, social media and Volunteer Geographical Information to increase destination awareness.
I have extensive experience in GIS, quantitative and qualitative methods of research. My master thesis assessed the potential for automatic feature extraction from QuickBird imagery for municipal management purposes. During my PhD I have published and submitted several scientific papers in ISI indexed journals. I have a good research network in Portugal and I integrate an international research network on the topic “ABM meets tourism”. I am a collaborator in a recently awarded USA NCRCRD grant project “Using Agent Based Modelling to Understand and Enhance Rural Tourism Industry Collaboration” and applied for NSF funding with the project “Understanding and Enhancing the Resilience of Recreation and Tourism Dependent Communities in the Gulf”.
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.
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.
Dr. Kimberly G. Rogers studies the coupled human-natural processes shaping coastal environments. She obtained a B.Sc. in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin and began her graduate studies on Long Island at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Rogers completed her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University, where she specialized in nearshore and coastal sediment transport. She was a postdoctoral scholar and research associate at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado Boulder. In 2014, her foundation in the physical sciences was augmented by training in Environmental Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington through an NSF Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Fellowship.
Rogers’s research is broadly interdisciplinary and examines evolving sediment dynamics at the land-sea boundary, principally within the rapidly developing river deltas of South Asia. As deltas are some of the most densely populated coastal regions on earth, she incorporates social science methods to examine how institutions — particularly those governing land use and built infrastructure — influence the flow of water and sediment in coastal areas. She integrates quantitative and qualitative approaches in her work, such as direct measurement and geochemical fingerprinting of sediment transport phenomena, agent-based modeling, institutional and geospatial analyses, and ethnographic survey techniques. Risk holder collaboration is an integral part of her research philosophy and she is committed to co-production and capacity building in her projects. Her work has gained recognition from policy influencers such as the World Bank, USAID, and the US Embassy Bangladesh and has been featured in popular media outlets such as Slate and Environmental Health Perspectives.